Inheritance Laws in Turkey and Succession Rules

Inheritance laws and succession in Turkey are one of the most searched topics by investors who want to buy a property in Turkey. Real estate investment is generally perceived as a timeless investment method. Therefore many investors prefer real estate investment to prepare a better future for their children. However, buying a property to leave for your children in a foreign country where you don’t know the inheritance laws might be risky.

You can rest assured. Turkish laws enable inheritance and individual ownership of property for both Turkish citizens and foreign nationals. Title deeds of immovable properties in Turkey are freehold. This means that the holder of the title deed has full ownership of the property, and this ownership can be transferred to the heirs after death.

However, there are specific rules that the heirs must abide by to claim inheritance in Turkey. We’ll explain these rules below in the simplest way possible. You can directly contact us to get detailed and on-point inheritance and succession laws consultancy.

What Are the Inheritance Laws in Turkey?

The newly updated inheritance laws in Turkey specify the rules regarding the following topics;

  • Who is accepted as the legal heir(s),
  • Share ratio(s) of the inheritance between the heir(s),
  • Inheritance tax rate(s),
  • How to claim/disclaim an inheritance.

Let’s examine these topics a bit more in detail;

Who Are Accepted As Legal Heirs According to Turkish Inheritance Law for Non-Residents?

According to the laws, when an owner of immovable property in Turkey passes away, his/her heir(s) can inherit the property in Turkey. The nationality of the owner or the heir(s) is irrelevant. When inheritance is an immovable property in Turkey, Turkish laws are applied to the heir(s) and the procedures.

In accordance with the Turkish laws, the child(ren), spouse, parent(s), and grandparent(s) of the deceased are accepted as the legal heirs. The inheritance is distributed between these individuals in a hierarchical order. However, a person can leave their assets to someone else by writing a will before his/her death. This will have to be written in accordance with Turkish laws to be applicable.

Even though a person is free to leave their assets to whomever they wish, there is a limit on how much of their inheritance they can leave. Turkish laws reserve a portion of the inheritance for the legal heir(s) to maintain fairness for them.

Movable properties and assets are also among the main types of inheritance. If the inheritance is a movable property or asset, then it’s distributed between the heirs according to the laws in the deceased’s home country.

Share Ratio of the Inheritance Between the Heirs

The inheritance consisting of immovable properties is distributed to the heir(s) in a hierarchical order. This means that the surviving spouse and the child(ren) are the primary recipients. In this case, ¾ of the inheritance is equally distributed to the children, and the remaining ¼ is distributed to the spouse.

If the deceased does not have any children, the spouse gets half of the inheritance. The remaining half is distributed to the parents of the deceased. If the parents of the deceased are also not alive, then, the surviving grandparents become the legal heirs. In this case, the share ratio for the surviving spouse is ¾, and the share ratio for the surviving grandparents is ¼.

If the deceased does not have any surviving legal heir and did not appoint a beneficiary with a will, then the inheritance is transferred to the state.

How Much Inheritance Tax Do You Pay in Turkey?

Inheritance tax laws in Turkey for immovable properties are updated regularly in order to make the tax rates coherent with the market conditions. Turkish laws adopt a progressive tax system for the inheritance tax on property in Turkey in order to maintain fairness. This means that the tax rates increase in accordance with the increases in the taxable value.

As of January 2023, the rates for the inheritance tax in Turkey for non-residents, residents, and citizens are as follows;

– 1% of the property value for properties worth below 1.100.000 TL.

– 3% for the excessing amount up to 2.600.000 TL.

– 5% for the excessing amount up to 5.500.000 TL.

– 7% for the excessing amount up to 10.900.000 TL.

– 10%  for properties worth over 20.100.000 TL.

In Turkey, inheritance tax can be paid in 6 installments in the following 3 years after claiming the inheritance.

How to Claim an Inheritance in Turkey?

Claiming an inheritance in Turkey is quite easy if there is no dispute between the heirs. Turkish citizens can directly apply to a local notary public to obtain a certificate of inheritance. Then, the Turkish heir can apply to the relevant Land Registry Office with this certificate of inheritance to transfer the ownership of the property. However, this procedure is a little more complicated when an heir of a different nationality is involved.

Foreigners must bring an official family statement to prove his/her kinship with the deceased in order to claim an inheritance in Turkey. Obtaining a Turkish tax number is also necessary for procedures. Then, the foreign heir can apply to the relevant Land Registry Office along with his/her valid passport, photos, family statement, and tax number.

Note: All official documents issued by foreign authorities must be apostilled or translated to Turkish by notary publics in Turkey to be valid.

If you are a foreign property investor in Turkey or a foreign heir to immovable property in Turkey, you can contact us without hesitation to benefit from our international legal consultation services.

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