Skip to Content guides you through bureaucracy in the aftermath of the death of a close family member  

Publication date 16.5.2023 7.06
Press release

We sometimes face difficult situations in our lives. Death of a close family member is probably one of the hardest to bear. Even when overwhelmed by grief, you must make big decisions and manage a wide range of different matters. 

The new guide Death of a close family member takes you through the process step by step. In a clear and comprehensive manner. 

– Understanding the situation of the individuals in grief and helping them to cope was a key consideration in the process. “The guide is a comprehensive and well-structured source of information,” explains Anu Strömberg, Chief Specialist at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. 

What should I do first?

What will happen after the death of a close family member? Which documents do I need in the process? What is required if a close family member dies outside Finland? Who should be notified of the death? All these matters are covered in the guide.

The guide provides advice on funeral arrangements. 

– The guide contains information on the choices that you are expected to make, the cost of arranging the funeral and where you can get financial support for the arrangements. A clearly structured checklist is provided to make the process easier, explains Sari Koukkari from the Finnish Association of Funeral Services. 

A large number of practical matters such as bank accounts, invoices, mail, agreements and social media accounts must also be dealt with in the aftermath of the death. 

How should I organise the estate inventory and the distribution of inheritance? 

The guide contains instructions on how to organise the estate inventory, lists the information and documents needed and gives the names of the authorities to which the estate inventory deed must be submitted. 

The guide tells you what should be taken into account in the distribution of inheritance and how to deal with different types of estate ownerships. For situations where the deceased person had underage children, the guide provides instructions on safeguarding their interests. 

Where can I get help and support in grief?

The death of a close family member is one of the most difficult moments of your life. 

– When in grief, you should not hide yourself from your family and friends. Crisis and professional help as well as peer support is available. The guide tells how you can support grieving children and young people and where to get professional help for them, explains Sirpa Mynttinen from the Meeting a Bereaved Person project. 

Livelihood matters and applying for survivors’ pension, insurance compensations and allowances are also covered in the guide. 

Clear and comprehensive

The guide was produced by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency in cooperation with a wide range of experts and authorities. The knowledge of the best experts on matters that are particularly important for people in grief were used in the preparation of the publication. 

The following key organisations cooperated to produce the guide: The Finnish Bar Association, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the Finnish Centre for Pensions, Kela, the National Church Council, the National Land Survey of Finland, Nuoret Lesket ry (Young Widows and Widowers), the Ministry of Justice, the Police, the Finnish Association of Funeral Services, the Surevan kohtaaminen (Meeting a Bereaved Person) project, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau FINE, and the Finnish Tax Administration. 

Check out the guide: 

-    In English: Death of a close family member
-    In Finnish: Läheisen kuolema
-    In Swedish: När en närstående avlider