If you own assets in Turkey, you may at some point begin to consider how your assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries of your estate.
This is important since, if you are a beneficiary to an estate in Turkey, you will have to endure a lot of red tape and you will have to provide a lot of documentation. By planning in advance, with the assistance of a local lawyer specialised in probate law, you will be able to ensure that the process is much smoother and efficient than otherwise.
Under Turkish law, the way in which the estate of a deceased is distributed will vary according to the number of beneficiaries and their relationship to the deceased. In addition, if the property subject to inheritance is real estate, Turkish law is applied whereas if the estate comprises assets such as a car or money, the national law of the deceased person is applied.
1. Turkish inheritance law - benefits of making a will
Usually Wills in Turkey are made before a notary. There are also special regulations that non-Turkish nationals may benefit from. For example, if you are living in Turkey with a Foreigner ID number and wish to draft a Will, you can issue the document as in your own country according to your own country's inheritance regulations and approve the document in Turkey.
If the Will is not prepared - as described above – then, according to Turkish law, the estate shall be distributed between the beneficiaries according to the separation of movable and immovable property. Who inherits depends on who the surviving relatives are. For instance, if the deceased had children, the children will be beneficiaries. If the deceased has a surviving spouse, they will also inherit a share of 1/4.
2. Inheritance process in turkey
It is not possible to immediately register an inheritance of an estate directly into the name of a beneficiary. Firstly, the records of the deceased person such as those at the tax registry must be terminated and the records of the people to whom the estate is to be transferred should be registered.
Inheritance tax is paid when transferring, and this tax varies according to the value of the estate. Where a Will has been drafted, the relevant Prosecutor's Office will send the Will to court to be opened and read to the beneficiaries.
The court must inform the parties in order to fulfil the terms of the Will. Since the beneficiaries of foreigners are generally foreign nationals also, and their addresses are not included in the Will, the notification phase often takes a long time and the relevant authorities are typically extremely delayed in their responses.
One of the benefits of hiring a probate lawyer in Turkey to assist with the process is that the lawyer will be able to shorten this process greatly by informing the court of the addresses of the beneficiaries so that the international notices can be made as quickly as possible.