Administering a death estate
After the death of a loved one, amidst grief and goodbyes, the deceased’s next of kin must take care of practical arrangements as well as banking affairs. As the estate’s administrator, you are free to first focus on funeral arrangements. We offer our condolences and are at your assistance in banking and insurance matters.
In most cases, we receive word of our customer’s death directly from the Population Information System. We will send our letter of condolences to the estate’s address in about one month after the death. The letter contains further information about the deceased person’s customer relationship with us. If necessary, you can pick up any documents from our bank branch.
Administering the death estate
Before the estate inventory: Pay any bills due for the estate at a bank branch. Obtain an extract from the population register to prove that you are a distributee in the estate.
Estate inventory: The estate inventory is a list of the death estate’s assets and distributees. We recommend using the services of a legal professional to carry out the estate inventory. Send the deed of estate inventory to us for review before the estate distribution.
After the estate inventory: Draw up the power of attorney to authorise one or several distributees to administer the estate. When distributing the estate, take into account matters such as matrimonial assets and the method for carrying out the distribution.
Where can I obtain an extract from the population register and power of attorney for the bank? After the death of a loved one, banking affairs can often be confusing. Remember to take one step at a time.
Read our instructions and checklist for the estate’s administrator. You can find the power of attorney in the section After the estate inventory.
In most cases, we receive word of our customer’s death directly from the Population Information System. Based on this information, we will lock the deceased person’s online service identifiers, deactivate all cards and remove any access rights to accounts. If, for example, the deceased person’s spouse or any other person has extensive access rights to the account and this account is the main account in an OP eServices Agreement, this person should contact us to change the main account. OP eServices cannot be used when access rights to the death estate’s account have been cancelled.
We will send our letter of condolences to our banking customers to the estate’s address in about one month after the death. The letter contains further information about the deceased person’s customer relationship with us. This includes information about any e-invoices, direct payments and investment services, as well as the template for the power of attorney. If necessary, you can pick up the documents at any OP cooperative bank branch.
Extract from population register on the deceased
The extract from the population register contains up-to-date information from the Population Information System, including the record of the death and the deceased person’s family relations, among other information. In other words, the extract from the population register proves that you a distributee of the estate.
You will need the extract in order to handle banking affairs for the death estate.
Order the extract from the population register by phone from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or from the decedent’s parish.
Bills and debts
Do you know if the deceased had debts? Be sure to get in touch with us so that we can help you make arrangements for repaying any debts.
Contracts and subscriptions
The deceased person’s estate may contain references to contracts and subscriptions. Contracts signed by the deceased during his or her lifetime are binding on the estate. Such contracts and their billing will not automatically end upon death.
You can terminate any unnecessary contracts and subscriptions. These include, for example, telephone and Internet plans, newspaper subscriptions and domestic services such as meal delivery services.
Jointly owned account
Have you and the deceased shared a joint bank account? In the event of death, the death estate becomes the joint owner of the account. As the joint owner, you can continue using the account normally unless the death estate or any of its individual distributees demand that the account’s funds be frozen. We recommend that as the widowed spouse, you direct your income to a personal account, not a joint account.
Does the estate have due bills? Before the estate inventory, you may only use the decedent’s bank account to pay for reasonable funeral expenses, the costs of preparing the estate inventory, and the costs of maintaining the value of the estate’s assets. Any individual distributee may pay these expenses without a power of attorney from other distributees.
The death estate’s bills can be paid at a bank branch without an appointment. Bring along your personal ID document and an extract from the population register proving that you are a distributee of the estate, if available.
Are you accustomed to paying bills by bank giro envelope? Bank giro envelopes cannot be used before the estate inventory has been completed and access the account has been authorised.
Are you wondering about e-invoices and direct payments of the estate? You can terminate any unnecessary e-invoices and direct payments. Otherwise, the payments continue to be billed normally. A list of the deceased person’s e-invoices and direct payments is enclosed in the letter of condolences. If necessary, you can also pick up the documents at any OP cooperative bank branch.
Please take note of the estate’s assets and ensure that they are sufficient to cover any expenses.
If you suspect that the estate’s assets are insufficient to cover all expenses of administering the estate, be sure to get in touch with us without delay. In this way, we can terminate any recurring payments that are not urgent for administering the estate.
The estate inventory is a list of the death estate’s assets and distributees. It is also a tax declaration used as the basis for levying the inheritance tax.
The estate inventory must be completed within three (3) months of the date of death. If necessary, it is possible to request an extension. We recommend using the services of a legal professional to carry out the estate inventory. The commission to prepare the estate inventory should be assigned immediately, as the process of preparing the inventory is often a lengthy one.
Most professionals will handle all aspects of the estate inventory, from identifying the distributees to gathering all necessary appendices and determining the estate’s assets. Did you know that you can also ask us to prepare the estate inventory? Read more about our services under Support for administering the death estate.
Documents you will need
To prepare the estate inventory, you will need at least reports of the distributees and the deceased’s assets and debts. Usually, the estate’s distributees and any necessary documents are retrieved and reviewed by the author of the estate inventory.
Customer status declaration, or a summary of the deceased’s services
In order to prepare the estate inventory, you will need information about the extent of the banking affairs related to the deceased and possible widowed spouse on the date of death. This information is provided in the customer status declaration. The information is required for all banking groups with which the deceased had business dealings.
Depending on the OP cooperative bank, the customer status declaration is either delivered with the letter of condolences to the home address of the deceased, or it must be picked up at any OP cooperative bank branch.
Last will and testament and inventory of the safe deposit box
The deceased may have left a last will and testament in their personal files or deposited in the bank.
The customer status declaration lists whether the deceased had a safe deposit box or documents in the bank’s custody. Visit the bank branch to make an inventory of the safe deposit box for the estate inventory.
Please book an appointment for the inventory of the safe deposit box by phone.
Distributees and population register extract on family relations
Distributees of the death estate include heirs, the surviving spouse, and beneficiaries of the general legacy.
For more about distributees of the death estate, see the Suomi.fi website.
The extract from the population register lists the heirs considered to be distributees of the death estate. The extract from the population register is an unbroken chain of records of family relations of the deceased from age 15 onwards. If you have commissioned a legal professional to carry out the estate inventory, the task to obtain the extract is usually included in the commission.
Reviewing the estate inventory
As the bank, OP is obligated to know its death estate customers. As a result, we keep the estate’s assets for the common benefit of all its beneficiaries or distributees. In order to identify and verify the individuals authorised to manage the estate’s affairs, you must deliver the signed estate inventory and all its appendices to your nearest OP cooperative bank for review. We will get in touch separately if we require any additional information concerning the documents. Reviewing the estate inventory will take a few weeks.
Appendices to the estate inventory
Depending on the situation, we may require the following extracts from the population register along with the signed estate inventory:
- An unbroken record of the deceased’s family relations from age 15 onwards
- An unbroken record of the widowed spouse’s family relations for the duration of the marriage
- An unbroken record from age 15 onwards of deceased heirs and distributees renouncing their inheritance
- Certificates of life for all distributees of the death estate residing Finland or abroad
Please note that if the Digital and Population Data Services Agency has confirmed the list of distributees given in the estate inventory deed, items 1 to 4 do not in most cases need to be submitted to us.
In addition, we may require the following documents to be included as appendices to the estate inventory. Please note that the listed documents are examples and do not apply to all death estates, nor is the list exhaustive:
- A written declaration of renouncement of inheritance, in the event that any of the distributees renounces inheritance
- Last will and testament
- Service of will and notice of acceptance
- Estate inventory of the previously deceased spouse, if the deceased was widowed
- Prenuptial agreement
- Division agreement made after a divorce
- Deed of distribution of marital assets or deed of estate distribution
In addition, the following documents must be provided if any of the distributees is a minor or under legal guardianship:
- Decision/order of guardianship
- Decision on the guardian’s substitute
Permission of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to distribute the estate
Distribution of marital assets and the estate
The distribution of marital assets and distribution of the estate are two separate processes.
First, the contract on marital assets is annulled and the assets distributed. The distribution determines which assets of the estate belong to the surviving spouse and which assets to the heirs. In the distribution, the widow’s or widower’s right to an adjustment payment from their spouse’s estate is also determined. The widowed spouse is under no obligation to give up his/her adjustment to the heirs of the deceased spouse, even if the widow had been the wealthier of the two.
Estate distribution, in turn, means dividing the net assets of the deceased between the heirs after all the estate’s debts have been paid off.
Under law, the distribution of marital assets between spouses or common-law spouses must be made first. After this, the estate can be distributed. No time limit on the distribution of marital assets or the estate is specified in law. Marital assets or the estate cannot be distributed before the estate’s and the deceased person’s debts have been paid off.
Distributing the estate
In most cases, the distributees of the estate and the widowed spouse are free to distribute the marital assets and estate in the manner they see fit. However, there are two main exceptions to this rule:
- If any of the estate’s distributees is a minor or under legal guardianship and distribution is carried out without an estate executor, we require a permission from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. In this event, the legal guardian’s deputy may be required to represent a disqualified custodian or legal guardian (for example, in cases where a child and parent are distributees in the same estate).
- If any of the distributees’ share of the estate is under distraint and distribution is made without an estate executor, a permission from enforcement authorities is required before the assets can be distributed.
As an alternative to the agreement-based distribution or the estate and marital assets, any of the distributees may request that an estate executor is commissioned. The estate executor is an individual appointed by a court to carry out the distribution of marital assets and/or the estate if the distributees cannot settle the matter amongst themselves.
Deed of estate distribution
In order to fulfil legal requirements, a written deed must be drawn up of the distribution of marital assets or the estate. The deed must be signed by all distributees and the signatures verified by two competent witnesses.
In other words, the distributees of the death estate must themselves determine the distributed shares. As the bank, we cannot give an opinion on the distributed shares unless our legal services have been commissioned to carry out the distribution of marital assets and/or the estate.
Before any book-entry securities received from the estate can be entered to a distributee’s book-entry account, the legally valid deeds of distribution of marital assets and the estate must be submitted to us.
Power of attorney
In order to manage the estate’s affairs, it is recommended that the distributees agree on a power of attorney. In the power of attorney, the estate’s distributees decide together who is authorised to act on the estate’s behalf and in what scope. The power of attorney is effective once we have reviewed the estate inventory. A power of attorney is not required to prepare the estate inventory. The template for the power of attorney can be filled in after the estate inventory has been made.
As our customer, you can fill in the power of attorney for banking and insurance affairs in the op.fi service. If you are a customer at another bank, you can print out the template for the power of attorney. The template for the power of attorney is also enclosed in the letter of condolences. Please note that products of OP Life Assurance Company use a separate power of attorney template that must be used whenever the decedent had products by OP Life Assurance Company.
If you decide not to draw up a power of attorney, all distributees must be present when handling banking affairs for the estate.
If any of the distributees is our customer, we recommend authorising him/her with the power of attorney. In this way, access rights to accounts listed in the power of attorney will be added automatically when we review the estate inventory. Distributing funds in the accounts is more straightforward when the person authorised by the power of attorney is our customer.
Fill in the power of attorney and deliver it to any OP cooperative bank branch.
Submitting the estate inventory to tax authorities
Submit a copy of the estate inventory along with any appendices to the Finnish Tax Administration within one month of its completion. You can also submit the inventory electronically on the Tax Administration website.
Be sure to submit the estate inventory on time to the Tax Administration. Late submissions are subject to a penalty fee or a tax increase.
In most cases, the decision on inheritance tax is ready within six to 12 months after submitting the estate inventory to the Tax Administration.
Terminating the estate’s account and other services
After the estate inventory has been completed and reviewed and you have authorisation from all distributees of the estate, you can terminate the estate’s services by booking an appointment at any OP cooperative bank branch.
We recommend that you keep the account active until after the following tax refund season. If you terminate the estate’s account before the next tax refund, be sure to notify the Finnish Tax Administration to which account you want the refund to be paid.
Was the deceased our owner-customer? We will refund the member cooperative contribution in January after one full calendar year. If you terminate the account before we have refunded the member contribution, be sure to notify us of an alternative account.
Administering the affairs of a death estate while grieving the loss can be burdensome and stressful. Did you know that you do not have to do everything by yourself?
Make use of our legal services
We recommend using the services of a legal professional to carry out the estate inventory. You can also ask our legal experts to prepare the estate inventory. We charge a fee according to our list of service charges for the estate inventory. The fees will be primarily paid using the estate’s OP bonuses. Call us for more information.
Our legal experts can also provide assistance in distributing marital assets.
OP Koti is also here to help you
You can ask OP Koti for the home and real property appraisal needed for the estate inventory. We are Finland’s most trustworthy real estate agent and offer services in 170 localities.