6 What are the consequences of death?

The rules on the division of the joint property are also applicable if one of the spouses dies. Thereby the deceased's portion of the joint property, together with his/her separate property – if any -, becomes subject to inheritance.

The surviving spouse takes his/her portion of the joint property, together with his/her separate property, if any. Furthermore, the surviving spouse takes his/her own pension rights, etc. (cf. question 2.1.)

The surviving spouse inherits half of the deceased's property, if the latter has got lineal heirs. If the deceased spouse does not have lineal heirs, the surviving spouse is the sole inheritor. The deceased spouse may leave a will stating a different division of inheritance, with the restriction that a quarter of the deceased spouse's property must be inherited by the surviving spouse.

In addition, the surviving spouse has the right to exclude from the estate items exclusively used for his/her personal needs, as long as their value is not disproportionate considering the financial circumstances of the spouses, and items acquired for use by minor children.

In addition, the surviving spouse may take an amount from the estate whose value, when added to the surviving spouse's inheritance and separate property, equals 600,000 DKK. This amount is subject to indexation.

The surviving spouse may take over the spouses' joint estate in undivided possession with their joint lineal heirs, for example children or grandchildren. If the deceased spouse leaves lineal heirs of his/her own, then the estate can only be subject to undivided possession upon their consent. Undivided possession of an estate means that normally the heirs cannot claim their inheritance after the deceased as long as the surviving spouse is alive, and the surviving spouse is in possession of the whole estate and may use it in his/her everyday life, even if the value of the estate thereby is reduced. However, the surviving spouse may not misuse the possession of the estate.

(Inheritance Act, §§ 9-11 and §§ 18-19)