The rights of the surviving spouse
If your spouse from a marriage or registered partnership dies and you become a widow(er), you will maintain control of your residence and furniture. Also people who have lost a partner they cohabited with have rights.
No, but you are a stakeholder in the estate until its distribution. Heirs are direct heirs i.e. children. They will inherit your spouse's property, unless your spouse has otherwise stipulated in their will.
If your spouse did not have any children and did not have a will, you will inherit the property for the duration of your life and can use it freely as you choose. After your death, your spouse's property will be inherited by your spouse's family. In practice this means that your property will be divided into two between your spouse’s secondary heirs and your heirs.
If you had a prenuptial agreement, you will act in accordance with that.
If you did not have a prenuptial agreement, you will have the right to half of the combined property owned by you and your spouse, after debts have been paid. This is called the distribution of matrimonial assets.
If your spouse was wealthier than you, a levelling compensation will be paid to you from their property so that your shares of the property are even. If you are wealthier, you do not need to pay the levelling compensation to your spouse's heirs.
Yes you can. As a married spouse, you have the right to maintain control of your mutual home if you need it as your home. You have this right even if your spouse was the sole owner of your mutual home.
Direct heirs and legatees do not have the right to sell the residence without your permission, even if they will not get the share of the estate that they have the right to if the residence is not sold. However, if you own some other residence that would be suitable as a home, you cannot refuse to move there.
The common furniture in your mutual home will remain undistributed in your possession.
A car, summer cottage and other property will be divided among the stakeholders in which case you will have the right to half of the property subject to your marital right and the other half will go to direct heirs. You can negotiate with the heirs on what arrangements could be made so that you could have full ownership of e.g. the car.
The surviving spouse must agree to the distribution of the estate. The estate must be distributed, if even one stakeholder so requires. The estate can be distributed partially so that one heir's portion is extracted, but the other heirs' portions are kept undistributed for the time being with their permission.
The last will and testament is brought to the estate inventory and made known to the heirs. Regardless of the last will and testament, the heirs will have the right to their legal share i.e. half of what they would be entitled to, if there were no will.
Present a request for financial assistance during the division of assets, the estate inventory and the distribution of inheritance. You can receive a reasonable sum of assistance from the estate for a fixed period of time on the basis of a drop in your income and if the financial assistance is essential in order for you to be able to support yourself.
If you receive a salary or pension or you have a reasonable amount of funds after the distribution of matrimonial assets, you will not be eligible for financial assistance.
All the deceased person's children are equal in status as direct heirs of the estate. If your spouse has a will that benefited you and some of their children, all the direct heirs will still have the right to their legal share.
Your property will be divided and your partner's portion will be inherited by their direct heirs. You can only inherit from your spouse if they had made out a will in which you are named. However, you may still be entitled to receive compensation from the estate for your contribution to your joint household.
You can also be eligible for assistance from the estate if your income has dropped as a result of your partner's death, and you need the assistance in order to be able to support yourself. The condition for the assistance given to the cohabiting partner is that you have lived together for a minimum of five years, or you have or have had mutual children together or children in your joint guardianship.