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Do we need to get a UK solicitor or a Polish one?


ren999 1 | 2  
17 Mar 2010 /  #1
My parents who lived in Poland have died & I wondered if anyone could help me by telling me what I need to do.

My parents owned a house outside Warsaw which has been for sale for a year. My dad died of a hearth attack in August 2009 and mum came to live with me i the UK. She has now also died recently and I am tying to deal with her finances. My mums friends in Poland have the key and have been dealing with the estate agents but I speak very limited Polish & they do not speak English. I know that mum recently went to court in Poland to get the house in her name after dads death and she managed to do this. I don't know whether my sister & I will now also need to go to Poland to court to get it into our names so we are allowed to sell it? Also do we need to get a UK solicitor to help or a Polish one?

Any help would be greatly appreciated at this difficult time, thanks.
enkidu 6 | 611  
17 Mar 2010 /  #2
The owner of the property is the one who is listed in the record office. You shall apply for an transcript of "księga wieczysta" in order to know what is the current status.

Taking under consideration that your case will be decided under the Polish law - I strongly suggest to hire a Polish solicitor.

BTW - If that is a nice house in the countryside, I would be grateful if you contact me on PM
Honest George 1 | 105  
17 Mar 2010 /  #3
Don,t trust too much advice on this site or any other.

All the answers you require can be obtained from the British embassy in Warsaw.

As you have guessed, yes the deeds will have to be transferred to your name, as well as searches being carried out to assess there is no debts against the estate etc.

It will be quite a complex affair unfortunately due to the bureaucracy that exists in Poland.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
17 Mar 2010 /  #4
All the answers you require can be obtained from the British embassy in Warsaw.

The British Embassy gives advice? dnz on here has a rather entertaining story about how they "advised" him!

The British Embassy will tell you to simply contact a lawyer.
enkidu 6 | 611  
17 Mar 2010 /  #5
It will be quite a complex affair unfortunately due to the bureaucracy that exists in Poland.

Heh - all of these information are stored in the single file known as "Księga wieczysta" in the local council office (urząd gminy). All you have to do is request it and pay a reasonable sum for the answer (i don't remember exact amount right now - sorry, but it is rather close to the bill for the meal in the restaurant than to the price of a car).

That's all about the evil Polish bureaucracy.
Honest George 1 | 105  
17 Mar 2010 /  #6
The British Embassy gives advice?

If you go through the appropriate channels and something goes awry, then you can sue
( even the gov ).
The lawyer they recommend should be competent.

They can not leave British citizens in this scenario without help.

Any problems, then contact your local MP, that,s what they,re there for.

Always keep all documentation for such eventualities, never try going it alone, you could lose everything.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
17 Mar 2010 /  #7
If you go through the appropriate channels and something goes awry, then you can sue

The British Embassy won't get involved at all - I'd be surprised if they even bothered to recommend a lawyer. They may have a list of English speaking lawyers, but they won't take any responsibility for them.

The lawyer they recommend should be competent.

Like I say, they won't recommend one. They might do so unofficially, but certainly not 'on the record'. And that's assuming they'll even bother to help you.

They can not leave British citizens in this scenario without help.

Oh yes they can. The British Government considers embassies to be for consular assistance, not for everyday things - if you get arrested, then of course the Embassy will help (at a cost, of course) - but they simply aren't interested in the personal lives of British citizens.

Any problems, then contact your local MP, that,s what they,re there for.

Again, MP's have nothing to do with this. The FCO is very unlikely to get involved in the legal processes of another EU country - why would they, when you can simply contact a lawyer to deal with it?

Always keep all documentation for such eventualities, never try going it alone, you could lose everything.

Now - this is sensible advice.
Honest George 1 | 105  
17 Mar 2010 /  #8
The British Embassy won't get involved at all

I,m not saying the British embassy will SORT IT for you.

All the answers you require can be obtained from the British embassy in Warsaw.

Advice and assistance.

The British Government considers embassies to be for consular assistance, not for everyday things

Is bereavement an everyday individual thing ?

assuming they'll even bother to help you.

Of course they advise, I,ve been there, have you ?

but they simply aren't interested in the personal lives of British citizens.

Now, please.
jonni 16 | 2475  
17 Mar 2010 /  #9
Also do we need to get a UK solicitor to help or a Polish one?

You need a Polish solicitor. I can happily recommend a firm I've used here in Warsaw - some of their staff speak English, they are very efficient and they are not too expensive. PM me if you'd like contact details.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
17 Mar 2010 /  #10
I,m not saying the British embassy will SORT IT for you.

No, you're saying that the British Embassy will take an interest. They won't. Remeber, this is the same organisation that charges over 600zl to stick a piece of paper up for 3 weeks on a noticeboard.

Advice and assistance.

They don't give advice. They can help with consular issues when you're in trouble - but advice over inheritance of property is outwith their remit. They will simply tell you to consult a lawyer.

Is bereavement an everyday individual thing ?

Yes, unless it happens to a British citizen in Poland. Why would they get involved in a private matter?

Seriously - try for yourself. "dnz" on here will happily tell you about his experience with the British consular system in Poland - or should I say "lack of experience through no fault of his own??"
OP ren999 1 | 2  
18 Mar 2010 /  #11
Thanks for the advice.

The house is listed on: poland.homesgofast.com/properties/4-bedroom-house-220m2-land-5000m2-so mianka-near-warsaw-P123594172/

take a look -definately in the country, big modern house with lots of and & 2 large barns.
jonni 16 | 2475  
18 Mar 2010 /  #12
No, you're saying that the British Embassy will take an interest. They won't. Remember, this is the same organisation that charges over 600zl to stick a piece of paper up for 3 weeks on a noticeboard.

Out of interest, the following has just appeared on their website:

Important message for British Nationals Getting Married in Poland
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the British Embassy in Warsaw that the Polish government is reviewing whether local authorities can accept Certificates of No Impediment issued by our office. We are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to resolve this issue as a matter of urgency. Until further notice the Consular section will be unable to accept and process applications for Certificates of No Impediment. Please monitor our website for developments.

So if anyone's getting married, better not order the flowers just yet.

I also noticed that the price to renew a passport (mine's finished) is 124.50 in pounds or 598zl. But at today's rate 598zl is 137.47 pounds. Con artists. Presumably we're paying for their Ferrero Rocher chocolates at the Ambassador's reception.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
18 Mar 2010 /  #13
Out of interest, the following has just appeared on their website:

You are ******* kidding me.

So if anyone's getting married, better not order the flowers just yet.

Next year. Now what?

I also noticed that the price to renew a passport (mine's finished) is 124.50 in pounds or 598zl. But at today's rate 598zl is 137.47 pounds. Con artists. Presumably we're paying for their Ferrero Rocher chocolates at the Ambassador's reception.

They're utter crooks - you would think they would use the current NBP rate, but...nooo, not when there's extra money to be made. Mind you, you can just get the passport sent to a UK address and save quite a few quid.

This is all the result of the drive to make consular services "revenue neutral" instead of seeing them for what they should be - an investment.
Amathyst 19 | 2700  
19 Mar 2010 /  #14
Neither the British Embassy or her local MP have anything to do with her personal business (people die all the time, its traumatic for those involved but its not out of the ordinary!)...She needs to instruct a solicitor, same as anyone who has a personal matter that involves an estate passing to a living relative where no Will has been drawn up - Im not sure how probate works in Poland, but Jonni has offered assistance and I'd go for that.

you can just get the passport sent to a UK address and save quite a few quid.

If you are doing that you have to make an appointment and go in person to the passport office..no sending off details any more..they have to see you in person!
Harry  
19 Mar 2010 /  #15
Next year. Now what?

You have to follow the same path as people whose embassies will not issue certificates of no impediment. Basically you go to court and swear that you are able to get married and that you are not able to get a certificate of no impediment. It's covered by Art. 46 of the "Regulations Governing Vital Statistics Act".

Here's a paragraph from an article I wrote a couple of years ago:

Not that there's an absence of red tape if want to get married here. Even the US embassy website warns "Getting married in Poland requires considerable time and can be complicated".

Apparently xx weeks is currently 12 to 16 weeks but it can take more than a year to get everything sorted.
Ziemowit 14 | 4046  
19 Mar 2010 /  #16
Any help would be greatly appreciated at this difficult time, thanks.

This case is very simple and you shouldn't have any trouble resolving it. The property passes onto heirs apparent which in the typical example will be the spouse (half of value of property) and the children (the other half divided between them in equal parts). If your mother was the only established owner of the property and did not leave a testament, then heirs apparent are the children, that is you and your sister. You have to get the property into your names either by a court act (which here would be an "administrative" one really) or with a notary. You may contact a notary yourself without hiring any lawyers acting on your behalf if the case is that simple as you say. It would be best for you to contact a Polish notary, "kancelaria notarialna", where they speak English. The maximum level of fees charged by the notary cannot exceed limits set by the Ministry of Justice for particular types of action.
OP ren999 1 | 2  
23 Mar 2010 /  #17
Thank you. My mother got the house into her name after my father dies and before she died but the paper they issued is still waiting for her to pick up and they will onl release it to her. So, do I no need to start with the Notary or Courts from the beginning as if my mother had not been to court already? Will it still be simple enough? I don't want to hire a lawyer if not needed as the estate is not worth that much after we pay for the estate agents fees and I know that a lawyer would cost a lot.
Ziemowit 14 | 4046  
23 Mar 2010 /  #18
If you want to sell property such as a house or flat to someone you need a proof stating that the property is your own. Change in ownership of such property needs the confirmation by a notary (akt notarialny). If you go to a notary and say the property is yours now as your mother who owned it died, they will ask you to bring them a court sentence stating who are heirs apparent and in what proportions heirs apparent will own the inherited property.

For some time now, these are notaries who may establish heirs apparent themselves in place of courts. So you may do the two things under one roof: (1) get the official statement as to who is entitled to inherit property and in what proportions, (2) having got this statement, get one or more of akt notarialny for (each) individual property(ies). Then you may sell it (under the roof of the same notary, if you want).

I have been through this procedure some years ago before the changes in law, so I had to go to court first to get a stwierdzenie o nabyciu spadku, then I had to go to a notary to get the akt notarialny. I did not need any lawyers for that and the cost was little. Lawyers will be needed in case you shall dispute your right to property with someone else.
delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
23 Mar 2010 /  #19
I know that a lawyer would cost a lot.

Not necessarily so, if you do your homework and don't go to the first one that advertises "WE'RE ENGLISH SPEAKING".

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