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Navigating Turkish Inheritance Law in the UK: Protecting Your Legacy

In the vibrant and multicultural landscape of the United Kingdom, Turkish lawyers play an essential role in providing legal support to the Turkish community and beyond. Turkish Inheritance Law, commonly referred to as "Miras" in Turkish, is governed by the Turkish Civil Code and is designed to safeguard the interests of family members. Understanding the basics of Inheritance Law is critical for the seamless transfer of assets and property to legal heirs, allowing them to inherit and manage their loved ones' legacies.

Inheritance: What Does It Encompass? Inheritance pertains to the assets and property left behind by a deceased individual, which are to be distributed among their heirs. This can encompass various forms, including cash, movable and immovable property, and even outstanding debts. Legal heirs are presented with the choice to accept or decline the inheritance. Turkish Inheritance Law in the UK operates under modern and civilized principles. In cases where the deceased leaves behind a spouse and children, they hold primary heir status. If such heirs are not present, the property is typically divided among parents, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren in that sequence.

Inheriting the Estate of a Turkish Citizen When a Turkish citizen passes away in the UK, the process is streamlined. Hospitals automatically notify relevant government agencies, such as civil registration offices, registry offices, and courts through a "Death Notification." Heirs can easily apply to the court or a notary public to obtain a "certificate of succession," which consolidates all inheritance rights to the deceased's assets. Following the payment of the necessary tax, the inheritance can be divided among the heirs.

Inheritance Shares in the UK According to Turkish law, when a person passes away without leaving a will, the property is distributed as follows:

  • If one of the spouses and children survive, ¼ of the estate is transferred to the spouse, and the remaining ¾ is equally divided among the children.

  • In the absence of children, half of the estate goes to the surviving spouse, and the other half is divided among the deceased's parents, siblings, or grandparents.

  • In cases where the deceased has no surviving relatives other than the spouse, all immovable property is transferred to the spouse.

  • If the deceased has no spouse, the inheritance is passed down to the children.

In the absence of legal heirs, certain circumstances may lead to a person's assets going directly to the UK government.


Inheritance for Foreign Nationals in the UK The process for inheriting assets in the UK is quite similar for foreign nationals. The main distinction lies in the documentation required. Heirs must provide an official "Certificate of Right to Inheritance" and a "Marriage Registration Document" from the deceased's country of origin. However, specific requirements may vary depending on whether the country in question is a member of the Hague Convention.

  • For countries that are part of the Hague Convention, providing the "Certificate of Right to Inheritance" and "Marriage Registration Document" is typically sufficient, as these documents are recognized and accepted by UK authorities.

  • For countries not part of the Hague Convention, recognition of documents might depend on whether a mutual agreement has been signed between the UK government and the foreigner's home country. If such an agreement exists, the provided documentation will also be acknowledged by UK authorities. In cases where there is no mutual agreement, it may be necessary to go through the court, which will verify the validity of the "death certificate" and establish legal relations with the deceased's home country to determine the rightful heirs.


Inheritance for Foreign Nationals in the UK The process for inheriting assets in the UK is quite similar for foreign nationals. The main distinction lies in the documentation required. Heirs must provide an official "Certificate of Right to Inheritance" and a "Marriage Registration Document" from the deceased's country of origin. However, specific requirements may vary depending on whether the country in question is a member of the Hague Convention.

  • For countries that are part of the Hague Convention, providing the "Certificate of Right to Inheritance" and "Marriage Registration Document" is typically sufficient, as these documents are recognized and accepted by UK authorities.

  • For countries not part of the Hague Convention, recognition of documents might depend on whether a mutual agreement has been signed between the UK government and the foreigner's home country. If such an agreement exists, the provided documentation will also be acknowledged by UK authorities. In cases where there is no mutual agreement, it may be necessary to go through the court, which will verify the validity of the "death certificate" and establish legal relations with the deceased's home country to determine the rightful heirs.

Probate in the UK: Ensuring Your Wishes are Respected To ensure that your assets and property are distributed according to your specific wishes, it's highly advisable to create a will that complies with Turkish inheritance law. A valid will in the UK should be in writing, signed by the testator (the person creating the will), and witnessed by at least two individuals. According to current legislation, individuals over the age of 15 with full mental capacity are eligible to draft a will. It's crucial to seek legal advice before drafting a will to avoid potential issues related to its validity.

Three types of wills are recognized in the Turkey:

  1. An official will drawn up by a public notary in the Turkey.

  2. A handwritten will, complete with the exact date and the testator's signature .

  3. Wills made during war or illness, under special conditions, where the testator informs two witnesses and asks them to document it.

The Process of Inheriting Property in the UK For foreigners, initiating the inheritance process involves submitting the "Certificate of the Right to Inheritance" and "Marriage Registration" documents. One of the heirs can make the application on behalf of others. Once the inheritance tax is paid, the registration process usually takes around two days. In the case of inheriting real estate in the UK, registration is carried out automatically for UK citizens.

Inheritance Tax in the UK Inheritance tax in the UK is determined by the value of the inheritance and the degree of family ties between the deceased and their heir.

Navigating Turkish Inheritance Law in the UK can be intricate, as it encompasses several aspects that require thoughtful consideration. Whether it's creating a will, understanding the process of obtaining an inheritance, or managing inheritance tax, the assistance of a highly qualified lawyer may be essential at various stages of the inheritance registration process.

In conclusion, Turkish lawyers in the UK play a crucial role in assisting individuals, whether Turkish citizens or foreigners, in understanding and managing the intricacies of Turkish Inheritance Law. They provide invaluable legal support to ensure the smooth transfer of assets and property, honoring the wishes of the deceased while protecting the rights of heirs. Turkish Inheritance Law serves as a safeguard for families, both within and outside of Turkey, and Turkish lawyers in the UK are dedicated to upholding its principles.

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Can Canko

Employment, Contracts and Commercial Law

  • 17 years of legal experience

  • +500 case litigated (solo) globally

  • 276 appeals

  • 153 mediations

  • +$15bn transactional experience

  • Civil and common law qualifications

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