Cross-border inheritance cases heard outside Poland sometimes have to find their finale in the Polish court. This is the case not only in cases where the property constituting the part of the foreign inheritance estate is located in Poland, but also in cases concerning Polish citizens living outside the borders of Polish jurisdiction.

In cross – border practice, very often large doubts arise as to whether the documents issued by foreign courts confirming the right to manage inheritance estate in the course of inheritance proceedings abroad, or foreign court documents confirming the right to inheritance are directly applicable also to those assets of the inheritance that are located in Poland.

The necessity to adjudicate by Polish courts of inheritance is based on the Polish main regulation in this regard in the form of Article 1108 of the Polish Code of Civil Procedure, which regulates Polish domestic jurisdiction in inheritance cases in a very broad and yet imprecise manner.

Pursuant to this provision, Polish national jurisdiction covers also those inheritance cases in which the testator at the time of death was a Polish citizen or had his place of residence or habitual residence in the Republic of Poland. National jurisdiction also includes inheritance matters, if the inheritance property or a significant part thereof is located in the Republic of Poland.

The above-mentioned legal structure of the supremacy of the Polish courts in inheritance cases, which additionally must also act in cases in which a foreign court has already issued a ruling / partial ruling or appointed a curator of the estate, is a problem of the so-called non-exclusive jurisdiction. Therefore, except for the case where the inheritance concerns real estate located in Poland, each case submitted to KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI team is subject to special analysis as to whether it is possible to enforce a foreign inheritance ruling / order without additional action before the Polish court.

Therefore, very often third parties in possession of assets of foreigners or Polish citizens residing outside Poland very often question the power and validity of foreign inheritance documents. In particular, banks and financial institutions keeping accounts of investment fund participation units in which the deceased person related to foreign countries transferred their financial resources during his / her lifetime refuse to hand over the estate to the probation officers and heirs appointed especially for this purpose.

Regardless of the jurisdictional issues, the cross-border nature of inheritance cases generates a problem resulting from the conflict of laws of which country’s substantive law of inheritance will apply to the assets located in Poland. The core of the problem of the jurisdiction of inheritance law in Poland is currently Article 66a of Polish Private International Law, which directly refers to the rules of the legal documents of the European Union in the form of Regulation No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions, acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the establishment of a European Certificate of Succession, applicable particularly in the context of inheritance property located in Poland or relating to the Polish citizens.

Therefore, all legal problems of foreign inheritance proceedings, in which at least some of the inheritance assets are located in Poland, overlap with a very detailed grid of provisions of Polish substantive inheritance law, with the core of Polish substantive inheritance law being Article 922 of the Polish Civil Code, which contains all legal elements of inheritance construction.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI set itself the goal of specializing in its legal practice on all aspects of cross-border inheritance law, including:

– all property rights and obligations of the deceased that pass upon his death to one or more persons pursuant to the provisions of the inheritance law;
– non-inheritance rights and obligations of the deceased closely related to his person, as well as rights that at the time of his death are transferred to designated persons, whether or not they are heirs;
– the obligation to satisfy claims for a reserved share and the obligation to perform ordinary entries and orders, as well as other obligations provided for in the provisions of the law of inheritance;
– all rights of spouses and relatives of the deceased;
– legal problems with the assessment of the opening of the inheritance estate and establishing the circle of heirs;
– acquisition of inheritance and documents related therewith;
– sources of the appointment to the inheritance estate, regardless of whether the appointment to the inheritance estate results from the law / statute or from the last will;
– statutory inheritance as to part of the inheritance, which takes place when the testator has not appointed the heir to this part, or if any of the persons who were appointed to the entire inheritance estate do not want or cannot be heirs;
– the ability to inherit;
– unworthiness of inheritance in a situation where the heir may be considered unworthy to inherit by the court;
– spouse’s inheritance share;
– inheritance in the case of full adoption and partial adoption;
– exclusivity of a will;
– any legal problems of common wills under foreign law;
– revocation of a will;
– assistance in legal problems with the validation and revocation of the will;
– conditions for the invalidity of a will;
– interpretation of the will;
– holographic will;
– notarial will;
– allographic will in front of the witnesses;
– loss of power of a special will;
– absolute and relative inability to witness a will and the consequences of violating the provisions of witnessing a will;
– effectiveness of testament records and instructions;
– executors of the will;
– appointment to manage inheritance assets;
– refusal of the executor to execute the will;
– obligations of the executor of the will;
– claims between the heir and the executor of the will;
– releasing the executor of the will from obligations;
– a reserved share of the inheritance estate and those entitled to a reserved share;
– responsibility for the legacy of the legatee;
– responsibility for the recipient’s reserved part;
– inheritance of a claim for a reserved share;
– limitation of claims under the reserved share;
– acceptance and rejection of inheritance, including evasion of the legal effects of the declaration of the acceptance of the inheritance;
– legal effects of the rejection of inheritance;
– relationship between the administrator of the estate and the heirs;
– confirmation of the acquisition of an inheritance or the subject of a vindication legacy, confirmation of inheritance and protection of the heir;
– decision on confirmation of inheritance acquisition; deed of inheritance certification;
– proof of inheritance rights;
– disposition of a right belonging to the estate by an unauthorized person;
– liability for inheritance debts;
– payment of inheritance debts;
– liability of legatees until the inheritance is distributed;
– joint inheritance property and division of the inheritance estate;
– inheritance contracts;
– agreements on the renunciation of inheritance;
– agreements obliging to sell the inheritance.
– assistance in respect of applicable law in accordance of the Regulation 650/2012;
– assistance in cross-border issues of seizing of a court;
– recommendations in the choice of protective measures in inheritance proceedings.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI represents foreign clients and protects their property interests in all types of inheritance proceedings in Poland, including:

– securing the inheritance and inventory list;
– proceedings for the acceptance or rejection of inheritance;
– announcement of the will;
– disclosure of inheritance items;
– hearing witnesses of an oral will;
– handling cases relating to the executor of the will;
– handling matters relating to succession management;
– management of the inheritance not covered, including all proceedings regarding the obligation of the probation officer;
– confirmation of the acquisition of the inheritance and the subject of the vindication legacy.

As part of this specialization, KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI must operate in the following legal environment of Polish and EU inheritance law:

Act of November 17, 1964, Code of Civil Procedure (uniform text, Journal of Laws of 2021, item 1805, as amended);

Act of 23 April 1964, the Civil Code (uniform text, Journal of Laws of 2022, item 1360, as amended) supplemented by executive acts applicable to inheritance matters;

over half a thousand executive acts;

1/4 million judgments of common courts in Poland published in an anonymised way as to the identity of the parties;

Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions, acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the establishment of a European Certificate of Succession (Journal of Laws No. UE. L. of 2012 No. 201, p. 107 as amended);

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1329/2014 of 9 December 2014 establishing the forms referred to in Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement, acceptance and execution of official documents relating to inheritance and on the establishment of a European Certificate of Succession (Journal of Laws of the EU. No. of 2014, No. 359, p. 30, as amended);

– Act of February 4, 2011 – International Private Law (uniform text, Journal of Laws of 2015, item 1792).