Turkish Law of Succession In General

All systems of law that recognize private ownership of property also recognize that such ownership should pass at the death of the owner to others. The Turkish law of succession deals with the passage of a person’s property rights at his death. This is experessed in the Turkish Constitution, that ‘every person has the right to own and inherit property’ (Cons., Art. 35/I). The details of the law of succession is regulated in the New Turkish Civil Code (Arts. 495-682), which basically followed the provisions of the former Turkish Civil Code of 1926.

It is a generally accepted rule that, in the absence of an express provision made by a deceased person, his estate will, by operation of law, go to his close relatives upon his death. This is so because of the importance placed on the family and the duty of the members of the family to support each other. Persons are free however, by will or otherwise, to dispose of their property to persons other than their relatives, withing the limits permitted by Turkish law. A particular indirect limitation placed on the power of disposition is the existence of death duties or inheritance taxes which even in western countries, where the concept of private ownership is most widely recognized, are relatively high.

Under Turkish law, which is based in this respect on Swiss law, persons are generally free to dispose of their property at their death. They may execute wills, by which they leave their property to such real or legal persons as they choose. This so called ‘testate succession’ has some limits. Notwithstanding the provisions of a will, close relatives of the deceased are entitled to a certain portion of the estate, called the reserved portion.

In the absence of such disposition, the estate of a deceased person will pass, in the proportions prescribed by law, to his relatives, or if there are none, to the state. This is called ‘intastate succession’.