How to Explain Swedish Inheritance Laws

By Molly Thompson
A Swedish lawyer can help you through the intricacies of the country's laws.

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The primary laws governing inheritance in Sweden are contained in the country's 1958 Inheritance Code. The code remains largely unchanged to the present, with the exception of a law enacted in 2005 abolishing the estate tax, resulting in a boon for heirs. The basics of Swedish inheritance laws are relatively straightforward; however, if you are involved in inheritance or other legal situations in Sweden, you should seek advice from experts in Swedish or international law.

Describe Sweden's inheritance laws as a cascading four-tiered system. Explain that each tier represents a different group of heirs. Outline the inheritance sequence as follows: the estate goes to the heirs represented by the first tier; if there are no heirs in that category, it goes to the heirs in the second tier. If there are no heirs in the second tier, the estate goes to the heirs in the third tier. Finally, if there are no heirs in any of these groups, the estate devolves to the heirs in the fourth and final tier.

Define the first tier as the deceased person's surviving spouse. This individual inherits the full estate of the deceased. Explain that there is one major exception: if the surviving spouse is not the deceased's first wife and there are children from a first marriage, those children inherit the estate in equal shares.

Describe the second tier as the deceased individual's children. Explain that the estate is divided equally among all surviving children, regardless of their marital status or number of offspring.

Define the third tier as the deceased's parents, if they survive him. Explain that if there have been no heirs identified thus far, the deceased's surviving parent or parents inherit his estate.

Identify the final tier as the deceased's surviving grandparents. At this level, any surviving grandparents inherit equal shares of the deceased's estate.

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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