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Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud in Turkish Law

What is Inheritance Fraud?

Inheritance fraud refers to the act of a decedent (inheritance) transferring assets to third parties through deceitful means to hide them from heirs after their death. This action usually involves transferring property to another person not by true intention, but merely to disinherit legal heirs.

What Are the Conditions for Inheritance Fraud?

The following conditions are required to define inheritance fraud:

1 – Discrepancy Between True Intent and Declaration: Situations where the decedent intends to hide assets from heirs and conducts a transaction contrary to their true intention to disguise this motive.

2 – Transfer of Property: The decedent must have transferred their property to a third person or an institution.

3 – Fraudulent Intent: The transaction must have been conducted with the intent to deceive the heirs and obstruct their inheritance rights.

4 – Third Parties’ Awareness: The knowledge and effect of third parties regarding this situation and the validity of the transaction.

Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud

A title cancellation and registration lawsuit due to inheritance fraud aims to annul the fraudulent transactions made by the decedent and register the title in favor of the heirs. To file the lawsuit, heirs must prove the fraudulent transaction and show that it was conducted after the decedent’s death. This process typically involves complex legal analysis and detailed evidence collection.

Conditions for Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud

The following conditions are necessary to file a title cancellation and registration lawsuit due to inheritance fraud:

1 – Active Legitimation: The person filing the lawsuit must have the right to file as an heir. These individuals are usually the legal heirs of the decedent.

2 – Burden of Proof: The plaintiff must present evidence proving the fraudulent transaction. This evidence can include witness statements, written documents, and financial transactions during the process.

3 – Statute of Limitations: The lawsuit must be filed within a specific statute of limitations. In Turkish law, this period is generally accepted as ten years from the date of the transaction.

Example Situation: Shortly before death, a decedent “sells” a valuable property to a close friend at a much lower price than its market value. However, this transaction is actually a fraud intended to disinherit the heirs. After the decedent’s death, the heirs file a title cancellation and registration lawsuit to prove the transaction is fraudulent and return the property to the estate.

Transfer to Third Person in Inheritance Fraud

In inheritance fraud, the transfer to a third person usually aims to disinherit the heirs. If the third person is aware of the decedent’s true intent and knowingly cooperates with the decedent, they may also be held legally responsible, and the transaction may be deemed invalid.

Transfer of Property to Third Person and Compensation in Inheritance Fraud

If the decedent’s property is transferred to third parties and found to be fraudulent, the heirs may claim compensation. The compensation claim is usually for the value lost due to the deprivation of inheritance. For example, if a decedent “donates” a property to a friend without receiving any payment and this violates the heirs’ rights, the heirs can file both a title cancellation and registration lawsuit and a compensation lawsuit for their financial losses.

Cases Where Inheritance Fraud Is Not Accepted

Inheritance fraud may not be accepted in all cases. If the transaction was conducted with the decedent’s genuine and free will and there was no element of fraud or deception at the time of the transaction, the inheritance fraud claim may not be valid. Additionally, if the third party was unaware of the decedent’s true intent and acted in good faith, this can be a reason for the rejection of the fraud claim.

Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit for Inheritance Fraud Against Good-Faith Third Party

Article 1023 of the Turkish Civil Code adopts the principle of protecting good-faith third parties. According to this principle, good-faith third parties do not suffer from the loss of rights resulting from fraudulent transactions. If a third party purchases the property without knowing it was fraudulently transferred and pays the price, a title cancellation and registration lawsuit cannot be filed.

Transactions Where Fraud Does Not Occur

Fraud does not necessarily occur in every transaction. Especially in cases like wills, which are unilateral declarations of intent, fraud claims are not valid because only one party’s intention is involved. However, in bilateral contracts, if both parties have this intention, fraud claims can be valid.

Filing a Lawsuit

Who Can File a Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud?

A title cancellation and registration lawsuit due to inheritance fraud is generally filed by the legal heirs of the decedent. These heirs can include the decedent’s spouse, children, or other close relatives as legally determined. Besides legal heirs, individuals designated by the decedent through wills can also file this lawsuit. This lawsuit aims to annul fraudulent transactions made by the decedent that could harm the heirs’ rights and register the property in favor of the heirs.

Can Inheritance Fraud Be Filed While the Decedent Is Alive?

No, an inheritance fraud lawsuit can only be filed after the decedent’s death. Fraudulent transactions cannot be contested while the decedent is alive because the fraud claim is part of inheritance law, and inheritance law procedures begin only after the decedent’s death.

Can Inheritance Fraud Be Filed Against a Third Person?

Yes, inheritance fraud lawsuits can be filed against third parties alleged to have participated in the fraudulent transactions made by the decedent. These third parties can be buyers or individuals suspected of collaborating in the fraud.

Can a Single Heir File a Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit?

Yes, a single heir can file a title cancellation and registration lawsuit. However, if the claims in the lawsuit affect all heirs and have implications for all heirs, it is important to include or inform other heirs in the process.

What Happens as a Result of the Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit?

As a result of a title cancellation and registration lawsuit, the court annuls the title record if it determines it was fraudulent or illegal and registers the title in favor of the plaintiffs. This ensures that the property is returned to the legal heirs or rightful owners, particularly in cases of inheritance fraud.

Which Value of the Property Is Considered in Inheritance Fraud Lawsuits?

In inheritance fraud lawsuits, the property’s value is generally based on its market value at the time the lawsuit is filed. However, the court or parties may also consider the value at the time of the transaction, which is especially important for compensation calculations.

How Long Does a Fraud Lawsuit Last?

Fraud lawsuits vary depending on the complexity of the case and local court conditions. Typically, they last more than two years, but in more complex situations, this period can be even longer. Effective evidence collection and the court’s workload are critical factors.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuits Due to Inheritance Fraud?

The statute of limitations for title cancellation and registration lawsuits due to inheritance fraud is generally ten years from the date of the transaction, according to the Turkish Civil Code. If the lawsuit is not filed within this period, the right to sue expires, showing the necessity for heirs to act promptly against fraudulent transactions.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Pause?

The statute of limitations can pause or be suspended in certain special situations. For example:

1 – Parties agreeing to file a lawsuit,

2 – Periods during which the lawsuit is filed and the trial process continues,

3 – Emergence of certain legal obstacles during the trial process,

4 – Changes in the parties’ legal capacities (e.g., minors reaching adulthood) can pause or suspend the statute of limitations.

Is Mediation Mandatory in Inheritance Fraud Lawsuits?

According to Turkish legislation, mediation is mandatory for certain types of cases. However, mediation is currently not mandatory for inheritance fraud lawsuits. These cases are typically directly handled in court and do not require a mediation process.

How Is Inheritance Fraud Rejected?

To reject an inheritance fraud claim, it is usually necessary to prove that there was no fraudulent intent in the alleged fraudulent transaction. Additionally, evidence can be presented showing that the transaction was a genuine trade conducted under appropriate market conditions. The status of good-faith third parties is also considered.

When Can Inheritance Fraud Lawsuits Not Be Filed?

Inheritance fraud lawsuits cannot be filed before the decedent’s death. Additionally, if the fraudulent transaction was conducted legally and validly, and third parties acted in good faith, the lawsuit may not be filed. When the legal protection of good-faith third parties is involved, detecting fraud becomes more challenging, and the chances of filing a lawsuit decrease.

Petition for Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud

Petitions in such cases should include the subject of the lawsuit, parties, details of the fraud, and the requested legal corrections. The petition should contain transaction dates, the relationship between the parties, transaction conditions, and evidence showing why the transaction is fraudulent.

Compensation for Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud

If inheritance fraud is determined as a result of the title cancellation and registration lawsuit, heirs can claim monetary compensation corresponding to their lost inheritance shares. The compensation amount is usually calculated based on the market value of the property and the value lost by the heirs.

What Evidence Proves the Existence or Non-Existence of Inheritance Fraud?

Various evidence can be used to prove inheritance fraud:

1 – Witness Statements: Discussions between the decedent and the buyer during the transaction period can be proven through witnesses.

2 – Official Documents: Official documents, contracts, and title records related to the property transfer are among the documents supporting the existence of fraud.

3 – Financial Transactions: Payment records, bank statements, and financial documents used in the fraudulent transaction can be used to show whether the transaction was genuine.

What Evidence Proves Fraud/Who Proves the Fraud Claim?

Fraud is generally proven with written documents, witness statements, and financial evidence. The party claiming fraud is usually responsible for proving it. This can vary depending on the specifics of the case and legal conditions.

How to Win an Inheritance Fraud Lawsuit?

To win an inheritance fraud lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that there was fraudulent intent during the transaction and that there was a secret agreement between the decedent and the buyer. Typically, evidence showing that the property was transferred at a price below market value at the time of the transaction supports the fraud claim. Additionally, transfers made close to the decedent’s death are considered suspicious and can significantly influence the lawsuit’s outcome.

Dismissal Decisions and Outcomes in Inheritance Fraud Lawsuits

In inheritance fraud lawsuits, courts may issue dismissal decisions for various reasons. These reasons include the plaintiff’s inability to prove fraud, lack of legal basis for the fraud claim, or the lawsuit being time-barred.

Reasons for Dismissal

Insufficient Proof: The plaintiff must provide concrete evidence of fraud in an inheritance fraud lawsuit. If the plaintiff cannot prove that the decedent’s true intent was to hide assets from heirs, the court may dismiss the fraud claim.

Lack of Legal Basis: An inheritance fraud lawsuit can be filed under the relevant provisions of the Turkish Civil Code and the Land Registry Law. If the plaintiff’s claims do not comply with these legal bases, the court may dismiss the lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations: An inheritance fraud lawsuit must be filed within ten years from the discovery of the fraudulent transaction. If the lawsuit is not filed within this period, it becomes time-barred and is dismissed.

Consequences of Dismissal

The dismissal of an inheritance fraud lawsuit means that the plaintiff heirs’ claims are not accepted. In this case, the property remains with the defendant. The plaintiff can appeal and take the decision to higher courts.

However, if higher courts also render the same decision, the lawsuit becomes final, and the plaintiffs lose their property rights. This situation can lead to financial and emotional losses for the plaintiff heirs.

Sample Supreme Court Decisions Related to Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuits Due to Inheritance Fraud


(…) As known, fraud defined in practice and doctrine as “inheritance fraud” is, by nature, a type of relative (qualified) fraud. In this fraud, the decedent truly wants to make a contract and transfer their titled property. However, to disinherit their heir, they hide their true purpose and declare their intention as a sale or lifetime care contract in the official contract they make at the land registry, even though they actually want to donate the titled property.

(…)

In the present case, it is clear that the decedent’s aim was not to hide the property from other heirs but to have a building constructed on the disputed plot numbered 1245 and receive three apartments. As a matter of fact, an agreement was made between the decedent’s representative, who is not a party to the case, and the defendant contractor. The legal basis of the inheritance fraud claim is Article 19 of the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098 and the Unified Decision No. 1/2 dated 01.4.1974, which can only be applied if the decedent intended to hide assets from other heirs.

Therefore, the claim of inheritance fraud was not proven, and the lawsuit should have been dismissed instead of the erroneous decision made. Considering the defendant’s justified appeal, the decision is overturned per Article 428 of the Civil Procedure Code No. 1086 (referred by the transitional Article 3 of Law No. 6100) (…) 1st Civil Chamber, File No: 2019/549 Decision No: 2019/1653 Date: 07.03.2019


In another Supreme Court decision related to a title cancellation and registration lawsuit due to inheritance fraud, the court’s decision was overturned because no expert report was obtained: “(…) Therefore, all movable and immovable properties and rights inherited from the decedent to all heirs should be investigated, title records and other evidence and documents, if any, should be brought from the authorities, a report from an expert should be obtained regarding the qualities and values of the properties and rights transferred to each heir, and it should be clarified whether there was an intention to share as mentioned above. Therefore, the plaintiffs’ appeal objections are valid. The decision is overturned per Article 428 of the Civil Procedure Code (…) 1st Civil Chamber, File No: 2007/10774 Decision No: 2008/696 Date: 24.01.2008 (…)”


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Title Cancellation and Registration Lawsuit Due to Inheritance Fraud in Turkish Law

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