Is a will made abroad valid?

Is a will made abroad valid?

In proceedings to determine the acquisition of inheritance, the court in Poland examines ex officio who the heir is. In the decision determining the acquisition of inheritance, the court in Poland lists the heirs and the amount of their respective shares. The right to inherit after a deceased person, according to Polish law, arises either from statutory provisions or from a will, with statutory inheritance occurring when the testator has not appointed an heir through a valid will. Disposition of property in the event of death can only be done through a will. Testamentary inheritance takes precedence over statutory inheritance. Parties to proceedings to determine the acquisition of inheritance are all individuals who may qualify as statutory or testamentary heirs. A will is invalid if, among other reasons, it was made in a state excluding conscious or free decision-making and expression of will.

Invalidity of a will for the above reason cannot be claimed after three years from the date on which the interested party became aware of the reason for invalidity, and in any case after ten years from the opening of the inheritance. There is no doubt that the last will of the testator can be expressed in any language known to the testator. The provisions of the Civil Code do not require the will to be necessarily drawn up in Polish. Therefore, it is possible and fully permissible for the testator to draw up a handwritten will in a foreign language, provided that they know it and their will is properly expressed in the will.

According to Article 35 of the Polish Act on Private International Law, the validity of a will and other legal acts in the event of death is governed by the testator’s national law at the time of these acts. However, it is sufficient to comply with the form prescribed by the law of the state in which the act is carried out. It follows from the above that a testamentary disposition is valid in terms of form, among others, when it is in accordance with the internal law of the place where the testator made the disposition. However, it may happen that the testator’s national law requires the will to be drawn up in a form required by the country where the proceedings to determine the acquisition of inheritance will take place. In such a case, if the will is not in accordance with Polish law, it may be invalid.

Establishing that the testator died on the territory of the Republic of Poland, where he or she resided permanently and had assets, justifies the jurisdiction of the Polish court in the proceedings to determine the acquisition of inheritance. Therefore, the Polish court may decide on the validity of the will of a foreigner, for example.

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Inheritance in Poland