Intestate succession occurs, if the deceased does not appoint successors by will or inheritance contract. Book 5 of the Turkish Civil Code (“TCC”) (between the Articles No.495 and No.682) regulates the Inheritance Law matters in Turkish national law system. The first part of Book 5 regulates Successors; the first section of this part, distinguishes three classes of intestate successors: the descendants, parents and grandparents. These classes succeed in this order and the surviving spouse succeeds with each class. The systematic and the contents of the said provisions of Turkish Succession Law are as following:
1.1. Blood Relatives
1.1.1. Descendants: In Article No.495 it is stated that the successors of first degree are the deceased person’s descendants, and that the children are equal successors. In this Article, Succession Principle, one of the basic principles that dominate the Turkish Succession Law, is embodied. So if there are any children deceased before the deceased person, the descendants of such deceased children will inherit in the descendants place.
1.1.2. Mother and Father: In the next provision (Article No.496), the succession of the mother and the father of the deceased person are embodied. In this instance, if the deceased person has no descendants, the mother and the father of the deceased person will be equal successors. In accordance with the Succession Principle, the descendants of the deceased mother and father will be successors in their stead. If either one of the parties does not have any successors, the other party will inherit all.
1.1.3. Grandmother and grandfather: Deceased persons who do not have parents and their descendants, are succeeded by their grandmothers and grandfathers. Article No.497 also regulates the Succession Principle as above, so that if a grandparent is deceased his/her descendants would be successors in his/her stead. The Article continues with the possibility of the death of the grandparents from either the mother or the father side and sets the successors as the surviving parties.
1.1.4. Extramarital relatives: According to Article No.498, non-marital children whose parentage relations are established either by recognition or by court’s judgement, are successors to the deceased person as marital relatives.
1.2. Surviving spouse: According to Article No.499, surviving spouse’s hereditary share differs depending on the four classes of intestate successors he/she is successors with. These ratios will be shown with the reserved portions in a chart below.
1.3. Adoptee: Article No.500 states that, the adoptee and his/her descendants will be considered as blood relative in the case of succession. Also, the heirship rights from the adoptee’s own family will be still valid. However, the adopter and his/her relatives are not successors to the adoptee in case of adoptee’s death.
1.4. State: Article No.501 regulates that State will be the successor of a person that does not leave any legal or testamentary successors. So the State is a secondary intestate successor.
The first part of Book 5 of the Turkish Civil Code regulates Successors; the second section of this part is about testamentary dispositions. These are wills and inheritance contracts. However, the TCC also limits the right of disposal about testamentary dispositions.
In order to prevent deceased person from leaving his/her inheritance to one or more chosen successors in its entirety; Turkish Succession Law System established forced heirship rules in favor of particular successors determined by law.
The particulars about these reserved portions are the subject matter of the Articles No.505-506. Article No.505 specifies that the deceased person may have the right of disposal in his/her whole estate if he/she does not have a descendant, mother and father or surviving spouse as successors. If that is not the case, the right of disposal on the estate cannot exceed the reserved portions of the said successors.
The reserved portions are calculated over the legal hereditary share of the successors. The ratios of such reserved portions are as following;
The TCC Article No.502 regulates the conditions for the testator for preparing will; as at least being 15 (fifteen) years old and having mental capacity. In order to prevent unauthorized alterations on the will afterwards, to prevent wills being drafted in haste and without thinking the process thoroughly and to secure the testator’s intention about his/her estate; Turkish Succession Law sets forth various formal requirements when setting up a will. The wills can be in three forms: holographic will, official will and nuncupatory will.
Inheritance and gift tax is in place due to the Inheritance and Gift Tax Law No.7338 which has been in force since its publishing in Official Gazette on 15 June 1956.
In Turkish tax system, Inheritance and Gift Tax is categorized within taxes that are collected from fortunes. Inheritance and Gift Tax Law, is applied in the cases where fortune changes hands without consideration.
Article No.4 of the said law, states exceptional situations where the transfers are exempted from Inheritance and Gift Tax. The amounts and the subject matter of the exceptions subjected to these exemptions are stated in Inheritance and Gift Tax Law General Communique No.44 dated 31 December 2012. This communique applies to inheritance or gifts as of 1 January 2013 and these amounts1 that are considered as exceptions as following:
According to this General Communique, the rates applicable for the transfers that occur after 1 January 2013 are as following:
This information was compiled by Odabas Tavares Law Office.