General rules of marriage and heritage under Swedish law

2015-06-25 i FAMILJERÄTT
Hello,I need to provide a legal document to my dad (French and leaving in France) in order for him to prepare his succession/heritage towards his kids. I got married last year in Swedish under the Swedish law and my dad’s “lawyer” needs to know how the Swedish law sees succession/heritage when in a wedding contract situation. For example, does the succession goes to both spouses or does it only go to the spouse related to the person doing the succession ?Could you please advise how/where I could get that document or maybe who I should contact ?MvhJeremy Deage830926-1298

Dear Jeremy,

Thank you for turning to Lawline for help and legal guidance!

To begin with I must inform you that the international rules or rules of French heritage are not our area of law and thus we can only give guidance on matters of Swedish law. As such I will briefly describe the general rules applicable to spouses living under Swedish law in terms of heritage. I assume your question is whether your’ wife is entitled to the heritage that you will attain from your’ father and/or what will happen to the heritage when you pass away?

The framework for heritage in Sweden is regulated by “Ärvdabalken” (see link here) which governs the rules for the remaining estate after a spouse has passed away. The initial step is to calculate what exactly belongs to the estate after which it is divided between the estate partners (in Swedish; dödsbodelägare).

Prior to dividing the remaining estate the marriage will be annulled and each of the spouses property will be divided equally, 9 kap. 1 § Äktenskapsbalken (see link here). Simply put, all of your’ property (including what you’ve inherited from your’ father) will be aggregated and divided equally between the two of you. The only exception is property regarded as “private property” (enskild egendom) which will NOT be aggregated to the pot. You can ensure that certain things become private property by writing a contract, in example a prenuptial agreement (äktenskapsförord) alongside the marriage. This could be the case if you want the property inherited from your father to become private property.

Once the common property has been divided your’ personal share will then be passed on to the estate where the estate partners will divide these in accordance with the Swedish heritage order (arvsordningen), 23 kap. 1 § Ärvdabalken.

In this step your share will simply be divided according the heritage order in which certain family members are prioritized before others (see link here). In example if you have a child with another mother than your’ spouse, this child will get their share (laglott) immediately, whereas children in common with your’ spouse will get their share after your spouse as passed away. In turn your’ spouse will receive 50 % of your’ remaining estate. In other words, children you have together will have to divide the remaining 50 % equally amongst themselves.

Thus my initial answer to your question is the following:

- The property you inherit from your father will not, initially, be legally entitled to your’ spouse. However, if you pass away before your’ spouse all of your property will be aggregated (except for the private property) and the divided equally between the two of you. All property you want regarded as private property can be arranged by terms of contract.

If you want us to help you with this, or to write any other legal documents you can contact our COO lawyer, Erik Lindgren, at

I hope my guidance will be of use!

Kind regards,

Viktor Serbán
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