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Legal questions about dividing a property in Poland


Doughnuts 3 | 4  
22 Oct 2010 /  #1
Hello
I have a few questions that I would be very gratefull to anybody for any assistance they might be able to give.
I Have a polish wife and like many polish familys, her family have a large unfinished house that her parents have decided to split amongst their 3 children. There are actually 2 houses on the site, a 2 bed finished house (parents) and an unfinished 6 bedroom "extension" garage/basement, 2 floors and loft. It is the extension that has been decided to be split up. We were over there last week and whent to the notariusz who said the only way it could be divided would be for the total estate to be split and then for an architect and solicitor to draw up papers as to who was entitled to each part of the house and land.

Within a normal family enviroment this would not have botherd me and I would have happily sank 10k into renovating what will be my wifes portion of the extension, the ground floor. However her parents are not the most stabile and I am worrying that the 1/4 of the estate that my wife is signed for but not determined will allow her parents to continually change the goal posts. My 1st question being does the allocation of the estate follow this process or has my wife and family been led down the garden path as the notariusz cost 2000zl.

The next question I have is at the moment the estate is split into 1/4s with each parent having 1/4 and my wife and her younger brother having a 1/4 each. The eldest son who for personal reasons has not been allocated anything at this time but with a promise that on the parents passing he will get their 1/2. As my wife does not have a great relationship with her brother does he have any legal grounding to challenge her and her brothers 1/4 allocation or at the parents death would their 1/2 have to be split among the 3 children?

On a side note as the ground floor of the house is to be a holiday flat for my wife and our family are there any precautions I should be aware of that would not necessarily apply in the UK. The most obvious 1 I can think of is freezing pipes in the winter for which I will start a new thread about. But there may be some other legal issues I am not aware of with regard to being responsible for property in Poland.

Thanks in advance for any help.
convex 20 | 3928  
22 Oct 2010 /  #2
Why not just agree on a price and buy out the other family members (the parents can keep it in a savings account or something)? That will probably be the cheaper and less stressful route in the long run.
Bzibzioh  
22 Oct 2010 /  #3
As my wife does not have a great relationship with her brother does he have any legal grounding to challenge her and her brothers 1/4 allocation or at the parents death would their 1/2 have to be split among the 3 children?

Yes, its called zachowek (or zachówek)
Art. 991 He is entitled to half of what he would get from an equal divide between siblings. Unless parents disinherit him in their testament (will) so he will get nothing.
OP Doughnuts 3 | 4  
22 Oct 2010 /  #4
I am afraid that the property as a whole can not be bought from my wifes parents. In any case for 300000zl I can by a 5 bed farmhouse with out buildings. The intention is to have a small flat close to her parents that would avoid our family having to stay in the same living space as her parents. As I am sure most on here are aware Poland has a greater problem with alcohol than the UK.
Wroclaw Boy  
22 Oct 2010 /  #5
As my wife does not have a great relationship with her brother does he have any legal grounding to challenge her and her brothers 1/4 allocation or at the parents death would their 1/2 have to be split among the 3 children?

Unless otherwise arranged when one parent dies the 50% share will be divided between the remaining immediate family members in this case the surviving parent and the three children, when the remaining parent dies that share will be equally passed on to the three children.
terri 1 | 1661  
22 Oct 2010 /  #6
1. First - the eldest son (who has not been allocated anything) HAS A RIGHT to the parents estate, just like your wife has. The parents estate would have to be split into 3.

2. The main thing to establish is that your wife WILL actually OWN the ground floor and not just a 1/4 of the whole house. Also be aware of how the others (those living above) will gain entry into the building, will they have to go through your area- what happens when they sell to outsiders?.

3. How are the media meters connected - everybody pays for their own usage? What about water? Ground rent? Rubbish collection?
4. Also remember the TAX implication if the parents sign over the house now or what happens after their death. You need to get this established, otherwise you will pay HEAVY tax on this.

5. Freezing pipes, faulty electrics etc - are just cosmetics. Get a LEGAL title to the exact area of the floor first and ask about TAX implications.

6. Make sure that the deeds are CLEAN - ie there are no outstanding debts against the house/extension. If there are debts against the property, the other children do not have to ACCEPT their inheritance and then your wife will have to pay for everything.

7. Make sure that the parents OWN the property and that THEIR names are on the deeds.
8. Also ESTABLISH if they had PLANNING permission to build the extension - if not - you are storing trouble for yourself as someone can ask you to take this extension down.
OP Doughnuts 3 | 4  
22 Oct 2010 /  #7
Would this still apply as the eldest is not the fathers biological son and although I do not believe any formal adoption process was undertaken he does have my wifes fathers surname?
Bzibzioh  
22 Oct 2010 /  #8
If he does it means there were some legalities involved. Generally speaking the best solution it would be for your wife's parents to have a solid last will to sort those things out regarding the house. And the cheapest. Insist on this.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
22 Oct 2010 /  #9
It sounds like the best advice here is simply to stay well clear of this whole situation. It hardly sounds like it's worth the effort - if you want somewhere to stay, buy a static caravan.
inkrakow  
22 Oct 2010 /  #10
I don't think your notary misadvised you. In order for your wife to own a specific part of the property, it has to be defined, so you need a 'projekt wordrebnienia lokalu' - basically a document from a licensed architect that the property is self enclosed (i.e. it's not half a room, or a couple of rooms in a larger flat etc) and that it has its own entrance. This can then be stamped by the relevant authorities (from memory, the architecture office but I could be wrong) and accepted by the notary as proof of what your wife is going to own.

does he have any legal grounding to challenge her and her brothers 1/4 allocation or at the parents death would their 1/2 have to be split among the 3 children?

Has the paperwork for the 1/4 been signed and sealed? If so, why would he challenge her allocation if he's left with half of the property in the will? He ends up with half, they have a quarter each... If anything, your wife and her brother would have the right to claim a zachowek.
Amathyst 19 | 2700  
22 Oct 2010 /  #11
Would this still apply as the eldest is not the fathers biological son and although I do not believe any formal adoption process was undertaken he does have my wifes fathers surname?

He is still your mother-in-laws son...and the first born and has his fathers name (biological or not)

terri]

Best advice so far.

It sounds like the best advice here is simply to stay well clear of this whole situation. It hardly sounds like it's worth the effort - if you want somewhere to stay, buy a static caravan.

Worst advice so far.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
23 Oct 2010 /  #12
Worst advice so far.

Worst advice?

Given that he could easily lose quite a lot of money in this venture, given that the family situation doesn't seem particularly stable and given that it's in a foreign country with very odd laws (compared to the UK system) - what's "worst advice" about it?

Or are you suggesting that investing in complicated property matters abroad is good business sense? Heck, even the inheritance issue seems to be incredibly murky and difficult to deal with. Would you really want to have the bottom floor of a property in a foreign country when the in-laws might not respect you? We already see on a regular basis where the family of a foreigner has taken advantage of them - what's to say that it'll be anything different here, especially if the family is unstable?

Really, I thought you were smarter than that...
SeanBM 34 | 5786  
23 Oct 2010 /  #13
If it were me, I'd run a mile.

I see from your other thread that you only intend on staying there for 6 weeks of the year.
You will find it easier, cheaper and you'll probably live longer :) if you just rent.
poland_  
23 Oct 2010 /  #14
If it were me, I'd run a mile.

SeamBM, have you heard about the status of a property being changed from house to blok, without significant work being done. If the status was not changed on the hypoteka, it would never be registered as a flat just share in a house. Now that brings problems, what about if the other parties takes loans against your property?

If you need to ask the questions OP, you must feel you married into a bad lot.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
23 Oct 2010 /  #15
If you need to ask the questions OP, you must feel you married into a bad lot.

Yep, hence why I said that not getting involved is the best bet.
terri 1 | 1661  
23 Oct 2010 /  #16
I would question the TIMING of this transaction. Why is it that NOW everybody wants to get things sorted. If they are so clear then there would be no problem after the parents death.

There is something behind this, and those of us, with a suspicious nature would question THAT first.
poland_  
24 Oct 2010 /  #17
I would question the TIMING of this transaction. Why is it that NOW everybody wants to get things sorted. If they are so clear then there would be no problem after the parents death.

It is quite common in Poland that property would be handed over to a family member/s to allow the older members to seek pensions/benefits if they have assets worth over x, they ae expected to sell them first.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
24 Oct 2010 /  #18
There is something behind this, and those of us, with a suspicious nature would question THAT first.

Seems that way to me as well. Anyone having so many questions cannot be happy with the situation - and with the situation as-is, it sounds like a nightmare.
OP Doughnuts 3 | 4  
24 Oct 2010 /  #19
To try and update on a few of the questions in no particular order,

The "extension" has 2 entrances and so the only access issues would be with regard to the garden and on that point alone I think I have allready decided that an architect and solicictor would need to be employed.

Media services to the house are well water and a single electrical feed with only the ground floor being connected anyways. In order to get a second meter for her brother and seperate bills in the future I guess the local council will have to be involved after the solicitor to allocate the flats a + b.

As the total land area of the plot is 7 ar I understand spliting the house could only be done as if it were a "block".

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