When someone dies, the person who has lost their spouse, parent or partner must deal with the funeral, finances, post, estate inventory, will and much more. Power of attorney is often required when responsibility for an estate is shared.
At the time of death, the deceased’s assets, debts and contractual obligations are transferred to an estate. An estate ceases to exist once the inheritance has been settled, that is once the assets have been divided up between the heirs.
Are the important things already written down somewhere?
Check to see whether the deceased has compiled information about insurance policies, bank accounts, securities and any will in a folder, safety deposit box or using the services Vita arkivet or Livsarkivet. Check whether there is any provision in a will naming a specific person as the executor of the will and administrator of the estate.
Check to see whether the deceased has written a will in which a specific person is named as the executor of the will. The executor of the will is entitled to administer the estate instead of the parties to the estate. If no executor has been named, the parties to the estate themselves are responsible for administering the estate or appointing someone to do so.
Take things at your own pace
A death affects different people in different ways. Some prefer to busy themselves with practical tasks as soon as possible. Others have difficulty coping with the practicalities. Prioritise the most important tasks and don’t hesitate to ask others to help you.
You can use our checklist on which we have compiled most of the tasks you need to perform in the event of a death in the family.
Apply for probate to administer the estate of the deceased
If you are the widow, widower, child or other relative who is the executor of the estate, you will need a death certificate, showing the date and time of death, with a släktutredning, a report of surviving current and former spouses and children of the deceased.
You can apply for a death certificate with släktutredning yourself, or ask your funeral director to help you. Once you have the certificate, you can deal with matters such as cancelling contracts and direct debits or dealing with insurance companies or appointing an estate administrator.
You can also apply for a burial/cremation certificate, a registry extract you will need in order to arrange the funeral. You can obtain this from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) yourself if you do not have a funeral director to apply for it on your behalf.
You can order a death certificate and släktutredning over the telephone by calling the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) on +46 (0)771 567 567.
Den som ska ta hand om den dödas ekonomi under den första tiden behöver ha ett dödsfallsintyg med släktutredning. Först då går det att exempelvis avsluta avtal och autogiron eller tala med försäkringsbolag och en boutredningsman.
Dödsfallsintyg med släktutredning beställer du hos Skatteverket genom att ringa 0771 - 567 567.
Certificate to administer post addressed to the estate
If someone other than the deceased’s spouse or registered partner needs to collect letters or parcels addressed to the estate, they will require a certificate (vårdnadsintyg) from the funeral director.
The vårdnadsintyg must be signed and kept by the post office that deals with the deliveries to the estate’s address. If, however, the spouse or registered partner is to collect the post, they will need to present a death certificate with släktutredningat the post office.
A vårdnadsintyg is valid for 4 months from the date of death, until the notification of the estate or estate inventory is completed.
Power of attorney to represent the estate
It may be practical for one person to administer the estate; for example, the widow, widower or one of the children who are parties to the estate. It may even be a cohabiting partner or an external estate administrator, or some other representative. The person administering the estate requires a signed power of attorney from each of the parties to the estate.
Efterlevandeguiden includes a template for a power of attorney for the estate in PDF format that you can download and print out.
Specific requirements may need to be met for a power of attorney to be valid
For example, a bank may have its own form for completing a power of attorney to represent the estate in contacts with the bank. Forms may be available to download from the bank’s website or you may need to order one by post.
Contact the banks, financial institutions and insurance companies with which the deceased did business to find out what applies.
Redirecting the estate’s post
Approximately one week after the death, the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) will send a letter asking whether the estate would like to notify a change of address. The Swedish Tax Agency will not notify anyone else of this new address.
If you want all of the deceased’s post to be sent to a new address you will need to order a redirection. You do this via Svensk Adressändring. You can see the fees for redirecting post on its website. This is an expense that can be charged to the estate. If there are insufficient funds in the estate, you will need to pay the fee for having the deceased’s post redirected yourself.
You need to contact the bank in order to administer the estate’s finances
In the event of death, you will need access to the deceased’s bank account to:
pay bills, funeral and probate costs;
cancel direct debits
obtain information about the deceased’s assets and debts for the estate inventory.
The person contacting the bank must be in possession of a death certificate with släktutredning. In some cases, where there are several parties to the estate, you will also require power of attorney. Forms for power of attorney can be downloaded from bank websites.
Banks are automatically informed when someone dies, at which point some of the services used by the deceased will be automatically terminated. Exactly which services are blocked may vary from bank to bank.
Pay funeral and probate costs first before paying household bills
The estate’s first duty is to pay funeral and probate costs. All bills that relate to a joint household must be paid. Rent, electricity and telephone bills and funeral costs can normally be paid directly from the deceased’s bank account.
The estate’s debts
You have no personal responsibility for the deceased’s debts. If the estate has insufficient funds to pay, the debts will be written off. The estate’s first duty is to pay funeral and probate costs. Some of the bills that arrive in the deceased’s name do not need to be paid immediately. Instead, you should contact the company that sent the bill and inform them of the death.
You can administer the estate yourself; however, if the estate is extensive, with many assets and debts, or if there are many parties to the estate, this may feel like a difficult task. This is especially true if the parties to the estate are unable to reach agreement. In such cases, the estate may choose to employ an estate administrator.
If the parties to the estate are unable to agree on how the estate should be administered or the inheritance distributed, the district court may appoint an independent estate administrator, probate officer or estate distribution executor. You can learn more about applying for independent assistance at domstol.se.
Contact customer services at Svensk Adressändring to redirect the estate’s post to a specific addressee, such as a party to the estate or an estate administrator.
If the estate’s post is delivered to a residential home for the elderly, you will need to notify the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) of the new address. Ask staff at the residential home whether they can forward the post to another address, otherwise you will need to notify anyone who usually sends post to the deceased.
The Swedish Tax Agency sends out a letter asking whether the estate would like to the agency to use a new address.
If you do change the address, the Swedish Tax Agency will not notify anyone else of this new address.
If you are responsible for administering the estate and you change address after the death, you should give notification via Svensk Adressändring. Once Svensk Adressändring adds the deceased’s personal details, the estate’s post will also be redirected.
You will also need to notify the Swedish Tax Agency about the estate’s new address.
Once the estate inventory has been completed and approved by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), you may change the details of ownership for real estate, cars and other property and close the deceased’s bank account.
Subscriptions in the deceased’s name should be cancelled or transferred to someone else. This also applies to agreements for electricity, refuse collection, TV and streaming services, telephony and home insurance. You should also review any memberships.
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