Stieg Larsson Tragic Legacy Would Not Occur Under BC Estate Laws

Many of us have now heard the story about how the author of the famous trilogy, (” The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”)  suddenly died prior his publication and financial success.

The truly shocking part of the story is that his common-law spouse of 32 years did not inherit his estate, which instead went to his two biological relatives being his father and younger brother.

This would not occur in British Columbia under the provisions of the Estate Administration act under which his entire estate would have gone to his surviving spouse, Ms. Gabrielsson.

This excerpt is taken from a recent  newspaper article on the subject :


“Blood Trumps Love


Gabrielsson and Larsson weren’t just a couple, but also a leftist action group. First they were Maoists and then Trotskyists, voicing their criticism of the Swedish welfare state from a leftist point of view. She was an architect, while he worked for a news agency. They managed to make ends meet, and had no children. Like many Swedes of their generation, they were anti-bourgeois.

In their social circle, while couples may have been monogamous, they didn’t marry. But under Swedish law, a member of an unmarried couple doesn’t inherit anything from his or her deceased partner, no matter how long the couple was together. Blood trumps love, unless a will exists, but Larsson hadn’t written one. For that reason, the rapidly growing proceeds from the sale of the books and the film rights went to two biological relatives, Larsson’s father Erland (his mother Vivianne is dead) and his younger brother Joakim. “The money went to us, but we didn’t ask for it,” says Erland Larsson, 76. They could have turned down the inheritance, but that wasn’t what they wanted.

The father and the brother still live in northern Sweden, in a city called Umea. The father occasionally visited his son in Stockholm and tried to convince him to get married, but the son only laughed at his father’s suggestion. The brothers, Stieg and Joakim, were not close and rarely saw each other.

After Larsson’s death, when his novels suddenly became such a huge success, the widow who isn’t a widow under the law sat down with Erland and Joakim Larsson to discuss what should happen next. An agreement seemed possible. But then attorneys took over the case, and an inheritance war ensued — one in which the Stieg Larsson fan community has participated extensively.

Two camps have since formed in Sweden: the (primarily female) Eva camp, with its own website (, and the (primarily male) Larsson camp (” is actually surprised that the matter has developed into two antagonistic groups.

To it would appear that the supposedly more equitable and modern  socialist state that Sweden purported to have , complete with paternal child care, has an incredible gaping hole in its  estate laws when it comes to the complete lack of inheritance rights by long time common-law spouses.

Thankfully this would no longer occur in British Columbia

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