DISCLAIMING INHERITANCE IN TURKEY: UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS AND ITS RAMIFICATIONS
The disclaimer of inheritance means that the person to whom the inheritance is left unconditionally and without reservation rejects to accept the inheritance. This means relinquishing the assets of the deceased and waiver of inheritance rights can be done for many reasons, such as high debts, low value of the inheritance, or to protect the rights of other heirs.
No one can be forced to accept an inheritance in Turkey. Along with the passage of the assets and liabilities of the estate to the heirs, the legislator has also provided the heirs with the possibility of not accepting the status of being an heir.
If a person decides to refuse to accept an inheritance, they cannot obtain any rights or share from the assets of the deceased. However, after the disclaimer of the inheritance, the person’s own assets are preserved, and they do not inherit the debts of the deceased. However, the heir who waives inheritance rights cannot benefit from the deceased’s receivables.
The process of disclaimer of inheritance rights in Turkey begins after the death of the deceased. When the heirs enter a legal process to share the assets of the deceased, if an heir does not want to accept the inheritance, they can exercise this right by submitting a declaration of rejection of inheritance in Turkey.
The actual refusal based on the will of the heir is called a real refusal; rejection based on the principle in the law is called legal refusal.
For detailed information about inheritance rights in Turkey, please review our Inheritance Law in Turkey page.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN ACTUAL (VOLUNTARY) AND JUDICIAL REFUSAL OF INHERITANCE IN TURKEY
If the debts of the deceased are not paid at the time of their death and their insolvency is clearly established, the inheritance is deemed to be refused by operation of law. However, if the heirs still wish to accept the inheritance in Turkey, they must make a formal declaration of acceptance.
In the case of voluntary refusal, legal and appointed heirs may refuse the inheritance without providing any reasons, by declaring to the competent authority that they are refusing the inheritance, which is a disruptive innovation.
The waiver of inheritance must be made in writing or verbally at the peace court where the deceased had their last residence. With this declaration of refusal, the status of being an heir is lost, and the heir is considered as if they had died before the deceased. The waive inheritance rights action cannot be subject to any conditions or reservations, and once refused, it cannot be taken back.
PERIOD FOR DISCLAIMER OF INHERITANCE
The disclaimer of inheritance must be made within 3 months from the death of the deceased. The period to waive inheritance rights is a statute of limitations and is considered ex officio by the court. The beginning of the period for refusal of inheritance differs for legal and appointed heirs.
For legal heirs, the period for disclaimer of inheritance begins from the day they learn of the death of the deceased. For appointed heirs, the period for refusal of inheritance begins from the day they learn of their appointment as heirs.
If it is decided to keep a record for the protection of the estate, the 3-month period for refusal of inheritance starts from the date when the writing process is completed and communicated to the heirs by the peace judge. In this case, it is not important for the heir to know the date of the deceased’s death. However, if the decision to keep a record is made after the 3-month refusal period has passed, the refusal period is considered to have ended.
If there are important reasons, the peace judge may extend the period to waive inheritance rights in Turkey granted to legal and appointed heirs, or may provide a new period. Examples of important reasons could include one of the heirs being seriously ill or the anticipation of new periods in inheritance-related lawsuits.
LAPSE OF THE WAIVER OF INHERITANCE RIGHTS IN TURKEY
According to Article 610 of the Turkish Civil Code, the right of waiver ends after a three-month period has elapsed. Additionally, the right of waiver also ends if the heir somehow becomes involved with the estate’s assets. This involvement can be in the form of the heir claiming or hiding a specific asset in the estate.
If the heir does not want to waive inheritance rights for an inheritance in Turkey, and they plan to perform certain actions related to the estate, they should request authorization from the court for these actions and demand official liquidation as soon as possible.
HOW TO WAIVE INHERITANCE RIGHTS?
Although the answer to how to disclaim inheritance rights may seem simple, the process of disclaimer of inheritance in Turkey is actually a detailed process that requires technical knowledge, as legal procedures must be followed. Therefore, it is recommended to work with a lawyer. However, generally, the stages of how to waive inheritance rights are as follows:
- Decide to waive the inheritance: Before deciding to disclaim of inheritance rights, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer to learn about all the debts and other legal obligations of the deceased. This way, you can understand the effects of disclaimer of inheritance and the value of the inheritance.
- Prepare a waiver petition: The waiver petition should contain an unequivocal statement that you are waiving the inheritance. To waive the inheritance, this petition must be submitted to the competent and authorized court.
- Finalization of the waiver of inheritance request: After the waiver petition is processed by the court, a hearing date is set, and the legal procedures are completed. When the court decision becomes final, it is assumed that the inheritance has been waived.
The process of disclaiming of inhertiance may be subject to legal procedures that may vary from country to country. Therefore, before making a decision to waive inheritance, it is important to consult a lawyer and learn about the relevant legal requirements.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISCLAIMER OF INHERITANCE
Disclaimer of inheritance means that the person who has been left the inheritance in Turkey gives up their right to the deceased person’s assets. The consequences of disclaiming of inheritance are that the renouncer will no longer have any claim over the deceased person’s assets, which will be divided among the remaining heirs.
By disclaimer of inheritance, the renouncer is also exempt from any debt, tax, or obligation that comes with being a beneficiary of the estate. However, renouncing inheritance also means giving up any income that would have been received if the inheritance was accepted.
When a person waives inheritance rights, their right as an heir to the estate is terminated. The most significant consequence of waive of inheritance rights is losing the status of being an heir. Renouncing inheritance is retroactive until the opening of the estate. However, renouncing inheritance does not affect any deathbed dispositions, such as a will or life insurance policy, that the deceased person may have made in favor of the renouncer.
In addition, when a person waive inheritance rights, the distribution of the estate among the other heirs will be rearranged. This means that the share of the renouncer in the inheritance will be redistributed among the other heirs.
The renouncer’s share of the inheritance will pass to their own descendants. When a beneficiary renounces inheritance, they are considered to have died before the deceased person. If the renouncer was an appointed heir, they are also considered to have died before the deceased person. If the deceased person did not make any specific arrangements regarding the share of the appointed heir, the share will go to the legal heirs of the deceased person.
If all the heirs waive inheritance rights, the estate will be liquidated according to bankruptcy provisions by the probate court. If there is any balance remaining after the deceased person’s debts are paid, the values will be distributed among the heirs as if they had not renounced the inheritance.
The legislator has adopted the principle that if all heirs in the first group renounce the inheritance, the surviving spouse will receive their share. If all descendants renounce the inheritance, the second group of heirs will not receive it, and the surviving spouse will benefit from the renunciation.
If there is only one heir, they can waive inheritance rights, or if there are multiple heirs, they can all renounce the inheritance for the benefit of future heirs. This is an exception to the rule that renunciation is absolute and unconditional. The person who benefits from the renunciation must declare within one month of the inheritance offer that they accept the inheritance.
Since disclaimer of inheritance involves certain legal procedures and has significant consequences, it is recommended to work with a lawyer. In addition, inheritance laws vary from country to country and state to state, so the consequences of waiver of inheritance may also vary. Therefore, it is important to consult with a lawyer and learn about the relevant legal requirements before making a decision to renounce inheritance.
TO WAIVE INHERITANCE RIGHTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHER HEIRS
Rejecting an inheritance can be beneficial for other heirs because the share of the person who rejects the inheritance will be redistributed among the other heirs. This can be an opportunity for fair distribution of assets and sharing of inheritance.
For example, if a person who leaves an inheritance in Turkey has several children and one of them rejects the inheritance, the share of the rejected person will be redistributed among the other siblings. This means that the other siblings may have a greater share or their shares may increase.
If one of the heirs has a lot of debt and is unable to pay, they can reject the inheritance to avoid financially harming other heirs. This situation is common in practice. Generally, heirs in debt reject the inheritance to prevent debtors from applying and seizing assets from the inheritance.
Although this may seem like a fraudulent transaction, there is no legal obstacle and the heir in debt has the right to reject the inheritance in Turkey. However, in such a situation, the debtor heir can file a lawsuit to cancel the rejection of inheritance and request that their claims be directed towards the inheritance.
Disclaiming of inheritance can also provide a solution for the debts or obligations of the person leaving the inheritance. For example, if the person leaving the inheritance has many debts and accepting the inheritance would put the rejected person in a difficult position, rejecting the inheritance can help the rejected person get rid of the burden of debt.
However, the person who rejects the inheritance should not forget that they are renouncing their right to the entire estate of the person leaving the inheritance and that the inheritance will be redistributed. Waiver inheritance rights process should be carried out with the help of a lawyer and it is important to follow the relevant legal procedures.
CANCELLATION OF INHERITANCE REJECTION
If an heir is excessively in debt, they may reject the inheritance with the intention of benefiting other heirs instead of creditors. To prevent this situation, the legislator has regulated in Article 617 of the Turkish Civil Code that creditors can request the cancellation of the rejection. If the creditors have not been provided with sufficient security, they can file a lawsuit to cancel the rejection within 6 months from the date of the rejection. However, for this lawsuit to be filed, the debt must exist at the time of the rejection of the inheritance.
COMPETENT COURT FOR DISCLAIMER OF INHERITANCE
The lawsuit for the real rejection of inheritance is filed in the court of first instance located in the last place of residence of the deceased. However, if the rejection of inheritance by default is at issue, the competent court is the civil court where the creditors were located at the time the lawsuit was filed, and the responsible court is the Court of First Instance.
In lawsuits for the cancellation of the disclaimer of inheritance, the Court of First Instance is the competent court, which is the last place of residence of the defendant.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING AN ATTORNEY TO WAIVE INHERITANCE RIGHTS
Waiver of inheritance is generally a complex process that requires following specific legal procedures. Therefore, the role of an attorney is quite important in the process of inheritance rejection.
Disclaimer of inheritance can result in different outcomes in different situations. Therefore, before rejecting the inheritance in Turkey, the receivable-debt account should be well determined, and the rejection of inheritance should be opened within the period specified by the law and in the competent and responsible court according to the purpose of the rejection of inheritance.
Otherwise, if a lawsuit for disclaimer of inheritance is opened in a procedurally incorrect manner and rejected by the court, the period specified by the law for the rejection of inheritance will have elapsed, and the inheritor will become responsible for all the debts of the deceased without wanting it. Therefore, seeking professional help from an attorney before waive inheritance will prevent possible errors and irreversible mistakes.
An attorney can help with understanding the legal requirements of the process of to waive inheritance rights, preparing the necessary documents for completing the process, and assisting with resolving legal issues that arise during the rejection of inheritance. Additionally, an attorney can address and resolve legal issues that arise during the disclaiming of inheritance.
Moreover, an attorney can advise their client on the consequences of waiver of inheritance and help them act in their best interests. Making a decision without fully understanding the legal consequences of disclaiming of inheritance can cause the heirs to suffer financial losses in the future.
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