Many families which originated from Eastern Europe used to own properties there, however were forced to escape in the plight of WW2, in order to save themselves. Following the fall of Communism in these countries, under certain laws, nationalised properties were either returned to the heirs of the original property owners, or compensation was paid in respect of such properties. The legislation in respect of restitution of property is fairly complex and varies between and even within the different countries. Matters such as prescription and proof of ownership are only some of the challenges which require address.
The best chances of success are currently in Poland, albeit that there are significant hurdles to overcome in the way of substantiating a claim for restitution of property.
We require the client to provide us with copies of all relevant documents pertaining to the properties in question, proving ownership and a prima facie entitlement of the applicant to the property. In most cases, as such documents are not in the possession of the applicants, we conduct archive and Land Registry searches in Poland in order to assess the situation. Based on findings and analysis of the physical, legal and commercial status of a given property, we prepare a report which is then presented to the applicant, in which we assess the chances of a successful restitution claim and in which we address issues of financial feasibility and value of such properties.
Following the report, discussions are held with each applicant client in order to ascertain how he wishes to proceed and the various options as how to go about it.