Alex Wolf




Recovery of Nationalized and Expropriated Property in Poland

Contact:  Alex Wolf                e-mail:                Telephone:  302-351-6200

Kamienice in Gdańska
Gdańska - Kamienice, by Marcin Polak,
via Flickr click to view license

Kamienica, Kraków, ul. Basztowa 1 By Piotrekwas (Own work)
Kamienica, Kraków, ul. Basztowa 1 By Piotrekwas
(Own work) via Wikimedia Commons click to view license

Łódź Piłsudskiego Centrum Biznesu
Łódź- Piłsudskiego Centrum Biznesu (Piłsudskiego Business Centre), By Nemo5576 (Own work),
via Wikimedia Commons  click to view license


With the looming 2019 deadline, time is running out.

In view of this and the big disappointment with Project HEART, we suggest to potential claimants the following strategies to help them structure their recovery efforts efficiently (whether they work with us or not):

  1. Explore and define your potential claims with professionals, highly specialized in recovering properties in Poland. If you do this with us, there will be no charge for this step, in so far as client interviews and review of client documents is concerned.
  2. Do not expect that beyond an initial review, highly experienced professionals will work many hundreds of hours (more likely thousands of hours), on a purely contingent basis on mandates (projects), which take several years to fruition.
  3. Semi-contingent arrangements are still available from some seasoned professionals, including from our team.
  4. If prospects which emerge from preliminary review (item A above) are favorable, and there are joint heirs to a succession, assemble them to act together and to share expenses. If you assemble heirs working with us, we do not charge for related assistance (unless this task turns out to be unusually complex).
  5. Consider if in your Family, it would make sense for elderly heirs to transfer their inheritance rights in Poland to the next generation, who would then bear related costs. This has worked well for some families.
  6. When there are joint heirs, ensure that they act in concert to recover and monetize their inheritance in Poland. In such situations, we further suggest that:
    1. With special exceptions, joint heirs should bear costs in proportion to their share of their joint inheritance.
    2. When some of the joint heirs are willing but unable to pay their share of costs, other heirs may pay for them, all or a part of the relevant costs. The arrangement may be for the paying heirs to recover their outlay, with a bonus at the time claims are monetized in Poland.
    3. When some of the joint heirs are able but unwilling to pay their share of costs, other heirs may buy out their claims. The arrangement may be an outright purchase of inheritance rights, or may concern only the financing of recovery costs. In the latter case, the selling heirs may still receive a significant part of net recovery.
  7. Joint heirs should empower a Representative to act for all of them, towards  professionals, courts and governmental offices in Poland. Of course, joint heirs may replace their Representative. Failure to appoint a Representative can cause problems to the recovery and monetization efforts. Indeed, we have refused mandates from groups of heirs, who proved unable to empower Representatives.
  8. If the number of joint heirs is large, they may also want to appoint an Heirs’ Committee to advise the Representative.
  9. We have forms suitable for arrangements mentioned above in items D through H.
  10. Heirs, particularly foreign, should engage a team of specialized professionals, who collectively, possess the full range of skills required to:
    1. Obtain, in Poland and abroad, documents necessary for all proceedings:
      • Succession proceedings,
      • Proceedings to declare as deceased those of heirs’ legal predecessors who died or disappeared without death certificates having been issued,
      • Recovery proceedings,
      • All other incidental proceedings, which may be required, such as (rare) proceedings to recreate lost property registers or lost civil status documents.
    2. Conduct all above-mentioned proceedings.
    3. If monetization is a part of the contracted services, transparently and fairly monetize heirs’ recovered rights.

    We are proud to have all these skills within our team.

  11. Enter into recovery agreements which:
    1. Are comprehensive — include all work required, see item J above.
    2. Define all major milestones.
    3. Provide ongoing reporting to heirs, including copies of all official filings and all decisions / judgments — so that heirs may follow the progress.
    4. Comprise a significant component of contingent fees — so that the professionals have some skin in the game.
    5. Provide heirs with control over the monetizing — so that they actually receive fair amounts from the recovery.
  12. If required early on in the mandate, secure a supported approximate valuation of the recoverable value for all relevant properties — so that the heirs know the stakes. In some cases, such as lots of 1,000 m2 or more, located near the center of major Polish cities, sufficient values are obvious. In other cases, research is required to locate properties, determine the size of lots inherited and obtain information on buildings on these lots.
  13. As soon as feasible within a mandate, obtain from a specialized Polish attorney, a supported written legal opinion concerning the prospects for recovery of each relevant property.

    As a rule, this is only possible after obtaining restricted-access expropriation files (using documented proof of Legal Interest to gain access).
  14. In effect, steps mentioned in items L and M above constitute due diligence.
  15. Pursue recovery of only those properties, which have a sufficient recoverable value and reasonable prospects for recovery.
We practice these strategies, because they are fair to both sides and because they make complex projects manageable.

Łódź Piłsudskiego Centrum Biznesu
Downton Warsaw - Skyline - Cityscape
By Skitterphoto CC0 license

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