Trying to understand Turkish Inheritance laws or dealing with an estate administration where there is a property or other assets in Turkey can be a minefield. Especially when also grieving the loss of a loved one.
It’s hard to know where to start!
In case it helps we have provided some answers to our 5 most frequently asked questions about what to do when an English national dies owning property or assets in Turkey.
1. How do I sort out the estate of a person who has died owning assets and property in Turkey?
When someone dies owning property in Turkey, the beneficiaries need to obtain a beneficiary certificate in Turkey which will allows them to change the ownership of the property or assets in Turkey out of the name of the deceased and into the names of the beneficiaries.
In order to obtain this certificate, the beneficiaries to the Turkish estate will need to apply to a local court in Turkey. The court will need to establish that they are the people entitled to inherit the Turkish estate before issuing the certificate.
This may be done by presenting legalised copies of documentation to the Turkish court such as birth, marriage and death certificates and providing sworn declarations (affidavits) that there are not other people who are more entitled to the Turkish assets.
The easiest way to obtain a beneficiary certificate is to instruct a Turkish lawyer who has experience in assisting clients with estate administrations and inheritance of assets in Turkey.
The Turkish lawyer will be able to:
- Guide you through the process;
- Make the application to the Turkish court
- Obtain all the necessary documentation to prove who is entitled to benefit from the Turkish estate and
- Arrange for the transfer of the assets and property title into the name of the beneficiaries.
If you require assistance from an English-speaking Turkish inheritance lawyer, contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Who will be the beneficiaries of the Turkish property?
Who will inherit the Turkish property will depend on several factors.
Movable assets (such as bank accounts, personal possessions, stocks and shares etc) are subject to the laws of the deceased’s nationality. Therefore the beneficiaries of these assets will be determined in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. Immovable assets (such as land and properties) located in Turkey will be subject to Turkish laws.
If the deceased had a Turkish will or an English will that includes the property in Turkey, the beneficiaries will usually be those named in the will as long as the will is recognised as valid in Turkey.
If the deceased did not have a will, Turkish law will determine the people who will inherit the property. Who inherits depends on who the surviving relatives are. The order of inheritance is as follows:
- If the deceased had children, the children will be beneficiaries. If the deceased had a husband/wife they will also inherit a set share.
- If the deceased has no children, the deceased’s parents will inherit. If the deceased had a husband/wife they will also inherit a set share.
- If the deceased’s parents are not alive, the deceased’s siblings will be beneficiaries. If the deceased had a husband/wife they will also inherit a set share.
- The last of a deceased person’s heirs among his or her close relatives are the grandparents and their children. If the deceased had a husband/wife they will also inherit a set share.
- If none of the deceased’s next of kin survives, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse (husband/wife).
- If the deceased leaves no surviving heirs, the estate becomes the property of the Turkish State.
The amount any surviving husband/wife receives differs depending on which other relatives are living at the date of death.
3. Is there inheritance tax to pay in Turkey?
If someone dies with assets in Turkey there will usually be inheritance tax to pay in Turkey. However Inheritance tax in Turkey is relatively low compared with the UK. The rate varies depending on how much the assets in Turkey are worth, with a lower percentage of tax applied to lower value estates.
If the deceased was domiciled in the UK, the estate may also have to pay inheritance tax in the UK in relation to the Turkish assets. Inheritance tax will be calculated on the value of the deceased’s worldwide assets so the assets in Turkey will be taken into account when calculating whether there is inheritance tax payable in the UK. For more information about this click here: Wills and Probate in Turkey.
4. Once the Turkish assets are in the beneficiaries name, what then?
You will be able to deal with the assets as your own property. Therefore, if you choose to keep any immovable assets, such as land or property, you should ensure that your will reflects that you own assets in more than one jurisdiction. It can be helpful, if you have assets in more than one country, to have separate wills drawn up to cover the assets accordingly (i.e. a will to cover your estate in the UK and a different will to cover your assets in Turkey). This can make it much less complicated for your heirs to deal with the probate process.
If you decide to sell your assets in Turkey, your lawyer can assist with the property sale. You should also consider using a currency specialist when transferring the proceeds of the sale back to the UK, as you save up to 5% of the amount transferred , compared to using a high street bank. Find out more about how a currency specialist can save you money: When you should consider using a currency specialist.
5. How Do I Find an English-Speaking Turkish Inheritance Lawyer?
If you are dealing with an estate administration where there are assets in Turkey or you think you are a beneficiary of assets located in Turkey, it is highly advisable to instruct a Turkish lawyer to assist you.
You should instruct an English-speaking Turkish lawyer who has experience dealing with inheritance matters for clients who have property and assets in Turkey.
To get in touch with an English-speaking Turkish lawyer who has experience assisting clients from the UK with regard to estate administrations with property or other assets located in Turkey, contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 at email@example.com or via our Contact Form.
If you are due to receive an inheritance from Turkey, read our article How To Get More From Your Overseas Money Transfers to avoid loosing money on the currency conversion when you receive your inheritance.