We’re often contacted by potential buyers concerned about safeguarding their investments in the event of their death. Fortunately, compared to many other countries, Turkey’s inheritance tax laws are very favourable for investors.
The main questions we’re asked are:
1. To whom does my property go when I die?
2. Can I specify a recipient of my property?
3. How do I make a will in Turkey?
4. Can the government acquire my property after my death?
5. Will the person who inherits my property have to pay tax? How much?
Let’s look at the information about real estate inheritance law in Turkey and take a look at the answers to some of the most common questions.
Real estate inheritance law in Turkey
Turkish real estate inheritance is a significant area of concern for many investors, who wish to safeguard their assets after their death. For many investors, the favourability (or not) of a country’s inheritance law dictates whether they will invest in property in that country.
Principles of Turkish inheritance law
Turkish inheritance law is governed by the lex rei sitae principle; ie: the law of the country where the property is located. However, investors should also be aware that a moveable property is liable to the law of the deceased’s country, while an immovable property is subject to the law of the Republic of Turkey.
Who will inherit my property in Turkey?
If a property owner does not have a notarised will, the legal heirs of an immovable property in Turkey will be determined through an order of succession:
- The first heirs are the spouse and children. They will receive a set share.
- If there are no children, then the property defaults to the parents as heirs.
- If the parents are no longer alive, the deceased owner’s siblings will inherit the estate.
- And finally, the last in the order of succession are the grandparents of the deceased, and their children.
If the deceased has no next of kin, the estate becomes property of the Republic of Turkey.
How much inheritance tax will I pay in Turkey?
If a deceased person owned assets in Turkey, they will be liable to pay an inheritance tax in Turkey. Compared to other countries in the European Union, Turkey’s rate of inheritance tax is relatively low. Additionally, rates vary depending on the value of an estate, meaning that lower value estates will be taxed at a lower rate of percentage.
Turkey’s inheritance tax rates vary between 1% and 30%
% for values Up to $58,000
3% for value of $186,000
5% for value of $466,830
7% for value of $1,013,000
When do I pay inheritance tax in Turkey?
Under Turkish inheritance law, you can pay the tax over three years, in May and November each year.
Making a will in Turkey
To help safeguard your assets in Turkey, it’s important to make a will. Making a will allows you to specify to whom you want to leave your assets after your death. For foreigners, your will must be made in compliance with Turkish law to be considered valid.
Under Turkish law, only people over 15 years and with full mental capacity can make a will.
A will can be made in three ways: handwritten, oral, or official, but it must include the handwriting, dates written in full, and signatures of the owner. The will must be submitted to the court or to the clerk of justices, and must be signed before two witnesses.
Can you prevent someone from receiving an inheritance?
Sometimes, the owner of an asset wishes to prevent a certain party from receiving that asset in the event of their death. While this is possible to do in Turkey, it’s generally only acceptable in extreme cases, and the reason will need to be approved by a court. But once the order is in place, the banned heir will not be able to contest the decision.
What documents will heirs need to inherit a property in Turkey?
1. An inheritance inventory, showing heirs and kinship. This must be in Turkish, or with a certified translation.
2. Turkish tax registration details, including your Turkish tax number
3. Valid passport
4. Passport photos.
Do foreigners pay inheritance tax in Turkey?
Turkey’s tax system applies to Turks and foreigners alike. As far as tax is concerned, citizens of all countries are treated as Turkish citizens.