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Are properties inherited in Turkey? What is the inheritance law in Turkey?

27/02/2024 Tax & Legal 3832 Are properties inherited in Turkey? What is the inheritance law in Turkey?

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With the increase in foreign nationals' ownership of movable and immovable properties and their desire to live in Turkey, issues such as what happens to properties after the death of the owner, the ability of inheritors to obtain these properties, and the implementation of inheritance rulings issued in foreign courts are gaining increasing importance due to its clear impact on investment in Turkey. The inheritance system in Turkey is of the things that arouse the curiosity for foreigners.

What is the law of inheritance in Turkey?

In cases of determination of heirs, where one of the parties is a foreigner, the most important issue is determining the law that will be applied in resolving these cases. Will the law of the Turkish state or the law of the country of the foreign deceased be applied?

The law that will be applied in cases of foreigners’ inheritance (such as the regulation of will matters, inheritance contracts, and the conditions required to carry out these transactions) is determined in accordance with Article 20 of the International Private and Procedural Law No. 5718; If the property subject to inheritance determination is immovable, Turkish law will be applied. In other words, in the case of inheriting immovable property and regardless of the country to which the foreigner belongs, the provisions of Turkish law are applied. While the law of the country of the foreign deceased is applied in the case of movable property such as cars and money. In this case, judicial disputes are subject to the law of the country in which the estate is located the “assets of the deceased.”

Are there limits in the inheritance of foreigners?

Foreigners’ ownership of real estate in Turkey and its inheritance are subject to certain restrictions and it is a limited right. The principles of foreigners’ possession of immovable property and rights in rem in Turkey are regulated in accordance with Article 35 of the Title Deed Law as follows:

Subject to compliance with legal restrictions, foreign nationals of countries designated by the President of the Republic are entitled to limited access to real estate and rights in rem in accordance with the interests of the state of Turkey and the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Accordingly, in order for foreigners, non-Turkish citizens, to acquire their real estate and real estate rights in Turkey, they must be a citizen of one of the countries specified by the President, and the total area of ​​immovable property and rights in rem shall not exceed 10 % of the area under private ownership and shall not exceed 30 hectares per capita across the country.

However, in the event of inheriting immovable property and rights in rem that foreigners cannot acquire; The assets are liquidated and converted into a monetary value. In other words, if the foreigner inherits an asset that he cannot obtain by the law, the foreigner can only receive the price of the asset, not the asset itself. The president has the right to double the amount that can be obtained nationwide per capita.

Is the inheritance division certificate obtained from a foreign country valid in Turkey?

The inheritance division certificate obtained from the foreign court in respect of the immovable property of a foreign person cannot be recognized in Turkey. Because Turkish courts have exclusive jurisdiction over immovable property in Turkey in their decision dated on 10.02.1968, issued by the Second Civil Circuit of the Supreme Court of Appeal. But it is possible to recognize decisions of foreign courts on movable property in accordance with legal legislation.

If the inheritance division certificate is issued by a foreign notary or municipality, these documents cannot be recognized and enforced. And for a will issued in a foreign country to be effective in Turkey, it must be approved by the Turkish Consulate.

Is it possible to obtain a certificate of division of inheritance in Turkey for foreigners?

There is no legal obstacle for foreigners to obtain a certificate of division of inheritance in Turkey. They can obtain it from the civil magistrates' courts in Turkey. It is possible to obtain two different inheritance certificates from the civil magistrates' courts in Turkey for movable and immovable property separately. In order for the inheritance transfer to take place, a certificate of inheritance division must first be obtained.

Why is the inheritance division certificate in Turkey necessary?

Although the inheritance of the deceased is automatically bequeathed according to the law, it is necessary to obtain a certificate of inheritance division that enables the heirs to legally dispose of the estate (assets of the deceased); Such as disposing of the deceased’s money deposited in banks, claiming the deceased’s dues from a third party and conducting transactions in the Traffic Directorate and the Land Registry Directorate in relation to movable properties “cars” registered or immovable properties registered under his name.

The will and the conditions for its legal acceptance:

A will is a written document or an oral statement outlining the last wishes of the testator and the principles of sharing the inheritance. The will is accepted from a sane adult over the age of fifteen. And according to the Turkish Civil Law, there are three acceptable forms of a will:

  1. The official will

This form of wills is regulated by the presence of an official (a notary, a justice of the peace, or any other official authorized by law) and two witnesses, according to Article “532-537” of the Civil Law.

  1. The handwritten Will

Here, the will is written in the handwriting of the testator and signed with the date written and any other signature of a non-testator shall invalidate the will, according to Article “538.”

  1. The oral will

This form of wills is regulated in case of emergency when the testator is not able to organize any other form of wills. This will, however, is invalidated after a month in the event that the state of emergency is over and the testator is still alive, according to Article “541-539.”

Annulment of the will

The will is invalidated when the conditions for its organizing are not fulfilled “Article 544-557, 558,” as in the following cases:

  1. The testator is not eligible
  2. Writing a will under duress, intimidation or fraud
  3. The content of the will is against the law and morals
  4. There is a lack of the will (uncompleted)

The will can also be annulled by bring a lawsuit to the civil court of first instance in charge of annulment cases. And in the case of absence of an officially attested
will, the inheritance is divided according to Turkish law as follows

  • Children and wife or husband are the legal heirs (half of the inheritance is for the wife/husband and the other half is distributed equally between male and female children)
  • In the event that the deceased does not have children, his legacy goes to his mother and father
  • If his parents are not alive, his brothers are the legal heirs
  • In the absence of relatives, the wife/husband is the heir to the entire property
  • In the absence of any legitimate heir from those mentioned previously, his entire estate goes to the Turkish government

Documents required to transfer ownership to heirs

  1. A family statement from the civil status department in his country (inheritance determination) showing who are the heirs and the relationship between them, certified and translated into Turkish
  2. Obtaining tax numbers for all heirs from the tax register department in Turkey
  3. A passport valid for at least six months translated into Turkish
  4. Two personal photos for each person

Inheritance tax for foreigners in Turkey

Inheritance tax must be determined before beginning the process of transferring inheritance to heirs in accordance with Turkish law. Payment is made in the months of May and November of each year and within a period not exceeding three years according to the Turkish Tax Law for the year of 2021 shown in the table:


Donations Tax

Inheritance Tax

Property value in Turkish lira (₺)



380,000 ₺



900,000 ₺



1,900,000 ₺



3,600,000 ₺



6,780,000 ₺  and above


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