Death of a family member in Finland

Omaisen kuolema Suomessa
Here you will find information on notifying a death in Finland and how to notify details of a death to another Nordic country, on inheritance, estate inventory and inheritance tax as well as on survivor’s pensions paid to a surviving spouse and children. There is also guidance on how to order an extract from the population register needed for a deed of inventory in Finland and the other Nordic countries.

Unlike the other Nordic countries, in Finland an estate inventory must be submitted for persons who lived in Finland permanently before their death. In Finland, inheritances are subject to inheritance tax.

Notifying a death to another Nordic country

If a citizen of another Nordic country permanently residing in Finland dies in Finland, the record of death is usually not notified directly to the authorities in the other Nordic country. If it is important that the record of death appears in the population register of the former home country, the relatives themselves must send an extract from the population register of the country of death and possibly the hospital death certificate to the population register authorities in the home country. In Finland, you get an extract from the population register from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

If a Swedish citizen residing temporarily in Finland (doesn’t have a Finnish personal identity code) dies in Finland, the information is passed to the Swedish population register via the Swedish embassy based on the data communication agreement between Finland and Sweden.

Notifying a death in Finland

If a person dies in hospital or a care home in Finland, the hospital or care home notifies the death to the Finnish population register and other authorities. It is advisable to notify a sudden death to the police. A death must also be notified separately for example to the person’s bank and insurance company.

Burial and funeral allowance

In Finland burial permits are issued by doctors. The burial permit is given to the relative of the deceased taking care of the funeral or to the funeral directors.

Parish-maintained cemeteries are public cemeteries. Non-members of the church can be buried there for the same price as church members. There are also burial plots at non-denominational cemeteries.

If the deceased is cremated, the ashes must be buried or permanently deposited in one place within one year of cremation. Depositing ashes requires the consent of the owner of the area and the location must be notified in writing to the crematorium.

Needy families can apply for assistance with funeral costs from the municipal social welfare office. Family members of veterans wounded or taken ill in Finland’s wars can get funeral allowance from the State Treasury.

Inheritance, estate inventory and inheritance tax

Code of Inheritance

Unless specified otherwise in the will, the deceased’s estate is inherited in accordance with the Code of Inheritance defined in law. The primary heirs are children, i.e. direct descendants. If there are no children, the spouse inherits, and if there is no spouse, the deceased is inherited by his or her parents, siblings, grandparents or their children. The Code of Inheritance ends with grandparents’ children, i.e. uncles and aunts may inherit, but cousins may not.

A surviving spouse is entitled to continue living in the couple’s joint dwelling if he or she does not own any other dwelling suitable as a home.

If a person dies without heirs and without a will, his or her property goes to the state.

Foreigners have the same right to inherit in Finland as a Finnish citizen.

Estate inventory

If at the time of death the deceased lived permanently in Finland, following death an estate inventory must be drawn up to establish the assets and debts of the deceased and possible spouse. The estate inventory meeting must be held within three months of death, and the estate inventory deed must be sent to the tax office etc. Additional time can be requested for submitting the estate inventory for a valid reason. More information from the Finnish Tax Administration.

In Finland, a civil status document (virkatodistus) - the information on a person in the population register- for the purposes of an estate inventory can be obtained from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. If the deceased lived abroad during his or her lifetime, a life certificate must be ordered from each country in which he or she lived. The Finland Abroad site contains detailed information on ordering an extract from the population register in the Nordic countries.

Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax must be paid on property received as an inheritance or a bequest, if at the time of death the deceased lived in Finland. Inheritance tax is paid on the basis of the estate inventory deed or tax return.

The amount of inheritance tax is calculated based on the value of the inherited property and the family relationship. You can get more information on inheritance tax from the Finnish Tax Administration.

Survivors' pensions for family members

If you have lost a family member, you can get a survivor’s pension. Find out more about survivors’ pensions on the page Benefits in Finland in the event of bereavement.

More information

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