Inheritance law

Can a creditor of an heir contest the rejection of an inheritance?

You have rejected an inheritance and you are afraid that your creditors will turn to you? Contact our Law Firm – we will help you!

Inheritance rejection in Poland by an heir may be used to avoid payment of his debts. It is not the inheritance debts, but the debts of the heir himself. The heir knows that the inheritance may be seized by his own creditors and decides to reject the inheritance so that it does not go to the creditors but to increase the shares of the other heirs. However, it is important to remember that if the creditors of the heir become aware of the rejection of the inheritance, they may contest it as an action that was taken in order to prevent the satisfaction of their claims.

You should therefore consider all the pros and cons before rejecting the inheritance, which is often not such an easy thing to do. Our inheritance lawyers in Poland will help you choose the best option to protect your interests. Contact our law firm: [email protected].

How can a creditor request that the rejection of the inheritance to be declared ineffective?

As per Inheritance Law in Poland, if an heir has rejected an inheritance to the detriment of his creditors, each of the creditors whose claim existed at the time of the rejection of the inheritance may request that the rejection of the inheritance be declared ineffective in relation to him. This is a special case of an actio Pauliana complaint, an action in which a creditor contests a legal action of his debtor as made in order to prevent his claims from being satisfied. Contesting the rejection of inheritance is possible only with regard to claims that existed at the moment of the heir’s rejection of the inheritance; it does not apply to claims arising later.

The possibility for creditors to contest the rejection of the inheritance is limited in time. They can challenge this action within 6 months from the moment they have found out about the rejection of the inheritance, but no later than within 3 years from the rejection of the inheritance. Therefore, it is not until three years after the rejection of the inheritance that the possibility of challenging this action ceases.

In the course of legal proceedings initiated by a creditor, the assistance of a lawyer who can represent the heir throughout the case, including at the pre-court stage, may become necessary.

Can a testator protect an indebted heir from creditors?

A testator who is aware that one of his legal heirs has many debts may make a will in which he omits this heir and appoints other persons to the entire estate. The creditors of the heir can only contest the rejection of the inheritance made by the heir (debtor), but they do not have the possibility to challenge the will of the testator expressed in the will.

Another option for securing the inheritance from the creditors of a statutory heir is to enter into an agreement with him to renounce the inheritance. The creditors of the heir are not able to challenge such an agreement by way of an action Pauliana complaint.

All information regarding the issues described above can be clarified by our lawyers specializing in Polish inheritance law.

Author team leader DKP Legal Marta Oleśkowska
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