Estate processing in Denmark
Where should switching take place?
An estate is transferred in Denmark when the deceased lived in Denmark at the time of death or had real estate or other assets in the country (this can be one or more bank accounts).
Common to all estates is that the estate must be dealt with by the probate court in the jurisdiction where the deceased was domiciled. If the deceased was domiciled abroad and owned real estate in Denmark, the Ministry of Justice will appoint the probate court that has competence to carry out probate.
Who should be contacted after the death?
If the death occurs in Denmark, the funeral director must be contacted and the details regarding the burial and opening of the will determined. The undertaker reports the death to the parish priest and the probate court.
As soon as the national register receives notification of the death, it passes on information to the deceased’s insurance company, bank, pension company, telephone company and the landlord (if the deceased lived for rent). The deceased’s PBS subscriptions must be canceled and any library books must be returned, excess medication must be returned to the pharmacy for disposal.
If the deceased lived for rent, the lease must not be terminated until the contents have been registered and distributed to the heirs or collected. If the property is to be valued, the lawyer dealing with the estate can contact the probate court with a view to appointing an appraiser who can value the property.
Company or business
If the deceased owned a business or enterprise, this must be included in the estate. The heirs must decide whether the deceased’s company should continue or should be sold. The deceased’s accountant must be contacted.
Meeting in the probate court – private or public probate?
In the event of death, the person or persons listed as next of kin in the death report are summoned to a meeting in the probate court. The meeting takes place approx. four weeks after the death. The lawyer can appear on behalf of the heirs.
If the estate has assets and there is agreement among the heirs on the treatment of the estate, the estate is treated as a private estate. The lawyer who handles estate processing requests that the estate be handed over for private succession.
In other situations, the probate court explains to the heirs the financial situation of the deceased and the treatment of the estate.
Opening status and inventory
The lawyer who handles estate processing must submit an opening status at the beginning of the estate processing and an estate statement at the end of the estate.
The opening status contains a statement of the deceased’s assets and liabilities per date of death, while the final statement contains an account of the distribution of inheritance among the heirs as well as a statement of the expenses incurred by the processing of the estate.
Both documents are sent to the Probate Court, which forwards the information to the tax authorities.
If the estate is to be treated as a private estate, the opening status must be forwarded to the Probate Court no later than 6 months after delivery of the estate.
Private probate must be completed no later than 15 months after the death. Otherwise, the estate must be treated as an executor’s estate.
Tax and charges
The estate is taxed at different rates depending on who inherits.
The spouse does not have to pay inheritance tax. Life heirs (ie children, grandchildren), parents and cohabitants for the last two years who are heirs according to a will must pay a fixed estate tax of 15%.
All others, ie. The deceased’s siblings, distant relatives and testamentary heirs must pay the fixed estate tax of 15% and an additional estate tax of 25%.