A deed of self-adjudication is only valid if there is no other heir to the estate

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My mother raised my brothers and me all by herself. We are all adults now and I am the only one who has yet to start my own family. My father never married my mother, neither did he own up to his obligations. He just abandoned us and never came back for us when his life got better. My mother passed away last year. I have told my brothers several times to partition the property left by our mother but they are not cooperating. I really want to get my share already. Can I just execute a deed of self-adjudication? Please advice. Thank you.

Dear Aga,
Succession is a mode of acquisition whereby the property owned by the decedent, as well as his rights and obligations are transferred upon his demise to his heirs, devisees and legatees (Article 774, New Civil Code of the Philippines).

Appropriately, there is no question that you can inherit from your mother. Being her illegitimate child, you are considered as one of her compulsory heirs. (Article 887, id). However, it will not be proper for you to execute a deed of self-adjudication because you are not the only heir. As you have mentioned in your letter, you have brothers who equally have a right to inherit from your late mother. Let us emphasize that a deed of self-adjudication may only be validly executed if there is only one heir to the estate of the decedent (Section 1, Rule 74, Rules of Court).

It will thus be prudent for you to have a talk with your brothers and inform them of your desire to obtain your share of the property left by your late mother. If your mother left no will and no debt, and you and your brothers come to an agreement as to the division of the subject property, all of you must execute an affidavit pertaining to the extrajudicial settlement of the estate of your mother.

Nevertheless, if your brothers do not wish to cooperate, you may opt to file an ordinary action of partition before the court. If, during the trial, you and your brothers are still unable to agree on the division of the property, the court will appoint no more than three competent and disinterested persons as commissioners to make the partition (Section 3, Rule 69, Rules of Court). If partition is still not feasible as it will prejudice the interests of the parties, the commissioners may sell the property or assign it to one of you after payment of the shares of your siblings. Thereafter, the commissioners will submit a report to the court.

If the court finds everything in order, it will render its judgment based therein.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net


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