Rights of a foreign widow in Turkey

rights of a widow in Turkey
widow in Turkey

Our law office is constantly receiving a great number of questions from foreign women united by the same sorrow- the death of Turkish husband. What should a widow do in this situation and what legal rights does she have? Our family lawyers in Turkey decided to answer the most frequently asked questions in this article.

1) What is the procedure of entering into inheritance? What kind of government organizations in Turkey should the foreign widow apply to?

First of all, to become a heir in Turkey, it is necessary to obtain a certificate of inheritance rights (mirasçılık belgesi). The widow can get this document by applying to the Magistrate's Court in the city of residence in Turkey or to the notary's office with the following documents:

  • death certificate of the husband.
  • reference from the Population Register office of Turkey (nüfus kaydı)
  • application form

2) In what period does the widow have to start all the legal formalities of entering into inheritance rights?

The foreign widow shall make all the necessary applications for entering into inheritance within 4 months from the date of her spouse’s death. If the determined period has expired, the penalty will be charged.

3) How will the shares of inheritance be divided between the widow and her children from the deceased husband? What will change if there are children from other women?

Let us try to explain the all the details by giving the following examples:

  • The widow has children from the deceased spouse; there are no children from the previous marriages. In this case, the widow’s share will be ¼; and the rest ¾ of inheritance will be divided among all her children.
  • The widow has children from the deceased spouse; there are other children from the previous marriages. In this case, the widow’s share will still be ¼; and the rest ¾ of inheritance will be divided among her children and the children from previous marriages.
  • The widow has no children, and there are no children from previous marriages. Then, the parents of the deceased husband become the heirs and ½ of the assets will belong to them. If there are no parents, brothers and sisters enter into inheritance.
  • The widow has no children from the deceased spouse but there are other children from the previous marriages. In this case, the widow’s share will still be ¼; and the rest ¾ of inheritance will be divided among the children from previous marriages.

4)What will change, if the spouses have made up a prenuptial agreement before marriage?

We would like to clarify that prenuptial agreement can only be applied to property acquired after the date of the marriage. The terms of the marriage contract are valid for the jointly acquired assets either in case of divorce or in case of the spouse’s death. However, the share of children will not change in any way.

5) If, before the death of the husband, a foreign woman did not have time to obtain Turkish citizenship, will her family residence permit and social insurance be canceled?

Migration Authorities of Turkey terminate the current family residence permit and the widow will be required to apply for a new residence permit for another reason (usually a short-term residence permit) within 15 days after the death of her spouse. As we mentioned in a previous article, the foreign spouse of a Turkish citizen can take advantage of husband’s social insurance after marriage. In case of his death, the widow can preserve this right, if she submits an application to the Social Insurance Institution (sosyal güvenlik kurumu), showing a certificate of inheritance.

6) After the death of the spouse, can a foreign widow find out what assets belonged to him?

Yes, the widow can get the information about the spouse’s bank accounts and real estate by applying to the land registry authority (Tapu sicil Müdürlüğü) and banks. For detailed information, you can directly contact our lawyers in Turkey and get free consultation according to your situation.