Making a will in Turkey — Part 1

What are the legal formalities of making a valid will in Turkey?
Many wills are being annulled by Turkish courts because they were not made in compliance with Turkish law. There are some elements of a will that must be observed when drawing up a will otherwise, they will be challenged by unhappy inheritors who might have been excluded from that will. The bigger the assets of an estate, the more likely it is that the matter will be taken before a court should some inheritors be excluded from a will.
What are the mandatory conditions for drawing up a will? The precondition to drafting a will is the age of majority. In order for a person to draft a valid will under Turkish law, he or she needs to be of legal age, which is 15 for this purpose. I donand’t want to think of a person having to draw up a will at 15 anywayandhellip Most people who write wills are older, and this is not the biggest concern, anyway.
The second qualification to be able to draw up a will in Turkey is legal capacity. This is one of the most common grounds for those seeking to nullify a will. The person drafting the will must be of sound mind and sane at the time the will was made. The test to determine if the person has the requisite capacity is if they know they have made a will, understand its effect, understand the nature and extent of the estate and understand what they are disposing of. In most cases, the person making the will is over the age of 65, and in this situation a person is required to obtain a doctorand’s report showing that heshe has the mental capacity to draft a will. Mental incapacity due to old age is one of the major issues to be careful of. The person drawing up the will should get a doctorand’s report or, even better, get a report from a group of doctors to make sure hisher mental capacity is not challenged after their death.
In some cases it is not the age but the medical or mental condition and habits of a person that are questioned to determine if that person was sane enough to make a will. It is not unusual for a person who is said to be overspending to be taken to court to limit their ability to exercise their signing power, and should this person whose signing powers are limited by the court officially lose his power to make a will, any will made by this person would most probably be successfully contested. The medical condition of a person is also important in deciding whether or not they can make a will. A person under medical treatment significantly affecting their sanity or judgment should have a doctorand’s report stating there is no problem in them drafting a will, or else that will would be also contested.
These are some of the matters that need to be taken into consideration when making a will. There are some other conditions to be met, and there is also a serious procedure to be followed when making a will, which I will elaborate on in part two of this article.
NOTE: Berk andcektir is a Turkish lawyer and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to If a senderand’s letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise is expressly stated by the sender.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman