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Poland Supporting Elderly Persons in Polish Family and Succession Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2019

Małgorzata Balwicka-Szczyrba
Affiliation:
Professor of Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, Department of Civil Law, University of Gdańsk, Poland
Anna Sylwestrzak
Affiliation:
Professor of Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, Department of Civil Law, University of Gdańsk, Poland
Marcin Glicz
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law and Administration, Department of Civil Law, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

The legal rights of elderly persons as embedded within human rights arise from international conventions. Clear trends can be identified in Europe towards a further strengthening of the legal situation of this social group. Research on the laws regarding maintenance of elderly persons who cannot support themselves is consistent with that trend.

In the context of Polish civil law, the need for providing elderly persons with tangible support, on the grounds that their ability to earn a livelihood declines and their health condition deteriorates in the course of time, is justifiable by strong ethical considerations. The fact that seniors in Poland are entitled to file claims for maintenance under the provisions of the Polish Civil Code and the Polish Family and Guardianship Code demonstrates a cross-generational solidarity grounded in a fundamental principle whereby the working-age population lends the elderly a helping hand in exchange for their experience and assistance. Family bonds play a crucial role in that context because they give rise to the maintenance obligation as well as provide grounds for quasimaintenance claims to which the decedent's grandparents are entitled.

The object of this chapter is to discuss the question of maintenance for elderly persons in Polish family and succession law and determine whether the adopted solutions provide adequate protection to the legal interests of this growing social group. Owing to increased cross-border migration, the chapter also raises issues of conflict of laws to the extent that they relate to maintenance.

THE RELEVANCE OF RESEARCH ON THE PROBLEM OF OLD-AGE MAINTENANCE

Taking into consideration the current demographic situation, there are a number of phenomena related to maintenance in its wide sense, which used to be quite negligible in the past, but which are now emerging with growing frequency. Owing to a lengthening of the average human lifespan, old age is now becoming an increasingly longer stage in life, thereby giving rise to maintenance obligations enforceable not only against adult children, but also grandchildren or even great-grandchildren.

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Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2018

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