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PROBATE IN TURKEY:
According to the Turkish Inheritance Law, the legal inheritors and the assets of the deceased are determined through court proceedings. Probate matters are dealt with succession of steps listed below. For ease of understanding each step further explained under its own heading:
1) Probate Action-Determination of the inheritors according to the Turkish Legal System;
2) Inheritance tax procedure on the inherited assets;
3) Registration of the related assets under the inheritors’ names;
4) Disposal of the assets (should it be required)
1) FIRST PHASE : PROBATE ACTION
DETERMINATION OF THE INHERITORS ACCORDING TO THE TURKISH LEGAL SYSTEM;
Initially, an action decree of probate in Turkey (‘veraset ilami’) is required in order to identify the legal inheritors of the testator. Courts of Peace (Sulh Hukuk Mahkemesi’) are authorised to resolve the probate actions and issue the certificate. The heirs would be determined according to Turkish Inheritance Law for properties as the immovable estates located in Turkey are subject to Turkish Inheritance Law.
Without obtaining the said probate decree, it is not possible to do any action legal and administrative on the asset belonging to the Estate. The asset in this context refers to both mobile (money in the bank, car etc) and immobile (land, house etc).
For the Turkish Citizens, the birth registration details are summoned from “Nüfus Müdürlüğü” by the court and the judge makes the judgment based on the registration records in accordance with the Clause 495 of Turkish Civil Code. The Probate Decree obtained is used on all transactions related to the Estate.
However, if deceased is not a Turkish citizen, the birth registration details cannot be summoned as per above explanation. In a normal process, the court would decide in accordance with the birth registration records that are obtained from the Consulate of the deceased Nation. Please note that the correspondences that are carried out by the court via diplomatic channels would take up considerable time which could be more than 1 year. However, there could be some situations that enable us to speed up this process.
2) SECOND PHASE : INHERITANCE TAX PROCEDURE;
2.a – General: Following the first phase completion, we would be required to obtain 2 documents:
– The property tax documents from the relevant municipality for the property registered under the deceased name. In case there has been no registration, the said registration should be made as a first matter.
– A release document from Tax Registry Office which states that there is no tax debt to be paid. We should submit the inheritance tax return form to the tax registry Office (please see below for more information). In case the value of the property exceeds the amount subject to tax exemption, the estate tax should be paid in order to obtain this document from the tax registry office.
2.b – Obtaining tax number: As part of the process, the names of the inheritor/inheritors must be registered with the Tax authorities (unless Turkish Tax Numbers /Foreign identity numbers were obtained earlier for all the inheritors).
2.c – Inheritance Tax Declaration to the Tax Office: We need to apply to the Tax Office to obtain an official document which certifies the dispensation of the Inheritance Tax by submitting the relevant documents
3) THIRD PHASE :
REGISTRATION OF THE RELATED ASSETS UNDER THE INHERITORS’ NAMES
At this stage, based on the decree obtained from the Court, the assets in the Estate are registered under all the inheritors’ names in the land registry records. Without this stage the property(ies) cannot be sold or transferred to the 3rd parties. We would also be able to transfer the funds at the Bank Accounts of Deceased person to the legal heirs’ accounts when we come to this stage.
4) FOURTH PHASE : DISPOSAL OF THE ASSETS (SHOULD IT BE REQUIRED)
When it comes to probate in Turkey, you may wish to keep the assets under all inheritor’s names. However, you may also instruct us to arrange its sales. Once you agree with one of the potential buyers, we would be able to move forward on the sales proceedings on your behalf. In this case, we would like you to bear in the mind that the financial negotiations would be outside the scope of our work. Therefore you need to reach an agreement with the potential buyers before we are prepared for the sale proceedings.
We would also like to highlight the fact that we will need a Power of Attorney (POA) from all the inheritors to be able to complete official sales on their behalf. For the sale procedure of the immobile properties there will be a sale transaction at the Land Registry Office with the third parties. We can proceed with this transaction depending on the POA issued for our lawyers with the mentioned authorizations. At the time of the completion of the sale, the purchase payment is deposited to the bank account which is to be declared by the client.