I want to know the manner of sharing between me and my husband in a property we received from my husband’s brother in his last will and testament. He named the two of us as recipients of his undivided land in the province without specifying how the property will be divided between us. My husband died shortly before his brother’s own death, so it appears that my brother-in-law’s last will was made way back. I wonder how much will I receive from the inheritance given to me and my deceased husband as a couple. Thank you in advance for your advice.
To answer your question, we refer to provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines regarding the principles of accretion in testamentary succession, to wit:
“Article 1015. Accretion is a right by virtue of which, when two or more persons are called to the same inheritance, devise or legacy, the part assigned to the one who renounces or cannot receive his share, or who died before the testator, is added or incorporated to that of his co-heirs, co-devisees or co-legatees. (n)
“Article 1016. In order that the right of accretion may take place in a testamentary succession, it shall be necessary: (1) That two or more persons be called to the same inheritance, or to the same portion thereof, pro indiviso; and (2) That one of the persons thus called dies before the testator, or renounce the inheritance or be incapacitated to receive it. (928a)” (Emphasis supplied)
The aforementioned provisions fall squarely on your situation. Based on your narration, you and your husband inherited a piece of land together that makes the two of you co-devisees. In addition to this, your husband as a co-devisee died before your brother-in-law, who is the testator, passed away. As such, accretion applies in the inheritance that you and your husband should receive from your brother-in-law’s last will and testament.
Since accretion is applicable to your situation, you are entitled to get the share of your co-devisee as part of your own share. As stated in another provision of the Civil Code:
“Article 1020. The heirs to whom the inheritance accrues shall succeed to all the rights and obligations which the heir who renounced or could not receive it would have had. (984)”
Therefore, through accretion, you shall receive as your own the share of your deceased husband in the subject property left by a last will.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org