Foreign Nationals’ Inheritance of Property
Disputes containing foreign elements are subject to Procedural Code of International Private Law . Therefore, any dispute of inheritance that contains an element of foreignness is governed by the said code. According to the Article 20 of the Code, inheritance law matters are subject to the national law of the testator. However, real estates in Turkey are governed by Turkish law.
Opening of estate, inheritance and its partition matters are governed by the law of the country where the property is located. Foreign nationals in Turkey may apply to the Turkish court for a affidavit of heirship and the case will be governed by the national law of the successors. The certificate of inheritance obtained from a foreign court cannot be recognized and enforced by the Turkish authorities.
Whereas the partition of real estate situated in Turkey is subject to the Turkish law, for the moveable properties, the national law of testator will be effective. According to Land Registry Law of Turkey Article 35, in order for a foreigner to acquire a real state situated in Turkey, the country of the foreigner must ensure the same treatment to the Turkish citizens. This principle is known as reciprocity. Turkish Constitutional Court ruled on 8.5.2019 that the Turkish Treasury that nationalized the estate of Greek successors had no right, due to the reason that, except small restrictions of the inheritance right of Turkish people in Greece, there is no specific evidence which proves that there is no reciprocity between Greece and Turkey.
The relevant procedure for inheritance is as below:
- Procuring necessary documents: The documents that prove the death should be procured, translated to Turkish and apostilled.
- The issuing of power of attorney: The power of attorney must contain the authority of inheritance.
- Apply to the court for an affidavit of heirship: These subject is under the jurisdiction of Turkish court and is governed by the national law of the testator.
- The court should check the reciprocity by communication with . the International Relations Office of Ministry of Justice.
- Land Registry officer checks the matters below:
- Is the real estate situated in the archeological area or farm land?
- Is the successor a citizen of the bordering neighbor country of Turkey? Is the real estate situated at a border city of Turkey?
- Is the real property protected by the Army Penal Area and Security Area Law Code numbered 2565?
- Is the real estate protected by the Encouragement of Tourism Code numbered 6086?
- Apartments in city centers and shopping malls are excluded from the aforementioned restrictions.
During the legal proceedings process:
- The power of attorney must contain Express authority for the transition.
- The documents which will be given to the court as evidence should de translated to Turkish and apostilled.
- The legal benefit should be expressly explained in the petition for affidavit of heirship.