Inheritance debts after deceased relatives - how to avoid them?

Service Business

The inheritance is associated not only with a benefit, but also with obligations. Along with the property of the deceased close heir, he may also inherit his debts in full amount. How can you inherit inheritance debts and what to do to avoid it?

Inheritance methods

We will begin our discussion of this article with an introduction to the institution of inheritance in Polish civil law. Well, Polish inheritance law provides for two possibilities of inheritance.

  1. Direct inheritance - the essence of simple inheritance is that the heir after the death of the testator inherits all his property (assets and liabilities). In such a case, the inheritor bears full responsibility for the debts of the inheritance, and must take into account that the deceased's creditor may require him to repay the entire debt.

  2. Inheritance with the benefit of inventory - in a situation where we are dealing with inheritance with the benefit of inventory, the heir is not fully liable to repay the debts of his testator. This liability is limited only to the value of the property of the inheritance received. This type of inheritance is certainly a more advantageous solution than direct inheritance, because the creditor may demand repayment of his claim only up to the amount of the inheritance property, which is a favorable solution for the heir, as he does not have to cover the debt from his own personal property.

Inheritance debts after deceased relatives

In the past, the general rule adopted in the legal system was direct inheritance. This solution caused some harm on the part of the heir, because if, after receiving the inheritance within 6 months, he did not take any action (e.g. he did not reject the inheritance), he was obliged to bear full responsibility for the debts of his testator. A revolutionary change in this matter was introduced by the amendment to the Civil Code, which changed the statutory method of inheritance.

Namely, now the general principle of inheritance is inheritance with the benefit of inventory, i.e. with limited liability for inheritance debts from deceased relatives.According to the introduced regulations, the heir is obliged to prepare an inventory of all debts and assets of the estate: real estate, money, valuables, based on a special formula. The list drawn up in this way can be submitted to a notary public or to a court having jurisdiction over the place of the estate.

In order to avoid the inheritance of the debts of the estate, in addition to accepting the estate with the benefit of inventory, the heir may also reject the estate in full. The rejection of the inheritance results in the exclusion from the circle of people of inheritance and in the light of the law such a person is considered dead at the moment of opening the inheritance. The inheritance passes to the other heirs. In order for the rejection to be effective, it must be made in court or before a notary public within 6 months from the date of becoming aware of the fact of inheritance.

Another solution is inheritance renunciation, which is often confused with inheritance renunciation. The inheritance is waived in court or before a notary public, but while the testator is still alive. This solution is beneficial when we have information that our future testator, from whom we will legally inherit, is significantly indebted for an amount exceeding his entire property. The waiver of inheritance is an agreement between the testator and the future heir, which also affects the descendants of the heirs, i.e. his children and grandchildren.

Summing up, in order to avoid inheritance debts after the deceased, the legislator provided for three options. The first is the acceptance of the inheritance with the benefit of inventory, the second is the rejection of inheritance and the third is the renunciation of inheritance.