What is a right of habitation as a part of a testamentary bequest?

What is a right of habitation as a part of a testamentary bequest?

A right of habitation in Poland is one of the types of personal easements, that is, granted to a specific person described by name. Such a person – referred to as a beneficiary – receives rights to use the house or apartment to the extent granted by the testator. The beneficiary may use the premises and facilities intended for the common use of the residents of the building.

The beneficiary of a right of habitation may allow people to occupy that apartment who are needed for the household.

The right of habitation expires at the latest with the death of the beneficiary. Earlier expiration of this right is possible, for example, when such a right has been unexercised for 10 years or the court decides to convert it to a pension. The right of habitation will also expire if the holder himself relinquishes it through a declaration with a notarized signature.

The apartment’s heirs are obliged to fulfill the beneficiary’s claim and fulfill the legacy. Thus, the beneficiary has a claim to fulfill the benefit of the simple bequest. The change of ownership has no effect on the beneficiary’s ability to continue using the premises.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the fact of receiving a right of habitation must be reported to the Polish Tax Office within 6 months from the date of the opening of the will/statement of inheritance issued by an inheritance court in Poland. Otherwise, the heir is at risk of paying tax.

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Inheritance in Poland