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Polish Inheritance Law and the legal rights of a grown grandchild living abroad

14 Mar 2019 #1
I have two questions about Inheritance Law in Poland, and the legal rights of a grown grandchild.

My husband's grandfather (father of his father) died some years ago. The grandfather was in his second marriage since my husband's grandmother died as a young woman. My husbands father also died young, and there were no other siblings. My husbands mother left Poland, married a Swede and my husband has lived here since he was 10 years. He never thought about inheriting his grandfather, but we were offended when we were informed about the funeral so late that it was impossible for us to come there. We had a good relationship with his grandfather and had visited him and his new wife several times. When my husband called her to bring his condolences she said that she did not want anymore contact with us now that her husband was dead. We thought she just was in shock, but later I said to my husband that there probably had been a testament, and that she and some of the other relatives did not want my husband to inherit anything since he was living abroad. We could understand that. We did not care about the money since we have our own money, but I was sure that his grandfather would have wanted him to inherit something with a sentimental value, fex. the weddingring from his first marriage, a photo, or a book etc.

Today I was surprised to read about the rules of Swedish Inheritance Law. I dont know anything about Polish Inheritance Law, but

1) did actually my husband have legal rights to inherit something from his grandfather, even though he did not live in Poland anymore?
2) did also his mother have right to inherit something from the father of her dead husband even though she is married again abroad (in my opinion that does not make any sense since she re-married and never had contact with her first father in law and his new wife again)?
inkrakow 1 | 98
14 Mar 2019 #2
1. Yes of course your husband's rights are not affected by living abroad. He is a direct descendant and has the right to a share in the estate.

2. If your husband's mother divorced his father, then she has no rights to inherit.

There's no law in Poland to register a will, so if your husband's grandfather left him something moveable and the will is not registered anywhere (e.g. with a notary), then without that document it's very difficult to claim anything. It's easier if there is any real estate as that has to go through courts so it leaves a trace.
OP Astrid
14 Mar 2019 #3
Thank you, for Your response. I tried finding the laws regulating these questions, but my Polish is not the best.

He was never contacted about a will, his right to a share etc. There were no letters etc. His grandfather and his second wife were close to the son of grandfathers sister, a priest, and I guess he was the one making all the arrangements after the death. Since so many of the closest relatives had passed away I guess it must have been the priest and the second wife of grandfather who inherited him. I dont know much about if there was any real estate. What were/is his actual rights if there was any real estate?

My husbands grandfather had an apartement which he gave to his son in the past. (The reason I know this is because the grandfather claimed that this was my husbands apartement since his father died when he was a child, and that it did not belong to my husbands mother. The mother never divorced the father, but was a widow. She never sold this apartement, and stays there when she visits Poland. We consider this her apartement (though its her Swedish husband who has been paying for renovations etc over the years). I guess grandfather just felt otherwise, and that he did not base his comments about this on the law). Grandfather moved in with his second wife in her townhouse which had belonged to her parents, so that real estate belongs to her. Maybe there was some real estate in the countryside where grandfather grew up.

Do you know which offices we should contact if we decide to find out why my husband never was contacted, if some real estate went through courts etc?
inkrakow 1 | 98
17 Mar 2019 #4
Unfortunately in Poland it's the inheritor's responsibility to contact the court, not the court's responsibility to research the family tree. If you think property is involved, it's probably best to contact a lawyer.
OP Astrid
20 Mar 2019 #5
Again, thanks for your input. I work with Law so I hoped to find the legislation and read it myself, but I will tell my husband to contact a lawyer if he wants to take these questions any further.

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