Inheritance - legal advice

Inheritance law

ATTENTION! automatic translation from Polish


Who can make a will?

A will can be made by any natural person with full legal capacity. Natural persons who have completed 18 years of age or before the age of 18 have entered into full legal capacity, and after reaching the age of 16, they got married. All these persons have full legal capacity if they have not been partially or completely incapacitated by a court decision. For a will to be valid, the person who draws it up must be able to make this decision consciously and freely and express his will. Nor can it work under the influence of error or threat.

How can you make a will?

There are 3 basic ways to make a will:

  • I. Notarial will - A will may be made in the form of a notarial deed. Such will will be made at the notary's office.
  • II. Holographic will - The testator may draw up a will in such a way that he writes it in full handwriting, signs it and dates it. Holographic will is the basic form of ordinary will. The person making the will must write it all by hand, which may be a hand-drawn document, and if the person is a cripple in the manner he normally uses, e.g. with his leg, mouth or prosthesis. Note - Do not type on a computer or typewriter! The language in which the will is made does not matter, because it is allowed to make a will in any language known to the testator. For example, a Polish citizen who speaks fluent English can make his will in that language.
  • III. Allographic will - The testator may also make a will in such a way that, in the presence of two witnesses, he will declare his last will orally to the head of the commune (mayor, city president), staroste, voivodship marshal, poviat secretary or commune office or head of the registry office. The official persons mentioned above are obliged to accept the declaration of will and draw up a report in the manner specified in the Act.

All of the above described methods have the same legal force and exert the same effects. For example, a notary will is NOT more important than your own, etc.

There are also special wills that can only be made in exceptional circumstances. These include: oral will, will made on a Polish ship or aircraft, and a military will.

Oral will

When can you make an oral will?

If there is a fear of the testator's imminent death or if due to special circumstances it is impossible or very difficult to keep the usual will, the testator may declare his last will orally with at least three witnesses present. The law sets a minimum number of witnesses, there should be at least three. Hence, a greater number of witnesses may participate in the act of testing. A lot of controversy is raised about the fear of the testator's imminent death.

Not always even the death of the testator, which follows soon after the oral will, allows us to assume that at the time of testing there was a fear of imminent death. By way of example, the testator's suicide can be given. it is assumed in the case-law that an oral will drawn up in terms of suicidal intent cannot be regarded as made in circumstances justifying the fear of imminent death.

How can you tell the content of the oral will?

The content of the oral will may be stated in such a way that one of the witnesses or a third party will write down the testator's statement within one year of its submission, specifying the place and date of the statement and the place and date of the letter, and the letter shall be signed by the testator and two witnesses or all witnesses. In the event that the content of the oral will has not been determined in the above manner, it can be confirmed within six months from the date of opening the inheritance by consistent testimony of witnesses submitted before the court. If the hearing of one of the witnesses is not possible or encounters obstacles that are difficult to overcome, the court may settle for the concurrent statements of two witnesses.

Can I cancel or change my will?

Yes, the testator has full freedom in this respect, the will is an action that is revocable. In order to revoke a will, the testator must express such a will - he can do it explicitly, e.g. by making a new will, in which the previous will is canceled, or by implication, e.g. by destroying the document, crossing it out with an appropriate annotation, etc. The person revoking a will does not have to indicate the reasons for canceling the will. You can also revoke the notarial will under the same conditions, you do not need to visit again at