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Brief overview of the Norwegian inheritance law

  1. Who inherits if there is no written will?
    1. Spouse
    2. Child
    3. Grandchildren and great grandchildren
    4. Mother, father, siblings or their descendants
    5. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins
    6. The state
  2. How much of the estate may be disposed of by will?
  3. Inheritance taxes
  4. How can NorJus help?

1 Who inherits if there is no written will?

A Spouse

If the deceased was married, the deceased’s share (usually half) of the community property and any separate property of the deceased will constitute the inheritance to be distributed.
If the deceased had children, grandchildren or great grandchildren, the spouse will receive a fourth (as of this time, at least NOK 251,000) of this estate. (There is a bit more on minimum inheritance in section 2.)
If the closest relatives of the deceased were parents, siblings or their descendants, the spouse will inherit half (or, as of this time, at least NOK 377,000, see the section on testamentary inheritance).
Otherwise, the spouse will inherit everything.
Most often, the spouse will retain an undivided life estate in marital property, which will normally not be distributed until the surviving spouse dies. This also means that the surviving spouse does not inherit from the deceased spouse. If the deceased had any children from another relationship, such children may elect not to allow the surviving spouse to retain that portion of the deceased’s estate they are to inherit. Such children may, thus, claim their share of the inheritance to be paid from the estate.

B Children

If the deceased had children, they will usually inherit everything the deceased leaves behind, after the spouse of the deceased, if any, has received his or her distribution.

C Grandchildren, great grandchildren

will inherit, if the children of the deceased are dead or renounce their inheritance. Such grandchildren or great grandchildren will receive that portion of the estate that their parents would have received.

D The mother, father, siblings or their descendants

If the deceased was married and childless, they shall inherit the remainder of the deceased’s estate, after the spouse of the deceased has received his or her distribution -- usually, half of the deceased’s share of the community property and half of any separate property of the deceased. If the deceased was unmarried and childless, they inherit everything. If the deceased has a child, grandchild or great grandchild, the mother, father, sibling or the descendant of such will inherit nothing.

E Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins

inherit only if the deceased was unmarried, childless and had no other close relatives of the type mentioned above. In that case, each set of grandparents or line of grandparents will receive half of the inheritance.

F The state

If the deceased had no heirs as provided above and no a written will, the State will inherit everything.

2 How much of the estate may one dispose of in a will?

As a starting point, a testator may dispose of everything he or she wants by will -- with the important exception that the testator may not disinherit his or her spouse or children.

Children may claim a minimum inheritance of 2/3 of what the parents leave behind but not more than a maximum of NOK 1 million for each child of each parent.

The widow/widower may claim a minimum inheritance in an amount corresponding to 4 times the so-called base rate (G) provided by the Norwegian national insurance if the spouse has offspring. This, then, amounts to NOK 281,000. If the spouse has no offspring, the minimum inheritance is 6G -- that is, approximately NOK 421,000. If the deceased spouse leaves behind less than the minimum inheritance, the widow/widower will inherit everything.

If the spouses had community property, the widow/widower will normally be entitled to retain an undivided life estate in such property. Such right is limited, if the testator had children from another relationship.

3 Inheritance tax

From 2009 until 2013, the main rules for the calculation of inheritance tax are set forth below. From 1 January 2014, there is no inheritance tax in Norway.

You may calculate your inheritance tax here.

Range in NOK 0-470,000 470,000-800,000 Over 800,000
Inheritance from mother or father 0 6% 10%
Inheritance from spouse* 0 0 0
Inheritance from others 0 8% 15%


* Persons who live together and have done so for at least two years, or have or have had a child together or persons who live together and have previously been married to each other are included in the same category as spouses. Thus, they do not pay inheritance tax. Other persons who live together must pay full inheritance tax pursuant to the highest rate.
Please note that unregistered persons who live together usually only inherit from one another, if they have written a will. This also applies to persons who live together and have had a child together or have previously been married to each other.

Example:

A grandchild inherits NOK 2 mill from his or her grandparents:
With respect to inheritance tax, the inheritance is deemed to come from two persons (from each of the grandparents). The inheritance from each of them is, then, NOK 1 mill. The tax is calculated in the following manner:

Range in NOK Tax in % Tax in NOK
0-470,000 0 0
470,000-800,000 8% 26,400
800,000-1,000,000 15% 30,000
Total inheritance tax from each of the grandparents   56,400
Total inheritance tax from both grandparents   112,800


If the deceased leaves behind a business that operates outside of Norway or real property outside of Norway, the inheritance tax is paid in the country in which the business or property is located and not in Norway.

Norway has entered into agreements with the other Scandinavian countries and with Switzerland and the United States in order to avoid double taxation of inheritance.
Norway has not entered into agreements with other countries.

4 How can NorJus help?

  • With parts of the administration of the decedent’s estate – for example, we can assist with the accounting of the decedent’s estate, the interpretation of the will, the distribution of the inheritance, the notification to the tax authorities, the preparation of advance tax returns, the calculation of optimal taxes, etc.
  • Complete administration of the decedent’s estate. NorJus can take of everything. You do not have to worry about a thing.
  • Represent you as an heir during probate in Norway.
  • Contact Norwegian authorities in connection with inheritance and the administration of the decedent’s estate in Norway.
  • Other questions with respect to inheritance law

About the law firm of NorJus

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Fax 22 44 54 60
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