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Can the surviving spouse claim maintenance from the heirs?

Verified 23 June 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Yes, if he is in need, the surviving spouse can apply for support from the heirs. If the latter refuse to grant it, the surviving spouse may bring the matter before the court. Maintenance is paid from the estate of the deceased.

The surviving spouse must meet the following three conditions:

  • Be married to the deceased at the time of death (or separated from the deceased but not divorced)
  • Being in need at the time of death
  • Prove your financial situation


if the surviving spouse's need occurs after death, he or she cannot obtain support.

The deadline for applying for the pension is 1 year from the date of death.

If the heirs stop paying the maintenance due to the surviving spouse, the request to resume the payment must be made within 1 year after the interruption.

In case undivided with the heirs, the period is extended until the assets of the estate are shared.

Maintenance is paid from the estate. It is due by all heirs apart from their personal property.

The surviving spouse must therefore claim maintenance from the heirs of the deceased.

If the heirs refuse, the surviving spouse can go to court. The court will decide whether to award a pension and how much.

Who shall I contact

Maintenance can be reassessed periodically. It may also be revised if the recipient's resources vary upwards and downwards. Finally, the pension may be abolished if the state of need no longer exists.

Who can help me?

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