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2023 – A Year of Revolution in Inheritance Law (Part I)

23 June 2023

Everything indicates that we are facing a revolution in inheritance law in 2023. What is important, the planned changes seem to be beneficial for future successors. According to the Ministry of Justice, the new rules will shorten inheritance proceedings and increase the legal security of successors.

The planned changes to the inheritance law affect several areas. Among these they anticipate:

  1. assisting minors and totally incapacitated persons to accept or reject an inheritance on time;
  2. limiting the scope of successors;
  3. extending the catalogue of independent premises for a court to declare a successor unworthy of inheritance;
  4. granting permission by the court of succession for the rejection or simple acceptance of the succession;
  5. shorter validity of special testaments;
  6. modification of the premises which guarantee the validity of an oral testament and the means of stating it;
  7. removal of the institution of a travel testament;
  8. modification of the circumstances in which a military testament can be created;
  9. limiting the scope of persons who can be witnesses to a testament.

As you can see, there are a lot of planned changes and they will be introduced in several stages. Therefore, we would like to invite you to a series of articles on changes in Polish inheritance law. Some the planned changes are briefly described below.

If you have any doubts regarding succession issues, we invite you to contact the team of FORTON Legal Łatała i Wspólnicy sp. k.



On 16 June 2023, the Act amending the Civil Code Act and certain other acts (No. 2977) was passed by the Parliament and four days later it was forwarded to the Speaker of the Senate. It is expected that the Senate will pass the bill without any major changes and that the legislation will become effective in 2023. This is due to the fact that, pursuant to the draft,  most of the provisions are expected to enter into force three months after publication in the Journal of Laws.


  1. The government said that the amendments are intended to better protect the position of successors, in particular minors and persons who are totally incapacitated, by making it easier for their parents or guardians to make a declaration on their behalf regarding acceptance or rejection of the succession within statutory deadline. The submission of such a declaration by a legal representative requires the authorization of the guardianship court as an act exceeding the scope of ordinary administration. Filing a written request for the court’s consent, obtaining its approval, and then accepting or rejecting the succession on behalf of a minor or totally incapacitated person, as the case may be, is in practice difficult to achieve within a period of only six months from the date of becoming aware of the person’s appointment to the succession. This requires immediate action by the parent or guardian upon becoming aware of the appointment. This problem has finally been recognized by the legislator and the proposed amendments provide for the suspension of the abovementioned six-month deadline for the duration of the proceedings for obtaining the court’s consent to make a declaration of acceptance or rejection of the succession, on behalf of the child or person under guardianship.


  1. Excluded from the succession are the further descendants of the testator’s grandparents, the so-called cousin or descendant grandchildren and further generations. In the case of descendants of grandparents who have not lived to see the opening of the succession, the group of legal successors will therefore be limited to the children of these grandparents, i.e. the siblings of the testator’s parents, and the children of these siblings. This solution should shorten the duration of the proceedings and reduce the need for the court to seek out further heirs and to have them called to court.


  1. The premises of unworthiness of the inheritance will be expanded to include behaviour consisting in persistent evasion of performing alimony obligations towards the testator (defined as regards to the amount by a court decision, a settlement concluded in front of a court or other authority or another agreement) or performing a duty of care over the testator. These will be additional independent grounds for declaring succesor unworthy of the inheritance in addition to the existing ones: committing a serious crime against the testator intentionally, persuading the testator by deceit or threat to draw up or revoke a testament or preventing the testator by deceit or threat to carry out one of these acts, intentionally concealing or destroying the testator’s testament, falsifying or altering it, or the deliberate use by another person of a falsified or altered testament. This amendment is justified because it seems unacceptable that the inheritance of a testator should be received by a person who, by his or her reprehensible omission, made it impossible during the testator’s lifetime to meet the testator’s basic living needs.


  1. The new solution delegates to the inheritance court the competence to examine requests for authorisation to act beyond the scope of ordinary administration of the estate in the form of simple acceptance or rejection of the succession during the succession proceedings. Currently, these matters are dealt with in proceedings before the competent guardianship court, outside the succession proceedings. The adoption of this change in the rules should contribute to reducing the case load of the family divisions of the district courts. This solution is also convenient for the parties, as it may create the possibility of deciding the succession comprehensively in a single proceeding. It will not be necessary to postpone the hearing before the inheritance court, as is now practised, in order to allow the parties to obtain the consent of the guardianship court to reject the inheritance.



We will keep you informed of the final version of the adopted changes, so we encourage you to keep an eye on our website.


Angelika Ciżyńska-Pałosz, PhD


Angelika Ciżyńska-Pałosz, PhD

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