Atlas

Poland

Polish family and succession law recognize one form of couple's relationship:

  • MARRIAGE between persons of opposite sex.

This is regulated by the Family and Guardianship Code.

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DISCRIMINATORY RULES

Marriage is the only legally recognized form of a family union and limited to persons of opposite sex. Persons living in informal unions (heterosexual or homosexual) enjoy no rights under family or sucession law.

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Links to applicable regulations

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MARRIAGE 

  • The default matrimonial property regime is the community of property.

The statutory community of property regime takes effect upon conclusion of the marriage. It includes assets acquired by the spouses during the marriage, more precisely: remuneration or salary; income from the community property as well as from each of the spouses’ personal property (e.g. rental income); benefits from an open/employee pension fund; household appliances used by the spouses if they were acquired by inheritance/donation unless the testator/donor decided otherwise. Assets excluded from the community regime are treated as a personal property of each spouse. More precisely these are: assets acquired before the community of property regime took effect, assets acquired by inheritance or donation unless the testator or donor decided otherwise, assets which exclusively are being used for one spouse’s personal needs, inalienable rights to which only one person may be entitled, assets received as a compensation for damages for a bodily injury or a health disorder or for harm suffered, claims for remuneration from work, assets obtained as a reward for a spouse’s personal achievements and assets acquired in exchange for personal assets unless particular provisions provide otherwise, property rights resulting from a joint ownership of property subject to separate regulations, copyrights and related rights, intellectual property rights or other author’s rights.

Spouses may extend or restrict the statutory community of property regime or establish a separation of property regime or a separation of property regime with equalization of accrued gains by means of a marriage contract, before entering into marriage or during the marriage. If not cocluded before a notary, the marrigae contract is null and void. The marriage contract may be modified. If terminated during the marriage, the statutory community of property regime applies between the spouses unless the spouses have decided otherwise.

Community property may be divided by the court or by an agreement that should be concluded before the notary.

  • In event of a death of a spouse the succession regime applies.

Intestate succession is a default way of succession in Poland. In the first place the statutory heirs are the spouse and descendants. The spouse’s share cannot be less than one-quarter of the entire estate.

If, in case of testate succession, a family member who would inherit on a basis of intestate succession, has the right to demand a certain amount of money by way of legitim from those heirs who received all or most of the assets under the will. Family members entitled to these claims include descendants, the spouse and the parents of the testator. They are entitled to receive an equivalent of a half of the share of inheritance that they would have received under intestate inheritance. If the entitled person is a minor or is permanently incapacitated, he/she may claim an equivalent of two-thirds of such a share.

 

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COHABITATION

  • There is no possibility to regulate property regime within civil partnership/cohabitation.

  • Partners (living in civil partnerships) as aliens are not included in any group of the heirs. Consequently, in the absence of a will, they have no rights of inheritance according to the Civil Code.

Based on national report provided by Mateusz Wąsik