Inheritance debts – what can you do to decline your debts?

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The death of a loved one is a very painful experience. In some cases it can also be associated with serious financial problems. A deceased person may leave behind debts, the amount of which significantly exceeds the value of the estate.

Is there anything you can do not to inherit your debt? What steps should you take to prevent problems that create inheritance debts?

Who can inherit debts from a deceased person?

Who can inherit debts from a deceased person?

In Poland, issues related to statutory inheritance are regulated by the Civil Code. An heir may be a person who lives when the inheritance opens. There are two types of inheritance – statutory and testamentary. Depending on whether the testator has left a will or not, the inheritance order is determined as follows:

  1. Persons named in the will.
  2. Spouse and children of the testator – they inherit equally if the children are three. In the case of more children, the spouse receives a quarter of the estate and the children receive the remaining part divided equally. Illegitimate children and those adopted in the field on the same terms as children from marriages.
  3. The testator’s grandchildren – inherit when the deceased’s child is dead or renounces the estate. Grandchildren receive the part of the inheritance that would belong to their parent – equally for each grandchild.
  4. The testator’s parents – if the children and grandchildren are dead or have rejected the estate, the estate is inherited by the spouse and the testator’s parents. The estate is divided in half – the half receives the spouse, and the other half is divided between the mother and father of the testator.
  5. The testator’s siblings – inherits when at least one of the parents entitled to the inheritance is dead or renounced. The value of the inheritance intended for a parent is divided equally among his or her living children.
  6. Descendants of the testator’s siblings – they inherit when their parent is dead or has renounced his estate. The value of the decline intended for the parent is divided in equal parts into descendants.
  7. The testator’s grandparents – if all the persons mentioned above are dead or have given up their succession, the testator’s grandparents are entitled to receive it. Each of the four grandparents is due a quarter of the inheritance.
  8. Descendants of the testator’s grandparents – if grandparents are dead or have renounced their succession, the next persons who are entitled to inherit the inheritance are their children and grandchildren.

Preserve – what is it? Who and when is due?


Every testator has the right to freely dispose of his own assets. He can make a will or make a donation. However, if the testamentary entries and other activities carried out by the testator omit closely related persons, for example children, it is possible to assert their rights through a reserved share. What is the share? Who is entitled to? When can you apply for it?

Inheritance debts – how to check if the deceased person had debts?

Inheritance debts - how to check if the deceased person had debts?

Sometimes it happens that even the immediate family is unaware that the deceased had any debts. Some take loans without the knowledge of spouses or children. Debts may also result from a delay in payment for current bills for housing, electricity, water, gas, telephone subscription or television. The deceased who ran their own business could leave debts due to unpaid invoices, liabilities to employees or contractors.

Therefore, before deciding to accept an inheritance, it is worth checking to see if the deceased had any debts.

How can this be done? Here are some ways:

  • ask other family members if the deceased had financial problems
  • review documents and bills of the deceased – if they had any debts, there are probably notices of late payment somewhere, unpaid invoices or bills
  • submit an application for an inventory to be taken in a court or bailiff’s office – then the testator’s assets and assets will be valued
  • submit an inquiry in the BIK or BIG register – it is enough to show the death certificate of the testator and refer to the proceedings regarding the acquisition of the inheritance to receive information about the debtor’s possible debts – however, sometimes this type of data is only transferred to persons who have decided to accept the inheritance

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