Donations, Inheritance and Propertyt in the Nordic and Western World from Late Antiquity until Today. 2017, 309-324
The property relations and the intimate relations between the spouses in a marriage have always made it necessary to specifically regulate and restrict transactions between the spouses and transactions between the spouses and third parties.
Deferred community property is the default marital property system in all the Nordic countries. In this system, the total assets of the spouses are divided equally after deductions have been made for debts. It is referred to as deferred community property because the community appears only when the marriage relationship is dissolved by death or marriage breakdown. The term does not indicate actual coownership of property, as some other community property regimes do, and as the community of property regime in the Nordic countries did until the 1920s. Within a marriage, deferred community property does not, as a main rule, limit the right of a spouse to dispose of what he or she owns or later acquires.
Separate property, on the other hand, is not divided upon dissolution of marriage. In the Nordic countries separate property is established either through an agreement (marriage contract6) between the spouses or it is set as a condition to a gift or a testamentary disposition. As a rule, such a condition must be established at the latest when the gift is transmitted to the beneficiary.
The Nordic marriage property regime of deferred community of property has necessitated regulation of how a third party can prevent a gift or inheritance from him or her from becoming a part of the community property and thus being shared between the spouses upon termination of the marriage. Donors and testators – especially donors or testators who are close family to one of the spouses – often wish to exclude the gift or inheritance from the community property.