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A child's position when a parent dies

The child's guardian is usually his or her trustee. The guardian is the child's living parent or some other person who has been asked to be the child’s guardian.

The trustee must submit a copy of the estate inventory deed to the Local Register Office within a month of the estate being inventoried. The Local Register Office will give more detailed instructions on acting as a trustee and the trustee’s accountability.

If the child’s trustee is the spouse of the person who died, there may be a conflict of interests between the spouse and the child, for example in the administration and distribution of the person's estate. In that case, a substitute trustee is appointed. An application for the appointment of a substitute trustee can be submitted to the Register Office or to the District Court.

If a child has lost both parents, the child welfare authorities will place the child in the care of another family, for example relations or friends. The district court will make a decision on guardianship and appoint a new guardian for the child. If necessary, the social welfare authorities will find out for the district court who would be the best person for this task. The child’s views are heard when making the decision, and an attempt is made to keep siblings together.

The new guardian is usually also the child’s trustee, who deals with matters related to the distribution of estate and inheritance on behalf of the child.

An inheritance must be kept for the child

A child's inheritance or other funds can only be used for the good of the child. The funds must be used with consideration. The trustee must act in the best interests of the child and also listen to the child's views.

The trustee's task is to make sure that the child's inheritance is invested in a secure and sufficiently profitable manner. The trustee may borrow from the child's funds only if it this has been approved by the Local Register Office and if collateral is provided.

A child's inheritance may not be used for the daily living costs of the child's family. A child is never responsible for supporting his or her guardian or siblings financially. You can apply for an orphan's pension and other benefits for the child to cover his or her livings costs.


    Text edited by: Suomi.fi editorial team
    Updated: 11/21/2019