How to organise an estate inventory
If your deceased loved one had a home or permanent place of residence in Finland, an inventory of their estate must be arranged within three months of death.
During the estate inventory meeting, the estate's funds and debts are determined, as are the heirs and legatees. This information is marked down in the estate inventory deed and will be used in the distribution of inheritance and payment of inheritance taxes.
The estate inventory deed must be submitted to the tax authority within a month of the estate inventory so that the tax authority can handle the payment of inheritance taxes.
Depending on the situation, the estate inventory meeting can be organised by either
- the estate stakeholder who is responsible for the administration of the estate's property
- an estate inventory administrator
- an executor of the last will and testament appointed by the deceased person
- or another person, who considering the circumstances holds the right and responsibility to this.
If you are the surviving spouse and you had a prenuptial agreement in place, you are not obligated to arrange the estate inventory meeting, unless you are a legatee.
In practice, the family and friends of the deceased agree on who will take responsibility for making the arrangements involved in organising an estate inventory meeting. Most often, the event is organised by the widow/widower or one of the deceased person's children.
In practice, the actual estate inventory is drawn up by two trustees, who are over the age of 18 and of legal capacity. There are no other specific criteria.
Stakeholders in the estate can act as trustees or an independent expert can be employed for the task. For example funeral homes, law firms and banks draw up estate inventories. If the estate is in debt or the property in question is large, it is a good idea to use the services of an expert.
If you are responsible for organising the estate inventory , specify the time and place of the meeting and invite the stakeholders in the estate i.e. the heirs, the legatees and the spouse. If the deceased was married and they had no children i.e. direct heirs, invite the spouse and the secondary heirs to take part.
Extend an invitation by mail, email or telephone. Extend invitations well in advance so the invited parties can arrange to attend or have a representative attend in their place.
Before the event, order an extract from the population register and report on the familial relationships of the deceased and all the stakeholders in the estate. Obtain a comprehensive report on family relationships for the deceased from every locality where he/she has lived after turning 15. Also acquire extracts from the population register for all stakeholders from the municipality in which they reside.
Extracts from the population register and reports on family relationships can be acquired from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or the parish, if the persons are members of a parish.
- Extracts and certificates from the Population Information System
- Report on the family relationships from Digital and Population Data Services Agency
Request information on the deceased person's assets and debts from all banks, insurance companies and funds where the deceased was a customer. Acquire information on the deceased's possible share ownership from companies. The estate inventory deed must include the value of assets. Real estate agents can help in determining the value of properties and residencies.
If the deceased has a surviving spouse, acquire information on the spouse's assets and debts for the estate inventory.
You can also use the services of an expert in inventorying the estate. Legal aids, lawyers and legal counsel as well as banks and funeral homes provide these services. When inviting tenders, find out the approximate size of the estate in question.
As a rule, the costs that arise from an estate inventory will be covered from the estate's funds. In order to avoid later disputes, the commission concerning the estate inventory should be agreed to in advance by all stakeholders.
An unbroken chain of reports of family relationships from each locality in which the person has been registered abroad must be obtained of each shareholder of the estate. Similarly, if the deceased had lived abroad, a report of the family relationships of the deceased must be obtained from abroad for the estate inventory. This may take a long time as there may be in deficiencies in the registers of many countries.
The websites of Finnish embassies in different countries contain information about the procedures in the countries in question. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs provides help in obtaining the required documents if a country releases the documents only to a diplomatic mission.
If it is not possible to obtain an unbroken chain of reports of the family relationships of a shareholder of the estate or of the deceased person for the time they lived abroad, you can order a certificate stating this from the website of the Finnish embassy in the country in question.
The estate inventory deed must include
- the time and place of the inventory,
- the deceased person's full name, place of domicile, birth date and date of death,
- the names of all estate stakeholders,
- the stakeholders’ places of domicile and birth dates,
- the stakeholders’ family relationship to the deceased.
An heir must be named even if he/she will not receive anything from the estate's assets.
The estate inventory deed must include a list of those who attended the estate inventory meeting. If someone who was informed of the estate inventory meeting does not attend, the estate inventory deed must include details on how and when the person was notified of the estate inventory meeting.
The estate inventory deed must list all the estate's assets and debts as well as information on a prenuptial agreement or a last will and testament. The estate's assets and debts must be entered into the estate inventory deed as they were on the date of death.
A report of the deceased person's family relationship and extracts from the population register for each estate stakeholder will be attached to the estate inventory deed, as will all possible mandates for stakeholder representatives, prenuptial agreements and relinquishment of inheritance. The attachments can be copies of original documents.
The trustees, the person who invited the participants and the other participants at the meeting will sign the estate inventory deed.
The trustees must write up an estate inventory deed certificate in which they state that they have entered all the correct information and assessed the estate's assets according to their best understanding of the matter.
The estate notifier must include a guarantee under oath that he/she has provided the correct and accurate information for the estate inventory and he/she has not intentionally neglected to give notice of anything.
Yes, an estate inventory is always mandatory. If the deceased had debts these are entered into the deed. Otherwise the estate is declared void of funds and free of debt.
The Finnish Tax Administration can on request provide more time if a delay to the estate inventory is justified. You must apply for a delay by filling in a form before three months has passed from your family member’s death.
The Finnish Tax Administration can determine an inheritance tax on the basis of an assessment and it may additionally stipulate a tax increase.