Who will inherit according to the laws of Finland


The order of inheritance tells who inherits the deceased person. The testator can change the order of inheritance provided that he or she has made a will. However, child or grand child has always the right to receive half of the inheritance they would have received if there was no will. This is called the legal part. Legal part belongs to children of deceased person.

Legal part of the children

According to the order of succession, the inheritance belongs primarily to the children.

If the inheritor has a child and there is no will, the child inherits everything. If there are several children, each of the children receives an equal share of the inheritance. If one of the inheritor’s child is dead, his share goes to his or hers children. Adobted children’s inheritance rights are related to special circumstances.

Example: Eva has a daughter Ann and a son who is dead. The son´s two children are alive. When Eva dies, Ann gets half of the inheritance, and the other half of the inheritance is divided in half by the children of Eva’s son.

Does the spouse inherit?

If there are no biological heirs, but the person was married at the time of death, the heir is then the spouse, if he or she has not been ignored in the will. However, the widow’s inheritance right is temporary in the sense that after the widow’s death, the property of the first deceased spouse reverts to his own family. The condition for reinstatement is that the mother, father, brother or sister of the first deceased spouse or their descendant is alive when the widow dies.

When the deceased had children, the spouse does not receive the inheritance. The inheritor can influence the situation by making a will in which the widow is included and will benefit from the will.

A common-law spouse (not married spouse – avopuoliso) never inherits directly from the deceased. However, you can always draft a will where your not married spouse is the benefiaciary of your will.

Example: Mary and Matt are a childless couple. They have no prenuptial agreement and no will. Mary has two brothers. When Mary dies, Matt inherits her. When Matt dies, the property he inherited from Mary returns to Mary’s brothers.

Do parents inherit their children? Inheritance rights of parents

If the inheritor has no children or children’s descendants, nor a spouse, then the closest heirs are the inheritor’s own parents. Each of the parents gets half of the inheritance.

Do siblings inherit? Siblings’ right of inheritance

If one of the parents is dead, the inheritor’s siblings receive his share of the inheritance. The deceased sibling’s share is inherited by his or her biological heirs. If both parents are dead, the siblings or their descendants inherit the property.

Who inherits the childless? A childless legacy

The spouse will inherit a person, who is decased without children. If there is no spouse, the inheritance goes to deceased parents. If there are no parents alive, the inheritance goes to the siblings. We highly recommend childless person to make the will. If a will has not been made, the order of inheritance will be followed as far as the need requires. However, cousins ​​no longer inherit.

NOTE!! Cousins ​​no longer inherit. If the inheritor has no heirs according to the law and if he or she has not made a will, the inheritance goes to the state.

This article was written by Legal Counsel Tuula Rainto. You can always contact her for free: phone +358 10 299 5090 or [email protected].

More articles in English
How to make a last will and testament in Finland
Deed of the Estate Inventory (“perunkirjoitus”) in Finland?

Lawyer Tuula Rainto, Lakiasiaintoimisto Amos.