Return PolishForums LIVE   /   Archives [3]
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2010-2019 / Law  % width 31

A general legal question about inheritance in Poland - debts

22 Jan 2014 /  #1
A Polish friend tried to explain to me that when a parent dies - say, the only parent or remaining parent - the child* (or children) not only inherit whatever assets might have belonged to said parent but also become liable for any debts.

I said, "What if the parent had a gambling problem and left a debt that was greater than the inheritance?"

My friend said that under Polish law, the child would be liable for paying off the debt.

Is this true?

*Assuming adult child, not a minor.
22 Jan 2014 /  #2
My friend said that under Polish law, the child would be liable for paying off the debt.

The child is always asked whether he/she accepts the legacy in full. So if the debts are greater then the total value of the properties and money then they can always reject it.

22 Jan 2014 /  #3
and you'd have to inform the court when rejecting inheritance within 6 months, if not you're taking legacy in full.
OP ethernautrix  
22 Jan 2014 /  #4
Thank you for your answers. It's interesting.

What happens if the heir rejects the entire legacy?

What happens if the heir takes no action at all?
22 Jan 2014 /  #5

1. not liable for debts, no right to inherit assets
2. liable for debts and can inherit assets
OP ethernautrix  
22 Jan 2014 /  #6
Thank you, Kowalski.

I'm glad I didn't bet on knowing the answer.
4 Feb 2014 /  #7
what happens if you do not respond within the six month period if you accept or reject what happens than?
4 Feb 2014 /  #8
if you're a minor (or one of the succesors is), you inherit the debts but only to the extent of assets left by the devisor.

in other case you inherit debts without limitation
4 Feb 2014 /  #9
Ok, let us say that a person (whether a minor or not) accepts whatever debts that are included with the inheritance, can arrangements be made to work off the debt? For example if the debt is more than 10-15 thousand zlotych and the person is unable to pay that off in 1 installment.
4 Feb 2014 /  #10
Debt would usually be in a collection agency and they wouldn't accept anything else but money. They would usually agree to be paid off by some monthly installments.
4 Feb 2014 /  #11
That is what i was thinking of. While I am not in this position, the monthly payments, if made affordable, can be spread out over a decent time frame to make it easy enough to live with.
12 Jun 2014 /  #12
Merged: Debt inheritance - how does it exactly work?

I have a question regarding debt inheritance. How does it exactly work? Actually here's our situation. My in laws own a house and they are "wspolwlasciciel" with another family on the same property. The problem is that the other owner has taken on some debt, which is still getting paid for, but we know he has financial problems. So in case of a default would my in laws be responsible for the loan/debt and pay it off? My in laws are already an older couple, if they were to pass away would my wife inherit this debt? Does anyone know the details how this law works in Poland?
12 Jun 2014 /  #13
Well, that depends if:
one- they were the guarantee
two- the property is the bank's "safety deposit"
three- did your in laws, if they are part of it, have insurence
If they didn't sign anything it's doubtful they will be any part of it. The worse case scenario is the property will be taken over by the bank and that's not too likely. However all depends on the circumstances. And the
13 Jun 2014 /  #14
My in laws are already an older couple, if they were to pass away would my wife inherit this debt?

She would only assume the debt if she accepted the inheritance. She could just reject her share of the inheritance, which means rejecting all the debt and all the assets.
13 Jun 2014 /  #15
Who are the "other family" and how are they connected? Surely that can have an impact ... As could a lender's right to foreclose and seize the property - the legal details need to be checked. Worst case scenario I can see is that the lender forces a sale at below market value and your in-laws lose their home AND some of their money, UNLESS the other family are related and/or there is paperwork making your in-laws responsible for the whole debt, in which case they could lose their home and ALL the money they have ted up in it.

Don't forget that debt inheritance is not SO far removed from the UK principle of net estate - you only get the net value after all debts of the deceased have been settled. The law here, in allowing you to disclaim inheritance, at least allows you to walk away
13 Jun 2014 /  #16
Thanks all for responding. I'm certain that my in laws haven't signed any paperwork. The loan was taken out by my father's in law nephew. But the fact that my in laws are co-owners or "wspolwlasciciel" worries me greatly.
14 Jul 2014 /  #17
My grandfather resided in poland. He is polish but has dual nationality as he lived and worked in the UK for over 40 years. He passed away 2 weeks ago and left his apartment to me in his will. This was authorised by a notary. The property is worth approx £35k . As he does not want any of his children to have any claim on it, he had the notary write a letter of 'donation' to me. What are the laws if I were to rent or pref.sell the apartment? I am british and live and work here so completely clueless to how it works.

My grandfather seemed to think if I were to not sell for 5 years then I would avoid the 20% inheritance tax and his children would not be entitled to anything. I really dont want to rent it out for 5 years!
5 Mar 2015 /  #18
Depends how the notary act was worded, but it may be that whether you sell or not, you'll still have to pay a 'zachowek' to your aunts/uncles - a share of what they would have got if the Polish estate had been divided equally. You need some proper legal advice.
29 Jun 2015 /  #19
Hi i have a question?
My cousin From Poland past away few months away and he left sone debt- 60.000 zł.
Now i received mail that i inherited that debt!! His Family and my Father in Poland sign something so he does not get the debt. I live in Canada and i don't even know my cousin , what should i do about the debt if I don want it? Please help.

24 Aug 2015 /  #20
Merged: inheritance debt nightmare

Anyone out there have a similar problem? My polish father in law passed away recently. According to polish law, my children now need to go before a notary public in Poland and declare that they reject the estate, accept the estate or accept the estate with limited liability. Mother in law is saying that there is only debt and they need to reject the estate so they do not not incur the debt. We live in the US and it's not possible to just fly to Poland. They are both in university and have commitments. Now, has anyone from the US just gone to the Polish consulate here and signed a statement and then sent that to the court in Poland? My Polish husband says that that is not a good idea as it will open them up to rejection by the Polish court or his family. If it has been more than 6 months-they will automatically inherit the debt.

Also, do the grandchildren have 6 months to assume or reject the debt after the death of their grandfather or after their father rejects the debt.
Pol attorney  
25 Aug 2015 /  #21
In most cases, a Polish consulate office in every foreign country is legally authorized to perform all the functions and duties of the notary public, so in fact it may be possible to accept or reject the inheritance in the consulate without actually traveling all the way to Poland.

Also the grandchildren and other family relatives may incur the debt if they don't reject the estate within 6 months.

We have a law firm in Poland and we have specialised in Polish inheritance law, so we would be able to help you with this.

Besides there were some changes in Polish inheritance law recently, so much depends on the date when your father in law passed away.

if you are interested, send me a private message on this forum and we shall proceed with your case.
28 Jan 2016 /  #22
Merged: Rejecting inheritance of a debt whilst living in the UK

Hi all,

Hoping that there is someone out there that may be able to offer some advice.

I am a UK born citizen and married to my wife who moved here from Poland nearly ten years ago.

We recently learnt that her uncle had passed away, and has subsequently left some considerable debts.

We understand that at some point, as relatives reject the inheritance of these debts, my wife and our children may become liable for them, and in turn will need to reject the debts themselves.

The difficulty in this arises in the fact we live in the UK.

Has anyone had any experience of a similar situation? And any advice as to what we need to do to sort this (hopefully without having to make a trip to Poland)?

Looking forward to any advice offered.
28 Jan 2016 /  #23
Have a look at this thread, you may find some answers here :-
Pol attorney  
29 Jan 2016 /  #24
Looking forward to any advice offered.


As a lawyer, I can give you the following piece of advice: if your wife's uncle passed away before Oct. 2015, then it will be ABSOLUTELY necessary to reject the estate /inheritance no later than 6 months after the unle's death. If your wife doesn't do it in Polish Court, the bank may (and most probably will) collect all the debts from your wife and other family relatives. This is in fact a very serious issue.

Your wife doesn't have to initiate the legal process in Court on her own and doesn't have to go to Poland personally to participate in the Court hearings, unless the court decides otherwise. If she hires a lawyer in Poland, he will do the whole job on his own.

I am a lawyer based in Poland, so I might be able to help you with this.
If you are still interested, you can send me a private message on this forum, and we might be able to proceed with your case.
29 Jan 2016 /  #25
"I am a lawyer based in Poland, so I might be able to help you with this" Kerrching there goes a few thousand zloty.
29 Jan 2016 /  #26
dolnyslask, you might be from England but with comments like that you are certainly fitting in well with the typical lower/non-income village Pole. Begrudge someone else a living and often prefer to see his neighbour do badly even if his neighbours success or failure has no direct effect on his way of life.

The matter is question is very serious and needs to be dealt with within 6 months of death or the full force of any debts will have to be taken on, fullstop.
29 Jan 2016 /  #27
Polishinvestor, what a silly hillbilly you are, " neighbour do badly even if his neighbours success or failure has no direct effect on his way of life" .The op does not need a high charging high flying lawyer to deal with this, all that needs to be done is to get a registered translator to fill out a bog standard form them post it to the court, job done don't need highgh flying money grabbing yuppie.

To be more specific and to aid the op I am re-posting an earlier post from this very forum.

I would like to thank the guest for the information and for Tobiasz I will tell you what happened.

Thankfully the court concerned in this case was very understanding and it became a lot easier than I expected.

First of all we downloaded a template letter from the internet so my wife could say that she did not want the inheritance. (it was all debt).

Then we went to the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, on the advice of the court in Poland. The letter we downloaded wasn't really much use because

the legal expert at the consulate edited this massively and then my wife wrote the fresh letter at the consulate and it was witnessed and signed for.

My wife then sent the letter to the court - but we also sent exactly the same letter from my 5 year old daughter at the same time.

My wife was in constant contact with the court via telephone over the issue and in the end they simply sent two letters - one to my wife and one to my daughter

acknowledging that they had not accepted the inheritance.

We then had to send the two envelopes sent from the court back to them acknowledging that we had received them.

The court also confirmed on the telephone that the issue was closed.

Get a translator to knock up a letter, you only have to state that you do not accept the debt, If you speak / write polish then you can do this yourself.
30 Jan 2016 /  #28
Well if you dont know this to be true you arent living in a proper polish village my friend. Maybe one specially reared for foreigners. Where do you think sprzedal go za 10zl comes from!
30 Jan 2016 /  #29
"I am a lawyer based in Poland, so I might be able to help you with this" Kerrching there goes a few thousand zloty.

Never a truer word spoken. I am reliably informed that a great many of the tasteless (huge) houses in the Katowice suburbs were built for lawyers. The Polish political transition and legislative debate were a dream come true for these non-producers. The only time that I engaged a lawyer on a business matter I was advised that my case had no legal framework, and the case never came to court, and I was charged an arm and half a leg just for plain paperwork.
26 Jul 2017 /  #30

Polish inheritance - new debts

My Polish wife's father died 7 years ago (before we were married) and she and her mother accepted his inheritance (and debts). Recently 'new' debts of his have arisen - incurred when he was alive but for which no claim was made by debt collection agency until now, and these include significant interest charges.

Can anyone advise on whether these debts (which originated from 2009) are actually enforceable, both based on age and the fact that my wife and her mother were never made aware of the debt (and interest it was incurring) until 8 years after the debt and 7 years after her father died?

Many thanks in advance for any advice.

Archives - 2010-2019 / Law / A general legal question about inheritance in Poland - debtsArchived