Inheritance issues; inheritance changes; estates; executors; right to full ownership; right of free disposal; statutory proportioning; children from a previous marriage or relationship; wills; contesting a will.


It is important to write a will. It is especially important for couples who have children from other relationships, and for couples living together. Cohabitees do not inherit from each other.  If a will is not written, then the children will inherit all the assets. If one does not wish the children to inherit all the assets, then one can specify this in a will. A will can determine who shall inherit what and, for example, that the children’s inheritance becomes their individual property. There are many people who think or say, “I will do it later. Not now.” Later could be too late. For a will to be valid, there are certain formalities. If the formal requirements are not met, by law heirs can challenge a will.

What is the difference between full ownership and right of disposal?

A person can inherit the right to full ownership. This means that the heir, can in turn, write a testament and will the inherited property to someone else. If it is not specifically written otherwise in the will, then spouses will inherit from each other, with the right of disposal. After the remaining husband/wife has died, the property is accrued to the children. This also means that the remaining husband/wife cannot bequeath the legacy to anyone else. 

Statutory proportioning

A child from a previous relationship or marriage, (a child that only belongs to one of the parties) always has the right to demand its statutory portion which is half of the deceased’s estate. This applies regardless of what is written in the testament. 

Estate inventory

An inventory of the deceased’s estate assets must be made at death. It is important that the estate inventory is drawn up properly with all assets and liabilities listed at the correct values. The estate inventory must be recorded.

Executors of the estate

Heirs may not agree with the setup of the estate inventory. Or maybe it is a large estate that they cannot manage themselves. In these cases, there is the possibility to apply to the court to appoint an executor of the estate. This eliminates the need for the co-owners to manage the estate and the executors take care of it instead.

Estate distribution

With estate distribution, the assets from the estate are divided between the co-owners. If the deceased was married, then the division of property is made prior to the estate distribution. It is also important in regard to taxation issues, for example, in connection with the sale of a property. The heirs of the estate are responsible for paying the capital gains tax.