Living in Finland

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Kuolema
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Death

If a person dies outside the care of a hospital, immediately notify the police or a doctor. The police will ensure that the cause of death is determined and convey information on it to the Population Register Centre (Väestörekisterikeskus). When a person dies in a hospital, information on the death is automatically relayed to the Population Register Centre, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and to pension institutions.

When a person close to you dies, you can seek help and support for the grief from health stations (terveysasema), family counselling centres (perheneuvola), the crisis service for foreigners of the Finnish Association for Mental Health (Suomen Mielenterveysseuran ulkomaalaisten kriisipalvelu), and from parishes. Help is available in Finnish, Swedish and, in most places, in English too. If necessary, an interpreter can be requested.

linkkie-mielenterveys.fi:
Information on crisis situations and griefFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Somali | Arabic | Kurdish

linkkiThe Finnish Association for Mental Health:
Crisis supportFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiSuomi.fi:
When a person close to you diesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinlex:
The Cemeteries ActFinnish | Swedish

Burial permits

In order to bury a deceased person, a death certificate (kuolintodistus) issued by a doctor is required. A death certificate can be obtained when the cause of death has been identified. In the event of a sudden or unclear death, accident or crime, an autopsy can be conducted to determine the cause of death. The police can also investigate the cause of death. Burial may sometimes be delayed as identifying the cause of death may take some time.

Funerals

You can receive help for organising a funeral from religious communities. For more information, contact your community. The website of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland contains information on the church’s services. It is also possible to hold a civil funeral, which does not include religious ceremonies. For more information on civil funerals, contact the Pro-Ceremonies (Pro-Seremoniat) service centres.

The services provided by funeral homes are subject to a fee. These establishments take care of the funeral arrangements, such as the transport of the deceased. Funeral homes also sell coffins and, upon agreement, handle all other funeral matters requested by the family. Information on funeral homes can be obtained, for example, from the Finnish Association of Funeral Homes (Suomen Hautaustoimistojen Liitto). Many funeral homes also provide their services in English.

linkkiPro-Ceremonies service centre:
Civil funeralFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland:
Information on church funeralsFinnish | Swedish | English

Graves

Nearly all Finnish cemeteries are owned by Evangelical Lutheran parishes, but a grave can be obtained even if you do not belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Graves are subject to a charge, and more information is available from the parishes. If the deceased person did not belong to a church and did not want a religious burial, such a ceremony will not be arranged. Deceased persons can be buried in coffins or cremated. Many municipalities also include cemeteries of other religions. For example, Orthodox, Islamic and Jewish cemeteries are available in the largest cities. In addition, many municipalities have grave sites for deceased persons who did not belong to any religion. Cremated ashes can also be sprinkled on land or into a body of water if this is permitted by the land owner.

Funeral allowances

Sometimes the deceased is entitled to funeral allowance (hautausavustus) due to his or her final employment or to membership of a trade union. To find out more, contact the employer or the trade union. It is possible to apply for financial assistance with the social office (sosiaalitoimisto) of the place of domicile if the deceased was without financial means.

Family pensions

Family pension (perhe-eläke) can be paid to the spouse or children of the deceased after his or her death. The purpose of the pension is to ensure the livelihood of the widow and children. Two family pension schemes are in place in Finland: Kela’s (the Social Insurance institution of Finland) family pension and the employment pension system’s family pension. If the deceased persons was employed or ran a business in Finland, the widow and children may be eligible for a family pension provided by the employment pension system. Both pensions can be applied for at Kela.

If a person has lived or worked in another country for an extended period of time before moving to Finland, the spouse or children may also be entitled to receive a family pension from this country.

linkkiKela:
Information on family pensionFinnish | Swedish | English

Wills

The law dictates who inherits the property of a deceased person. You can also influence to whom your property will be distributed. You can prepare a will (testamentti), i.e. a written clarification on who will inherit your property after your death. It is advisable to employ the services of a lawyer when preparing a will in order to ensure its legitimacy.

Estate inventory

Estate inventory (perunkirjoitus) is an event where a written account of the deceased person’s property, belongings and debts is prepared. The inventory must be held within three months of the death. A detailed family history must be compiled from the birth of the deceased to his or her death. Extracts from the population register (virkatodistus), which can be obtained from the local registry or parish office, are also required. In addition, information is required on the estate beneficiaries, i.e. the persons who will inherit the property of the deceased. An estate inventory document (perukirja) must be submitted to the tax office no later than one month from the reading of the will. More information on estate inventory is available from the Judicial System and Tax Administration.

The estate inventory is arranged by the person who is most intimately familiar with the deceased person’s property and debts. The document is signed by two persons who evaluate the property. It is advisable to employ a lawyer for the process. If the estate inventory is not completed in time, detrimental effects, such as raised inheritance tax, may result.

Inheritance tax

If you inherit the property of a deceased person, you are liable to pay inheritance tax (perintövero). The amount of the tax depends on the amount of the property and how close a relative you are. Tax does not need to be paid for inheritance totalling less than €20,000.

linkkiTax Administration:
Information on estate inventoryFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiTax Administration:
Information on inheritance taxFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiTax Administration:
Information for the loved ones of the deceasedFinnish | Swedish