Swedish inheritance law regulates how a person’s property is distributed if the person dies without a will. Generally speaking, the decedent’s property is distributed to the decedent’s closest relatives such as spouse and children. If you wish to distribute your property in some other way, than you must prepare a will. Except for certain rights enjoyed by heirs, you can distribute your property as you wish. While drafting the will often is quite easy, there are formalities that must be observed. If these formalities are not observed, the will is not valid. It is, therefore, important to have qualified legal advice when preparing a will.
In some cases, the provisions of the decedent’s will infringe on the rights of heirs. Certain actions taken by the decedent during his or her lifetime may affect the heir’s rights.
Swedish family law provides extensive community property rights for spouses and, to a lesser extent, persons who live together in marriage-like relationship. This means that if the marriage or the relationship ends, either by divorce or death, the property owned by both persons is divided. If both persons agree, they can draft an agreement to divide their respective assets differently, or not divide assets at all. This agreement can be reached prior to marriage or cohabitation, referred to in English as pre-nuptial agreements, or during the marriage or cohabitation, referred to in English as anti-nuptial agreements. There are formalities that must be observed for the agreement to be enforceable, so competent legal advice is recommended when preparing these agreements.
In addition to preparing wills and pre- and anti-nuptial agreements, we assist clients document gifts as well as living wills. A living will is a relatively new instrument under Swedish law and allows people to designate a person who will be authorized to act on behalf of the subject of the living will if such person suffers from a serious disability.