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Turkish inheritance law (Miras) aims to protect the extended family and imposes a reserved portion or statutory share for the benefit of the extended family. It is not possible for the entire property to go to the surviving husband or wife.
Reserved portion law in Turkey
Property and money left by the deceased are divided among close relatives as stated in the Civil Code. Persons with such rights of inheritance are called heirs (mirasçı).
The reserved portion which does not go to the surviving husband or wife is allocated as follows:
- The reserved portion and legal inheritance right of children is 75 percent of the legal portion
- If the deceased has no children, the reserved portion of the inheritance for the father and mother is 50 percent
- If the parents are deceased the reserved portion for siblings is 25 percent
If the deceased leaves some wealth to a charity or to a tax-exempted foundation, the reserved portion is two-thirds of the amounts above.
Legal heirs in Turkey are:
- The first heirs of a deceased person: the children and the wife/husband
- If the deceased has no children, the deceased’s parents are the heirs
- If the deceased’s parents are not alive, the deceased’s siblings
- The last of a deceased person’s heirs among his or her close relatives are the grandparents and their children
A testator may ban the legal heirs from acquiring their inheritance in exceptional circumstances, for example if a serious crime was committed. However, the testator must prove the reasons for this ban to the court. The banned heir cannot sue the testator.
Inheritance Tax in Turkey
Anyone inheriting in Turkey must pay inheritance tax (Veraset Vergisi); the inheritance tax limit is updated annually.
Valuables, which are transferred to Turkish citizens as gifts, donations, or inheritance either in Turkey or abroad, are subject to Turkey’s Inheritance and Property Transfer Tax law. A non-resident who acquires property as inheritance or gifts owned abroad by a Turkish citizen is not subject to this law. However, a foreigner who is resident in Turkey is subject to the law if they inherit property within Turkey.
Inheritance Tax as it Applies to Foreigners in Turkey
There are two different situations to consider:
- A foreigner married to a Turkish citizen: Foreigners who have Turkish spouses are subject to Turkish law. A foreigner can freely dispose of a limited percentage of assets.
- A foreigner not married to a Turkish citizen: Foreigners are not subject to Turkey’s legislation, but to that of their country of origin.
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