2010 | 19 | 1 | 131-172
Article title

ADMINISTRATION OF THE INHERITED ESTATE BY THE HEIR WHO REJECTED THE INHERITANCE (Zarzad spadkiem przez spadkobierce, który spadek odrzucil)

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According to art. 925 and art. 924 Polish Civil Code (PCC) the heir acquires inheritance in the moment of death of the deceased, but is entitled to reject it. In many cases he may take inherited estate under his administration or obtain certificate of inheritance, and still be entitled to reject. Therefore he may dispose of inherited property (partially or completely), acquire new one in exchange, pay some liabilities of the inheritance or oblige himself in relation to inherited rights, and then reject the inheritance. Art. 1021 PCC provides that rules of voluntary services (art. 752-757 PCC) apply correspondingly to relations between the rejecting heir, and the heir who eventually acquires it. According to them the definitive heir is generally obliged to refund justifiable expenses incurred by the rejecting heir and to release him from obligations. The second one is obliged to compensate the first for changes in the administered estate which were not necessary or beneficiary. If the rejecting heir did not obtain the certificate of inheritance the parties contracting with him are protected only by general rules of acquiring rights from non-owner. He retains ownership of the property acquired in exchange for inherited property, and he is still personally liable for obligations incurred by him with regard to inherited estate. Liabilities of the inheritance were successfully discharged by him only if the creditor accepted his performance. He was not entitled to discharge them using substituted modes of performance such as performance in lieu of promised performance or set-off. The situation changes substantially if the rejecting heir obtained the certificate of inheritance. Then the third person acting in a good faith may successfully acquire from him all kinds of inherited rights, because acting on the presumption established by the certificate of inheritance is protected, unless it can be proved, that the third person knew that the certificate was incorrect or could have known it, if he had acted with due diligence. This protection is however restricted to dispositions of inherited rights made by the person who obtained the certificate (art. 1028 PPC). Difficult problems may occur in case of unilateral declarations made by rejecting heir. On the other hand ratification by the definitive heir (art. 756 PPC) is only of limited importance.
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  • Wojciech Zukowski, ul. Hetmanska 5/21, 30-528 Kraków, Poland
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