Limitation of inherited debt – the creditor need not provide information on the debt At the time of the testator’s death, all rights and obligations relating to the property are transferred to the heirs. Debt also. Moreover, the decline in the form of debts passes to heirs even when they did not know about them.
Ignorance of non-bank loans or credits taken by the dead person does not absolve heirs from paying interest on the liability. In the absence of settlement of criminal claims, interest may be high.
It is worth emphasizing that the creditor is not obliged to notify the new debtor of the debt. What’s more, he does not even have to inform the heir about the initiation of judicial or enforcement proceedings. Civil law also does not specify the period within which the creditor must apply to the heir to pay the liability. If the creditor does not take any action to recover money (especially legal), there is a chance that the inheritance debt will be time-barred.
Limitation of claims does not involve limitation of debt
Limitation of claims in the legal nomenclature means that it becomes the so-called natural claim. This means that mere overdue debt does not cause its cancellation or expiry of the liability. Accordingly, the creditor has the right to request a refund, even if the debt itself is time-barred. Limitation in no way involves the cancellation of the debt.
However, citing art. 117 § 2 of the Civil Code, an heir may refuse to repay an inherited, past-due debt or settle it. Article 117 § 2 of the Civil Code says:
After the expiry of the limitation period, the person against whom the claim is entitled may evade its satisfaction, unless he renounces the prescription of limitation. However, the waiver of the prescription of limitation before the expiry of the period is void.
A waiver of the prescription of limitation is nothing but the payment of an overdue debt. You can relinquish a formal claim, but you can only do it if the debt is time-barred.
In the case of bank debts, the limitation period is 3 years
In order to explain the essence of limitation, we will use an example. A common occurrence is when the heir, having no knowledge of the testator’s debts, takes over all the property. Years later, in order to satisfy the claim, the creditor demands repayment of the debt.
Mr. Dariusz died in 2009. Two years earlier (March 2007), he took out a cash loan of 20,000. USD, for 5 years. The borrower repaid 24 out of 60 installments before his death. The only heir, Mr. Damian did not know about the debt. Therefore, the inheritance (property worth USD 200,000) was accepted without the benefit of inventory. The creditor has not demanded a refund for 10 years. After this time, the bank demanded to satisfy the outstanding debt together with interest.
Unless a special provision provides otherwise, the limitation period is ten years, and for claims for periodic benefits and claims related to business activity – three years.
Key to determining the date of limitation of the bank debt
The expiration date begins when the claim becomes due. So – the date of each loan installment must be exceeded. In the case of Mr. Damian, the last installment should be paid in March 2012. Accordingly, the entire commitment is barred in March 2015.
Due to the fact that the limitation period is not the same as debt cancellation, the bank has the right to demand repayment of the liability. Mr. Damian should report to the creditor with a written statement that the debt is past due and will not repay it. BUT – the above statement should be made only after the creditor has made claims!
Unfortunately, the creditor does not give up and goes to court. The court issues an order for payment and in this case, Mr. Damian has two options – paying the debt or citing the fact that the debt has expired. In this situation, the heir should submit a letter to the court alleging that the debt is time-barred. If the court finds that the debt has actually expired, then it will dismiss the creditor’s claim and the debt will be canceled.