Inheritance Taxation Discriminatory for Rainbow Families

Persons in sexually marginalised groups inherit less than a half of the majority’s average inheritance. Less than one fourth of people belonging to sexually marginalised groups have written a will and only seven percent have done inheritance tax planning. These are some principal findings from an international survey research carried out in the University of Helsinki.

Antu Sorainen, academy research fellow at Gender Studies and responsible for the research, and Urpo Kangas, professor in civil law, agree that the findings challenge Finland’s current legislation.

– There are grounds to amend for instance the inheritance legislation, since it discriminates many children in rainbow families. Inheritance taxation and norms of blood-kin and marital reproduction in the inheritance legislation can position children very differently in one family.

Internationally groundbreaking study

The online survey Inheritance and will writing in sexually marginalised groups was launched on the Internet in six languages: Finnish, English, Russian, Swedish, Romanian and Hungarian. It is the first ever extensive study on the subject.

It adds important empirical data about real-life queer care and support relations in the discussion of lesbian and gay rights in different countries in the EU.

Biggest queer inheritances in Helsinki

The study revealed that more than 63 percent of LGBT people consider that they do not know enough about the inheritance legislation to write a will or do other preparatory succession arrangements. Three of ten gay men but only two of ten lesbians have written a will.

A median “queer inheritance” in Finland is 30 000 euros while an average inheritance in Finland was about 80 000 euros in 2015. Biggest queer inheritances were received in Helsinki, according to the survey.

Almost one tenth of people in sexually marginalized groups have been involved in a fight about inheritance. In most cases these fights have been with siblings or other relatives, not parents.

Over thousand responses

The research was implemented by Academy Research Fellow, Dr. Antu Sorainen as a part of Wills and Inheritance Practices in Sexually Marginalised Groups research project. It was financed by the Academy of Finland and the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies at the University of Helsinki, Gender Studies Discipline with the assistance of M.Soc.Sci Anna Heinonen

The study resulted in over thousand respondents of whom a half were from Finland.

Dr. Sorainen has also collected a large database of personal interviews on family wealth histories and succession among LGBTQ people.


“Inheritance and will writing in sexually marginalised groups” research project’s web page

Research project's Facebook group

Blog “Why and how to study queer inheritance and will-writing?”

Contact information

Academy Research Fellow, docent Antu Sorainen, tel: +358 44 533 1984, e-mail