What are the national rules in case of intestate succession (no will has been set up)?

For any funds in the estate not divided between the heirs by will or by law (see below) , the law provides four classes of heirs. The first eligible class will receive all the funds not allocated by any other means. The funds are then split between any and all heirs in that class.      

  1. First class: The first class of heirs are the direct descendants of the deceased (children, grandchildren, etc.).
  2. Second class: The second class of heirs are the parents of the deceased. If one or both of the parents don’t survive the deceased, the inheritance then goes to their direct descendants (the deceased’s brother and sister, nieces and nephews).
  3. Third class: The third class of heirs are the grandparents of the deceased and their direct descendants (the deceased’s uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.).
  4. Fourth class: If there are no living heirs in any of the first three classes, the state will inherit the deceased.

When splitting the inheritance within a class it’s distributed equally among the family lineages. For example, if the deceased had three children they would each get one third of the inheritance. If the deceased had four children, but one of them passed away before the deceased and left two children, the deceased’s remaining three children would each get 2/8 of the inheritance, and the children of the descendant that passed away would split his share and get 1/8 each.

Similarly if there are no heirs in the first class and one of the parents of the deceased passed away before him. Half of the estate would go to the parent still alive, the other half would be split equally between the family lineages of the direct descendants to the parent that had passed away.

What are the national forced heirship rules, if any existing?

Norway has fairly strict rules on forced heirship. Under our laws the deceased’s children and spouse  are legally entitled to forced inheritance from the deceased.

The law states the deceased’s children are entitled to 2/3 (two thirds) of the deceased’s total estate, split equally among them.

For instance, if the estate left by the deceased is worth 90 000 euros in total, the law states that 60 000 is forced inheritance to the deceased’s children. Furthermore the children must divide whatever inheritance the get from the forced share equally. So in the example above, if there were three children, they would get 20 000 each.

This rule is not without exceptions. The deceased can, in his will, reduce his children’s inheritance to less than 2/3 of his total estate if his children get 1 000 000 NOK (roughly 130 000 euros) each. If the deceased’s total estate is worth 1 200 000 euros, then his/her children are by law entitled to 800 000 (2/3), unless the deceased states in his/her will that his/her children’s inheritance shall be reduced to 130 000 each. Assuming three children, the children’s total inheritance would then be 390 000 instead of 800 000.

The deceased’s children can fully or partially waive their right to inheritance. This can be done before the deceased passes away (enabling him/her to have more freedom when setting up their will) or after (in favor of another heir).

If a child of the deceased fully waives his right to inheritance the inheritance will instead pass to his children - if he has any. The inheritance then becomes forced inheritance to the deceased’s grandchildren. His grandchildren must then choose to fully waive their right to inheritance (and can only do so if they in turn don’t have children) if the deceased is to be able to bequeath the forced share to whomever he wishes.

A child of the deceased can partially waive his right to inheritance without the remaining part of his inheritance passing to his children. Effectively this would give the deceased a the option to bequeath a larger portion of his estate to someone else. Even if a descendent partially waives the inheritance he is legally entitled to (his share of 2/3s of the total estate or 130 000 euros) he must still get “just compensation”. If a descendant does not get “just compensation” for partially waiving his right to inheritance, then his children (if he has any) may legally claim his inheritance in his stead.

The spouse of the deceased is entitled to forced inheritance. The amount depends on what other heirs the deceased has. If the deceased has heirs in the first class of heirs (see above) the spouse is by law entitled to 1/4 (one fourth) of the total estate. This amount can be reduced by the deceased in his will. However, the spouse must be made aware that his/her share is being reduced before the deceased passes away. The amount can not be reduced to less than four times the norwegian public pension base rate (a base rate used as the basis for calculating the Norwegian state pension. The Public pension base rate is adjusted annually and is approved each year by the Norwegian parliament). Currently the Norwegian public pension base rate is 82 122 NOK (roughly 11 000 euros). The spouse’s inheritance can’t be reduced to less than about 44 000 euros if the deceased has heirs in the first class of heirs. If the spouse has not been made aware of a clause in the deceased’s will that reduces her inheritance from 1/4 to 4 times the Norwegian public pension base rate, the spouse can declare that clause null and void and claim 1/4 of the total estate.

If the deceased has heirs in the second class of heirs, but not the first, the spouse is entitled to half the estate. This can be reduced in the deceased’s will, but to no less than 6 times the norwegian public pension base rate, roughly 66 000. If the deceased has no heirs in the first or the second class, the spouse is entitled to the whole estate. This can also be reduced, but to no less than 6 times the Norwegian public pension base rate.

What are the national formal requirements when setting up a will (holographic will, will confirmed by witnesses, will confirmed by a notary public)?

By Norwegian law a will is defined in a broad sense as a document that designates the distribution of a persons estate after their death.

Anyone at the age of 18 or above are free to create a will.

By law a will must be a written document. There are no limitations as to how the will is written or what it is written on. The testator does not have to write up the will himself. Although there are some disputes about it in our legal theory, the consensus is that the testator does not have to determine the content of his will himself. The testator can thus leave it up to someone else to decide how his estate will be distributed.

The testator must sign the will. Two witnesses that have been approved by the testator must also sign the will. The testator must either sign the will in front of both witnesses as they sign the will or acknowledge his signature in front of the witnesses as they sign the will. The witnesses must be at least 18 years old and sound of mind. The witnesses must know that they are signing a will, but they need not know the contents of it. As such, it is possible to create a secret will.

Even though it is not a formal requirement, the law states that a will should note that the will has been done of free will and while the testator was sound of mind.

Is inheritance and/or gift tax in place or abolished?

If inheritance tax and/or gift tax is in place please specify the percentages of tax respectively the calculation of tax!

Norway taxes both inheritance and gifts from the testator to his heirs.

Gifts from the testator to his or his spouse’s closest relatives are taxed. As are gifts to anyone favored by the testator’s will at the time the gift is given. Direct descendants and spouses of all the aforementioned beneficiaries also have to pay taxes on gifts from the testator.  

Gifts and inheritance to the testators spouse is exempt from taxation.

Gifts or inheritance to anyone else is taxed as such:

HeirThe first 470 000 NOK (roughly 62 000 euros)The next 330 000 NOK (roughly 44 000 euros)Of the remaining
To each of the deceased children and parentsNo tax6 %10 %
To anyone elseNo tax8 %15 %


This information was compiled by Advokathuset Liljedahl DA.