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The EU Succession Regulation becomes applicable

Ministry of Justice
Publication date 10.8.2015 12.05
Press release

The EU regulation on international succession will become applicable on 17 August. The regulation shall apply to the succession of persons who die on or after the 17 August 2015. The regulation harmonises and simplifies the processing of successions in which the matter is linked to multiple Member States. The regulation does not affect national rules on succession, nor is it applicable to tax arrangements.

The Succession Regulation includes provisions on which country's law will govern a succession matter with international elements, and which country's court shall have jurisdiction to rule on the succession. The regulation also includes provisions on the recognition and enforcement of decisions in succession matters in EU countries.

The main principle is that the courts of the EU country in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of death shall have jurisdiction to rule on the administration and sharing-out of the estate. Also, the law of that country shall govern the succession. However, a testator may during his lifetime choose as the law to govern his succession the law of the country whose nationality he possesses at the time of making the choice or at the time of death.

For instance, in a situation where a Finnish citizen at the time of his death had his habitual residence in Spain, Spanish law shall govern his succession. The person may, however, in his will stipulate that Finnish law shall govern his succession. In order to receive advice in succession matters, you should contact a local lawyer.

Introduction of the European Certificate of Succession

As the Succession Regulation comes into force, it also introduces a so called European Certificate of Succession, to be used by heirs, executors of wills and administrators of the estate to demonstrate their status and rights in another Member State. This will simplify the processing of succession matters where the deceased had assets in several EU countries. The certificate enables an heir to claim the inherited assets in another EU country.

A European Certificate of Succession can only be applied for after the death of the deceased. The application shall be filed in the EU country which has jurisdiction to rule on the succession. The Certificate of Succession is a voluntary instrument. In Finland the certificate is issued by the Local Register Office of Helsinki.


All EU countries are not covered by the Succession Regulation. The Regulation is not applicable in Denmark, the United Kingdom, or Ireland.

Further information:

Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs, Outi Kemppainen, tel. 02951 50260 (e-mail:

[email protected]), and

Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs, Salla Silvola, tel. 02951 50314 ([email protected])

» EU Succession Regulation 650/2012

» National laws regarding the amendments can be found through Finlex using the numbers 681-683/2015

» More information about the Regulation and international inheritance can be found on the European e-Justice Portal

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