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ADVICE please: Rightful owner of property in Poland? Property Value?


PolishRoots 1 | -
24 Dec 2009  #1
Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to read my post & Happy Holidays.

I am writing on behalf of my mother. She is Polish born now living in the US. Her mother ( now deceased ) owned an apartment in Gdańsk. Currently the apartment is occupied by a distant relative. We are hoping to find out how to go about learning rightful owner and property value. In the US we have Official State Property Appraiser Search Sites which list value and Title holder. Our distance relatives are asking us to sign some paper work. Much is still unclear. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!

Jani
Wroclaw 44 | 5,389
24 Dec 2009  #2
Get yourself a Polish lawyer.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
24 Dec 2009  #3
Be careful with this though - there are a *lot* of sharks out there who will take a significant amount of money for doing very little. I'd actually advise getting a translation done before proceeding - because the papers might be complete nonsense.

(even with a translation, be careful - one particular troll on this forum charges 50PLN/page when a sworn translator will charge half that!)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,389
24 Dec 2009  #4
I'd actually advise getting a translation done before proceeding - because the papers might be complete nonsense.

fair point.
Wroclaw Boy
24 Dec 2009  #5
Our distance relatives are asking us to sign some paper work.

That could be title deed ownership by the sounds of it.

Be careful with this though - there are a *lot* of sharks out there who will take a significant amount of money for doing very little.

Youve just described ALL lawyers there my man.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
24 Dec 2009  #6
Ah come on, there are some good ones out there...somewhere!

(Still looking for a lawyer that I could actually recommend to people...still can't find one with experience that I would trust to charge a fair price to foreigners!)
Wroclaw Boy
24 Dec 2009  #7
Ive got a couple but they still suck donkey balls.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
24 Dec 2009  #8
Gah. Maybe in the new year, I'll go and make a fresh attempt at finding one...there must be someone out there who charges a fair small premium for speaking English and who doesn't immediately see $$$ in their eyes from foreign clients :(
szczeciniak 4 | 92
25 Dec 2009  #9
Her mother ( now deceased ) owned an apartment in Gdańsk

was the apartment bought out from government? did she have titles of ownership?
if , yes, you have no problem with your distant relative! becouse they are just a occupiers or tenants .
if no, then the game starts and it maybe costly?
first, that your mama was and still is registered as main occupant?(not issue with her mother)
[quote=PolishRoots]Our distance relatives are asking us to sign some paper work[/quote
it is most likely! for you to sigh( your mama) that she is not main occupant? because she lives in USA. then they have a right to buy this apartment from government!
Think Twice
25 Dec 2009  #10
Absolutely sign nothing until you are one million percent SURE of WHAT your signing.

You can love relatives like brothers and sisters, but when it comes to these sort of matters, treat them as outsiders.
Markson
25 Dec 2009  #11
As property laws are very unsure and very shaky in Poland,
you will be a little fish in the usual polish waters full of sharks
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
25 Dec 2009  #12
one particular troll on this forum charges 50PLN/page when a sworn translator will charge half that!

1) For translation of legal documents, you would need to hire a sworn translator in the first place;
2) sworn translators are bound by the Sworn Translators' Act which dictates that the standard page of certified translation consists of 1125 characters; in non-certified translation, a standard page would be expected to have 1800 characters. So, to a layman, one person would quote, say, 25 per page and another 50, but the former might be speaking of 10 "standard pages" and the latter of approx. 5. Bear that in mind!
małyniebieski
27 Dec 2009  #13
You will need to travel to Poland and everyone will need to go to a Notary. It is your best bet for security reasons.
Jan Blacha
mawaukltd - | 7
12 Jan 2010  #14
Hi we specialise in this type of work. I am English and have lived in Poland for 6 years now. An initial appraisal of the situation is vital and is cheap to complete. My advice is do not sign anything until you are fully aware of the situation. Property prices have moved a lot in the last few years, stephen.morgan@wp.pl contact me if you want some help
LotWozniak
3 Jan 2012  #15
My father passed away 23 years ago leaving property in Poland. He was majority owner of one parcel and jointly with my mother on another. When he died, I understand that his ownership would then automatically go to his spouse and children equally. Recently my mother died and hence the dispute as to who owns what and what percentage passes on to whom. Is the ownership still equally divided to the remaining children? What would have my mother's percentage of ownership been after her husband died? Let's assume that her share was half and the remainder the children's. Can one sibling sell, transfer or do anything with the property if the others do not agree or are not made aware of it or does that one sibling need a certain amount of ownership or willing signatories to transfer the property or sell it? There are 7 children involved and one EVIL sibling that is contemplating something to the extent of attempting to transfer the property to himself. Does the american court system have any jurisdiction in property in Poland, meaning, can the executor of the mother's estate bring this matter for the american court to settle? I would assume NO that it has to be handled in Poland. If anyone knows how to best answer this or any suggestions, please let me know. I greatly appreciate any responses.
PeterWeg03
3 Jan 2012  #16
Who is occupying this property? because if you have abandoned it, they may well have obtained ownership after a certain period.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,389
3 Jan 2012  #17
If anyone knows how to best answer this or any suggestions, please let me know. I greatly appreciate any responses.

Where is the land (nearest city) and how big is the parcel ? someone on the forum might be able to give an estimate on value. important to know, if you are going to spend money when taking legal action.

is it farmland or other ?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
3 Jan 2012  #18
I greatly appreciate any responses.

Honestly, unless the land is worth a considerable amount of money (ie, your share being worth a good amount of money) - it's going to be a bit of a nightmare to deal with.

Does the american court system have any jurisdiction in property in Poland, meaning, can the executor of the mother's estate bring this matter for the american court to settle? I would assume NO that it has to be handled in Poland.

Pretty much.

The problem is that it needs to be done properly. If the transfer wasn't done properly when your father died, it'll be a hell of a problem to deal with.

My advice is for you and the other siblings to get a good Polish lawyer who can deal with things - preferably one local to where the land is.
LotWozniak
4 Jan 2012  #19
As far as I know, the property is occupied by a relative and as of 2009, the property is still in my father's name and mother's name. One parcel was totally in my father's name and the other parcel was jointly owned by father and mother. According to the records I possess, the property is farmland and approximately 10 acres total. I also understand that all property taxes, etc. are paid to date.

It already is a nightmare. I thank you for your opinion. The farmland is worth approximately $50,000 and there are 7 siblings. One brother is trying to get his hands on the property as he commingled the Will of our mother, leaving him her share, therefore giving him the majority ownership, which in turn it could very well be that he does not need his siblings consent to sell or transfer the property. Since our father died without a will, our mother then inherits his portion and the remaining children equally, (I believe). Since he would have the majority of ownership, I don't think it is worth the $3,000 to inherit as the attorney may very well cost in excess of that amount. The siblings share would be after our father - not our mother - as she disinherited her 5 daughters in her will, leaving everything to her 2 sons.

The property is supposedly valued at approximately $50,000. It is farmland and in the vicinity of Czerwienne and Maruszyna, Dunajec. 10 acres approximately. I don't know how the amount was established as it came up in the inventory statement in probate and there was no appraisal at all.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
4 Jan 2012  #20
As far as I know, the property is occupied by a relative and as of 2009, the property is still in my father's name and mother's name. One parcel was totally in my father's name and the other parcel was jointly owned by father and mother. According to the records I possess, the property is farmland and approximately 10 acres total. I also understand that all property taxes, etc. are paid to date.

Honestly speaking, it's probably not worth the hassle for the sake of 10 acres in Poland. It's nothing - 10 acres is 4 hectares, which for farmland, probably won't fetch that much money unless it's in a prime location. Then you'll have to divide it between 7 - which is going to leave you with a tiny piece of land.

Also consider the relative in this - what if they don't want to give up the land?

As I understand it, you'll have to go through the proper processes for both your father and then your mother - which will take a long, long time. You'll almost certainly need the help of a Polish lawyer (unless you have someone in your family living in Poland that can do this - but again, issue of trust) - which will probably cost you more than you stand to gain from the land.

I just can't see it being worthwhile to chase up for the sake of 4 hectares. It'll leave you with what, around 0.6ha each - which is likely to be worth not much more than 10,000zl.
Zman
4 Jan 2012  #21
Delphi, again our favorite prince of doom! Let them explore! :-)
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
4 Jan 2012  #22
Explore ways to lose lots of money over a tiny piece of land in Poland? ;)
Harry
4 Jan 2012  #23
One brother is trying to get his hands on the property as he commingled the Will of our mother, leaving him her share,

I'd be very impressed to see how he managed to legally get all of her share as a result of her will. Poland has a concept referred to as 'necessary heirs'. The only way he could have acquired the share which was left to her would have been if it was gifted to her by him before her death.

The property is supposedly valued at approximately $50,000.

So you are looking at $7,000. Not really worth fighting that hard for. However, the ball is in your brother's court, he'll need to prove he acquired the property before her death (remember to report him to the tax office if more than six months have gone by since he supposedly acquired it: he'll now be on the hook for taxes if he didn't report it). And the court will have to be satisfied that you have given up your 'zachowek' right. You could just try pointing out to him that if you're going to lose $7,000 you might as well lose $8,000 and ensure that for the rest of his life he walks with a limp and thinks of you every time the weather changes.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
4 Jan 2012  #24
The property is supposedly valued at approximately $50,000. It is farmland and in the vicinity of Czerwienne and Maruszyna, Dunajec. 10 acres approximately. I don't know how the amount was established as it came up in the inventory statement in probate and there was no appraisal at all.

If it's where I think it is - then it's nowhere near worth $50,000. It does depend on the quality of the land, but I can't see it being worth that much. It's nowhere near a major city, it's just rural farmland - which is plentiful.

I'd be very impressed to see how he managed to legally get all of her share as a result of her will. Poland has a concept referred to as 'necessary heirs'. The only way he could have acquired the share which was left to her would have been if it was gifted to her by him before her death.

The law has apparently changed and it can be done through a will - but it would only be recognised if the mother went to a notary and dealt with it in Poland - and followed the correct processes. But this would still raise the question of the inheritance after the father - all in all, seems horribly complicated for the sake of $7000 maximum (and I don't think it's going to be worth anything near that).
BRS 2 | 48
4 Jan 2012  #25
delphiandomine

is this specific to the situation or in general? my understanding was a will is valid in Poland (in addition to if it is signed with a notary) if:

it was in writing or
it was witnessed by two people

of course I could be wrong - but please let me know as it would mean my will is not valid.
adonis - | 4
4 Jan 2012  #26
good lawyer will help you. If you need any help - let me know. I am a real estate agent and can help you to find a good professional.
^mrc^
4 Jan 2012  #27
Hi Jani,

If you would like to know what is the property's legal status as of now, you should ask your relatives to provide you with so called "numer księgi wieczystej" of the apartment. It is an ID number you can use on this page: h t t p : / / ekw.ms.gov.pl/pdcbdkw/pdcbdkw.html to see detailed information. It is always a good point to start.

Hiring a Polish lawyer to take care of it for you is also my advice.

In addition if this is a parcel rather than an apartment, you can find parcel number on this page: h t t p : / / maps.geoportal.gov.pl/webclient/

Having that and a lawyer in Poland (anyone in Poland to be more specific) will be able to get the "numer ksiegi wieczystej" for you.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
4 Jan 2012  #28
parcel

Piece of land, in English.

Hiring a Polish lawyer to take care of it for you is also my advice.

This is a good idea in this case/
LotWozniak
4 Jan 2012  #29
Her original will was to divide everything equally amongst the 7 children. The one brother thinks he is the only one entitled to everything and had the will drawn without any of the remaining 6 children knowing about the new will wherein he made himself the only heir to her estate and had the other brother as a secondary heir upon his death and the 5 daughters were totally disinherited in her will. Now I understand that the Will would have to be proved valid in Poland as it was made here. We 5 daughters/sisters thought that at least if we were disinherited here in the US, at least the land in Poland that our father/mother owned would definitely pass to us, eventhough in small portion.

To everyone that responded to this dilemna, THANK YOU!. I am aware that it is not worth the fight for such a small price, eventually it would be more costly to fight him on this as the property is small in acres and amount. It is just the principal of the matter. I just don't understand the law in Poland and how one can be so evil to take such actions against his siblings.

He will have to live with this and walk with that limp as someone mentioned. Again, everyone, Thank you! God Bless.

The WILL was done by an attorney, notarized, witnessed and had a "International Will" Certificate attached to it. From our attorney here in the US, it is my understanding that he would have to prove the Will to be valid in Poland, and the Polish courts would have to recognize it as valid there. From my further research, I understand that the US courts do not have jurisdiction over property in other countries, which to me makes common sense.

As for the question as to how he acquired the vast amount of percentage interest is: Lot 1, my father owned by himself; Lot 2, owned jointly by father/mother. So once my father passed, mother was entitled to at least 1/4 of his share in Lot 1 and the remainder divided equally between the 7 children. Lot 2, she was already 1/2 owner (?) and would then be entitled to a percentage of ownership in that Lot. In any event, after some calculations and as stated in the estate inventory, she was 5/8 owner of Lot 1 and 2 together. Since she left everything of her ownership to the one son, if he adds his share, he has the majority of ownership (although he would have to prove it in Poland) and does not require any of the others to convey the property to himself or to sell it, although we would still be entitled to a small percentage of the value after our father's share.

I may be wrong in my assumptions but I am guessing that he just did not pop up this amount and percentage of ownership for a estate inventory without the assistance of legal counsel, etc.

Just so everyone knows, there is always one in the family that will screw you over in any way, shape and manner.

Again, I appreciate everyone's input on this matter. Thank you.
^mrc^
4 Jan 2012  #30
Get a Polish lawyer. It wont be that expensive and they will clear that for you. In Poland until this year it wasnt matter of what is in the will to decide who of the relatives inherits what. It was always that wife/husband get 50% children equally rest - no matter what the will says.


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