Can the surviving spouse claim maintenance from the heirs?

Verified 20 June 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Your husband is dead and you're in need? You can, under conditions, request support from heirs of his estate. If they refuse to give it to you, you can go to court. Maintenance is paid from the estate of the deceased.

You must meet the following 3 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

The financial need is not the same as maintaining your standard of living. You have to justify real financial hardship.


if the financial need occurs after death, you cannot get support.

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

You must therefore claim maintenance from the heirs of the deceased.

Support may be:

  • re-evaluated periodically
  • revised, if your resources vary upwards and downwards
  • deleted, if the requirement status no longer exists.

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

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

In case undivided with the heirs, the deadline is extended until the estate's assets are shared.

You can take your place of residence to the court. The court will decide whether or not to award you a pension and will set the amount.

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