Acceptance or rejection of inheritance in Poland


Acceptance or rejection of inheritance in Poland

Acceptance of inheritance in Poland or rejection of inheritance in Poland very important element in the proceedings pertaining to establishing the acquisition of the inheritance in Poland. This is particularly relevant if the inheritance is burdened with succession debts exceeding its added value or when the heir does not possess enough knowledge in regards to the estate inventory and is unable to ascertain if such debts exist.

Generally speaking, after learning of the testator's death, the heir has 4 possibilities to act:

1) to declare simple acceptance of inheritance (direct acceptance of Polish inheritance)
2) to declare acceptance of inheritance with the benefit of an inventory (limited acceptance of Polish inheritance)
3) to declare rejection of acceptance of inheritance (rejection of Polish inheritance)
4) not to declare anything (no actions towards Polish inheritance)

Simple acceptance of inheritance in Poland

Such a declaration creates the heir's liability for estate debts without limitations. It means that the value of succession debts the heir is obliged to pay off may be several times higher than the benefits received. 

Acceptance of Polish inheritance with the benefit of an inventory

In this case the heir's responsibility for succession debts are limited to the value of the active assets declared in the inventory list. It does not mean that the possibility of enforcement of debt claims from the heir is limited solely to the things inherited, it is possible to assert claims from the heir's whole estate if limited to the above mentioned value. If before submitting a declaration the inventory list was not made, the court will issue an order to create it. In case when at least one of the heirs signed the above mentioned declaration, the heirs that did not sign any declarations will be treated as if they had signed the declaration accepting inheritance with the benefit of an inventory.

Rejection of inheritance in Poland

In this case the heir rejecting the inheritance is treated as if he did not survive until the day of the opening of the inheritance. It is particularly relevant in the further proceedings because it implies the necessity of submitting the appropriate declarations by the persons in the circle of his or her statutory heirs. It is worth noticing that in the Polish succession law there is no possibility of rejecting the inheritance to the benefit of the person appointed by the person rejecting the estate.  

Non-provision of the declaration within the deadline

The absence of provision of the heir's declaration carries the same legal consequences as the simple acceptance of inheritance. However, if the heir is a legal person or a natural person lacking full capacity for legal acts or if there are grounds for full legal incapacitation of the person, non-provision of the declaration carries the same legal consequences as the acceptance of inheritance with the benefit of an inventory.

Deadline to accept or reject inheritance in Poland

As per Polish Inheritance Law the general declaration pertaining to possibilities 1-3 (above) must be submitted within 6 months from the day on which the heir has learnt about his or her title to inherit (or more commonly from the time the heir learnt of the testator's death). In case when the term is not observed, the declaration cannot be submitted anymore and we deal with the situation from possibility 2 (automatic acceptance with the benefit of an inventory).The six-month term laid down in the article 1015 Polish Civil Code, is mandatory and cannot be restored. 


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