One option for depriving an heir of the right to inheritance is that the Court finds him unworthy. The Court’s statement that a person is unworthy of inheritance excludes him from the circle of heirs, causing that under the law such a person is treated as if he had not survived the opening of the inheritance. This judgment also deprives the right to a reserved share, which requires that the person be in the circle of persons called to inherit from the act (deeming unworthy of inheritance excludes the person from that circle). The conditions for deeming it unworthy have been formulated in art. 928 § 1 of the Civil Code, which provides that: An heir may be considered unworthy by the court if: 1) intentionally committed a serious crime against the testator; 2) tricked or threatened the testator to draw up or revoke a will or in the same way prevented him from doing one of these activities; 3) intentionally hid or destroyed the testator’s will, forged or rewritten his will, or knowingly used a will by another person forged or forged. The above article lists the premises as a closed catalog, it means that these are the only premises that can be invoked in order to recognize a person as unworthy of inheritance, the use of analogies is not allowed, i.e. referring to similar behaviors of the heir, which are not acts described in art. . 928 § 1 of the Civil Code. Each of the above premises is self-contained, which means that the occurrence of any of them allows the exclusion of a person from the circle of heirs, without the need for subsequent premises.
The first condition referred to in art. 928 § 1 point 1 of the Civil Code. is the heir’s willful intentional crime against the testator. The concept of crime, its commission and deliberation should be analyzed in accordance with the principles of criminal law, while the Court in civil proceedings may decide on unworthiness from the abovementioned the reason also when no criminal proceedings were pending against the perpetrator. In the event that the heir is already convicted of a given act in criminal proceedings, the civil court is bound by a criminal sentence in respect of the perpetrator’s act and guilty act. However, regardless of whether the heir was convicted of a crime, the Court must assess whether the act committed to the detriment of the testator bears the mark of “serious crime”. This term is unknown to the doctrine of criminal law, so it should be interpreted in civil law. In the doctrine, the accepted views are that the trait of “gravity” can occur both when the act was a vice and a crime (belonging to one of these categories does not decide whether a given crime is or is not serious in the context of unworthy recognition). When making the assessment, the Court is guided by the circumstances of a particular case, which may mean that even a crime considered “light” in a particular case may be considered serious, e.g. due to the heirs’ bad will, inconvenience and harm caused to the testator. In addition, it must be emphasized that this must be an offense against the testator. Even the most serious crime against a person other than the testator will not fulfill this condition.
Examples: committing the offense of bodily injury (in particular serious bodily injury) as stipulated in art. 156 of the Penal Code), mistreatment of the testator (especially for a long time), committing a crime where the testator is injured (e.g. murder or attempted assassination), but also offenses if on the basis of the circumstances it can be concluded that they were heavy (e.g. theft of the testator’s money, which cannot be afforded through the purchase of medicines and, consequently, there is a significant deterioration of his health). Due to the birthmark in the premise, the assessment is the most blurred of the premises.
The second condition is unlawful influence on the testator in order to force him to make changes in the will or to prevent him from making them. In accordance with art. 928 § 1 point 2 of the Civil Code. the action of the heir may consist in persuading the testator to draw up or revoke a will, or in preventing the testator from drawing up or revoking a will. These actions must be carried out by deception or threat. The above terms are understood under civil law, in particular the provisions governing defects in declarations of will. Art. 86 of the Civil Code defines trick as deliberately causing someone else’s error. In turn, art. 87 of the Civil Code specifies that a declaration of intent was made under the influence of a threat, if the circumstances indicate that the person may have been afraid that he or her person or another person is in serious danger of property or personal. The purpose of art. 928 § 1 point 2 of the Civil Code. is to protect the testator’s freedom of testing, at the same time it should be noted that for the above condition to occur, the perpetrator’s actions must have the effect of drawing up or revoking a will, or of hindering one of the abovementioned cases. operations. The mere attempt will not be the basis for declaring the heir unworthy.
Examples: misleading the testator as to significant circumstances causing him to draw up or revoke a will (e.g. as to his / her heir’s addiction to alcohol / drugs), threat of using violence to make the abovementioned operations.
The last condition for deeming it unworthy is that the heir has committed an act against the will itself. In accordance with art. 928 § 1 point 3 of the Civil Code. these activities include:
1. Deliberate concealment or destruction of the testator’s will,
2. Deliberate forgery or forgiveness of the testator’s will,
3. Deliberate use of a will, counterfeit or forged by another person.
While the first two conditions are intended to ensure the testator’s freedom of testing, the purpose of the last condition is to protect the will made already against the heir’s unlawful actions. In addition, it should be noted that all of the above Prerequisites require the perpetrator to act intentionally and deliberately, i.e. the heir must be aware of his acts and perform them intentionally (from the point of view of criminal law, i.e. the perpetrator must want to accept or accept a given effect).
Finally, it should be noted that when citing the unworthiness of inheritance, the burden of proof, in accordance with art. 6 of the Civil Code rests with the person who derives legal effects from the fact. It is the person who applies for recognition of a given heir from inheritance that must prove this fact.