Changes to the rules of inheritance are being served to protect heirs who inherit with a high debt load. Moreover, at the moment the heirs will be able to submit themselves – in court or at a notary – a list of their estate called the inventory.
Presently, however, within 6 months from the day when the heir get the knowledge about the inheritance, he may submit a statement of acceptance or rejection of the inheritance. The decision of acceptance of the inheritance can be taken in two ways: without limitation of the liability (simple adoption) or with its limitation (acceptance of the benefit of inventory). A Person who does not submit within the statutory period the applicable statement, inherits all the estate with all the obligations and will be responsible with all his assets for the liabilities of the deceased. However, pursuant to the changed law, if the heir within 6 months from the day when he received the knowledge of the inheritance,does not makes any declaration regarding rejecting or acceptance of the inheritance, will mean acceptance of the inheritance with a limitation on the liability for the debts.
August 17, 2015, we began to apply the EU rules, which are of considerable importance for people residing abroad and their possible heirs.
In the light of the European Parliament and the Council ( EU) No 650/2012 of 4th of July 2012of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4th of July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession, if the testator has not made explicitly or implicitly in the will a choice of national law, succession matters would be made with regards to the law of the country of his residence . This means that the inheritance of the Polish citizen will be acquired specifically according to the English, German, Spanish , Czech Republic law, if the deceased on the day of death, resided in a specific country and had with this country close personal ties, eg. long time lived in the territory of the the country with his family or he was an intern in the country.
To determine the estate will not matter if the deceased had the nationality of another country. Meanwhile, European Union legislation differs in determining heirs , for example in some states the inheritance is allowed for the partners that are not married , and also in relation to the inheritance reserved only for the family members.
It should be noted that the possibility to choose the applicable law is limited only to the national law of the testator. Therefore, it seems to be protection for people who do not want to make their succesion issues even more complicated due to the fact, that they will leave their own countries. Moreover, the regulation does not provide opportunities for so-called splitting the statute of succession, and it means that all the assets of the estate regardless of the position of the country will be subject to one set of laws.
Importance of the place of abode/residence
The country which will decide in all inheritance cases through the proper Courts will be appropriatefor the deceased person place of residence unless there exists a prorogation agreement between certain countries which will specify solely the jurisdiction of the courts of one of the countries. Additionally the proper Court may be able to transfer
its jurisdiction in favour of another if such an application is lodged in the Court of a chosen member country which has better prospects of ruling in certain cases becouse of the practical aspects of the case, such as the place of abode of the parties or the location of the assets. So we may predict that the Courts will be willing to use this option most frequently, when the law of a foreign country stipulates for certain provisions which do not exist in Polish Law. This will additionally prolong the Court’s proceedings.