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Inheritance law. Work is underway on the regulation of oral wills

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A will in audiovisual form is a new proposal being developed by the Ministry of Justice. Part of the regulation regarding the preparation of oral wills in the presence of witnesses is also to be changed. The problem of conflicting inheritance judgments is also to be solved.

On Wednesday, a draft act amending the Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure was published on the list of the Government Legislation Center. The changes concern inheritance law. In addition to adding a new form of will and modifying the “ordinary” oral will, the proposal presented by the Ministry of Justice is intended to enable the court to annul – also ex officio – another inheritance decision relating to an inheritance in respect of which a final decision has already been made.

The initiation of work on a draft amendment to the civil and civil procedure codes regarding these issues was announced in March. This issue is dealt with by Deputy Minister of Justice Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz.

Audiovisual testament. New form

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The bill contains an innovative solution – an audiovisual oral will. This is intended to be a new way of consolidating the content of an oral will.

The possibility of preparing a will on an audiovisual medium is to be limited only to special situations. Therefore, they will be available in situations where it is not possible to prepare a will in writing, e.g. in the event of a life-threatening situation due to injuries suffered in a car accident or a heart attack. This form will not require the presence of witnesses.

“Expanding the scope of forms of documentation of an oral declaration will contribute to the achievement of the basic purpose of this form, which is to prepare a specific form 'last chance will' without prejudice to the assessment of the credibility of the fact of testing and confirming the content of the will,” we read in the justification for the project. The project author emphasizes that nowadays almost everyone usually has a smartphone or other mobile phone with a camera and the ability to record, and this method of recording a will may be the only means convey your will.

It was also explained that “the evidentiary value of the recording of the testator's statement will depend on the condition of the medium on which the recording was placed, the quality, content, circumstances and purposes of such a recording.”

It was added that “from a technical point of view, the preparation of an audiovisual will should depend only on the possibility of recording images and sounds using a device recording information on a durable medium, enabling their reproduction.”

Preparing a new oral will

The Ministry of Justice also proposed changes to the current form of an 'ordinary' oral will. The project envisages tightening the conditions for preparing this type of document. The mere existence of fear of the testator's imminent death or the mere existence of special circumstances is not enough. Once the regulations are changed, they will have to happen together and suddenly.

“This change alone should significantly contribute to reducing attempts to falsify oral wills,” the justification for the project explains.

Moreover, the drafter wants the testator to be able to declare his last will orally at the simultaneous presence of at least three witnesses. Moreover, the will will have to be drawn up within a maximum of one month from its preparation by one of the witnesses, specifying the place and date of submitting the declaration of will, the place and date of preparing the letter and indicating the circumstances justifying the preparation of the will. It will have to be signed by the testator and two witnesses or all witnesses. If this is not done, all witnesses will have to testify in court before the opening of the inheritance.

“After the change in the provision, there should therefore be no doubt that the content of an oral will can only be confirmed during the testator's lifetime, while after his death, i.e. after the opening of the inheritance, the only permissible way to determine the content of an oral will is its confirmation in court through consistent testimony of witnesses.” – explains the designer.

Moreover, the amendment shortens the period of validity of a special will from six to three months.

No more conflicting rulings

Another proposed change concerns a systemic solution to the problem of conflicting inheritance judgments. The project is intended to introduce a new procedure enabling the annulment of inheritance judgments issued in previously resolved cases. Courts are to ex officio annul repeated inheritance decisions. The idea is to solve the problem of the simultaneous occurrence in legal transactions of subsequent judgments regarding the inheritance of the same person.

It was indicated that in such cases the court should only examine the fact of issuing another final decision confirming the acquisition of inheritance regarding the same inheritance. The decision may be issued at a closed session. There will be a right to appeal against them.

“The existence of two or more final decisions confirming the acquisition of inheritance from the same testator is a pathological phenomenon and a systemic dysfunction” – he explains. Ministry of Justice.

The regulations regarding military wills are also expected to change. Moreover, the travel will is to be completely liquidated.

Author:Paulina Karpińska

Main photo source: Maxim Bogdanovich/Shutterstock

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