• Agnieszka Kozlik

    Advocate trainee, Duraj Reck & Partners Law Firm

30 January 2024

Rejecting an indebted inheritance on behalf of minors is now easier

An indebted, unwanted inheritance, often coming from a person with whom we had limited contact, is a real problem. This one becomes even bigger when it finally falls to minor children. The legislator has decided to meet the needs of parents who reject the inheritance due to the liabilities contained in it, and at the same time plan to do the same on behalf of their minor children. Until now, they needed a separate consent from the guardianship court for this purpose, which made it necessary to initiate another, complicated procedure.

What does the rejection of inheritance look like after the changes?

From November 15, 2023 Parents planning to reject an inheritance on behalf of their children can do so without applying for permission to enforce the so-called “Inheritance Agreement”. which goes beyond the ordinary administration of the child’s property. However, for this to be possible, they must meet the following conditions:

  • it is the parent who first rejects the inheritance on his or her own behalf;
  • the rejection of the inheritance on behalf of a minor child is made by the parent who has parental responsibility and does so with the consent of the other parent who also has parental responsibility, or both parents reject the inheritance jointly on behalf of the child;
  • The inheritance is also rejected by the minor’s siblings (other descendants of the child’s parents performing the act cf. Art. 101 § 4 of the Administrative Code).

In practice, this most often applies to situations in which a parent inherits an inheritance from a distant relative and then rejects it due to its debt or ignorance of what is included in the inheritance. In such cases, after the rejection of the inheritance by the parent, it passed to the parent’s minor children. If a parent wanted to reject the inheritance, they had to get permission from the guardianship court. Currently, he will no longer need such a permit.

In other cases, e.g. when only a minor has been appointed to the inheritance under the will, the existing rules will continue to apply, according to which the court’s consent is required for the outright acceptance or rejection of the inheritance.

How to reject an inheritance under the new rules?

If the above conditions are met, it is possible to reject the inheritance under the new rules. The rejection is made at the notary public by filing an appropriate statement for the record or before the court by filing an application for receipt of the declaration of rejection of inheritance

How much time do I have?

The amendments did not apply to the general rules for rejecting inheritance – the legislator still provides for a 6-month period for submitting a declaration of acceptance or rejection of inheritance. This period runs from the moment you become aware of the title of your appointment to the estate. This means that in the case of parents who first reject the inheritance on their own behalf, the 6-month period for filing a declaration on behalf of minors begins to run on the date of rejection of the inheritance by the parent.

Legal basis for the new rules:

Art. 101. [Zarząd majątkiem dziecka]

§ 1. – § 3. […]

§ 4. If a child is called to inherit as a result of a parent’s prior rejection of the inheritance, the act of rejecting the inheritance on behalf of the child by the parent who has parental responsibility in this respect when it is carried out with the consent of the other parent, who also has parental responsibility in this respect, or when it is carried out jointly, does not require the permission of the guardianship court, or, In the cases referred to in Article 6401 of the Law of 17 November 1964. – Code of Civil Procedure, probate court – if the inheritance is rejected by other descendants of the child’s parents. In the absence of a parental agreement, the provisions of § 3 shall apply.

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