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European Certificate of Succession

As from 17 August 2015, the European Certificate of Succession which can be used by heirs, executors of wills and administrators of estates can to prove their position and authority in another Member State will be enacted by a regulation. This will facilitate the management of matters of succession in situations where the deceased owns property in several Member States.

After the death of the deceased, a European Certificate of Succession is granted in the state that has jurisdiction over a matter related to the estate. The principal rule is that the authority in matters of estate administration and the distribution of an estate falls on the court of law of the member state in which the deceased resided upon their death, and this state's legislation will be applied. However, while alive, the deceased may use their will to stipulate that the legislation of the country in which they hold citizenship upon making this decision, or upon their death, will be applied. The choice of law enacted before the adoption date of the regulation will remain in force.

In Finland, European Certificates of Succession are granted by the Local Register Office of Uusimaa.

The European Certificate of Succession is drafted using a form approved by the European Commission, and can be used by heirs, recipients of wills, executors of wills and administrators of estates to prove their position and authority in another Member State.  For instance, heirs can use the certificate to prove that a share of an estate belongs to them, while administrators of estates can use it to demonstrate their authority in matters related to estate administration.   Use of the certificate is not statutory, meaning that individuals may use other means to prove their position and authority in other Member States – by presenting a court decision pertaining to the matter, for instance.

Attention! The certificate is only granted to the estates of persons who have died on 17 August 2015 or later, and it cannot be applied for in advance.

The United Kingdom and Ireland have excluded themselves from applying the EU Regulation on International Successions. Denmark does not participate in the EU's civil cooperation. The new regulation does not apply to these countries. The regulation does not affect the processing of national matters of succession, and does not apply to taxation.