Most heirs believe that by demanding an inventory of the estate(Section 1706 Coll) in the succession procedure, they will be liable for the testator’s debts only up to the value of the inheritance received. First, you should know that a notary public is obligated to inform heirs of their right to demand an inventory of the estate.(Section 1675 Coll)
However, heirs are not informed further that in case a testator’s creditor comes up after the succession procedure is finalized, demanding payment of their claim which was not subject to the succession procedure, which means that the creditor’s claim has not been satisfied, the heirs will be obligated to satisfy the creditor’s claim at least in the amount the creditor would obtain if the estate was liquidated due to excessive debts(Section 1713 Coll). No “stop-loss” triggered by demanding an inventory of the estate will apply in this case. The heirs’ obligation to satisfy the newly appearing creditor even goes so far that the heirs must partially satisfy the creditor’s claim even from their own assets (if the estate assets or the value of the inheritance received have been already depleted by satisfying other creditors’ claims in the succession procedure).
Heirs may prevent the afore-mentioned from happening by making a so called convocation of creditors(Section 1711 Coll), after having demanded an inventory of the estate. A condition for the convocation of creditors is the prior demand for an inventory of the estate. If you use these institutes, the court, that is the notary public, will put up a notification on official board for any testator’s creditors to register their claims with the court within 30 days. Creditors who fail to do so within that period may no longer make their claims to the testator (heir) after the succession procedure is finalized, provided that the estate has been already depleted by payments of creditors’ claims registered within the respective period, which are to be satisfied in full or on a proportionate basis, depending on the value of the estate(Section § 1712 (1) Coll). The consequences of convocation of creditors are not, however, applicable without an exception; they will not apply in case of secured creditors or creditors whose claims were known to the heir(Section 1712 (2) Coll).
What does it all mean for heirs? Do not rely on the information from a court commissioner only but use all remedies available to you under the law, i.e. do not only demand an inventory of the estate but make the convocation of creditors as well, making sure that you do not end up paying to creditors more than what the value of the estate is.
Mgr. Lenka Slámová,
Junior Attorney, AK Pajerová s.r.o.
20 May 2020