When can a son refuse to support and disinherit his mother?

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I had an argument with my 38-year-old son last May, and we have not spoken with each other up to this day. He has been ignoring my calls, and I believe that he does not want to provide support for my medication. I am now 66 years old and my only source of finances is my meager pension of P2,500.00 per month, while he has a stable job in a known company here in Manila, and is earning about P30,000.00 a month. Can I insist for him to send me support? I learned from one of his friends that he made a document stating that I will not be able to inherit from him should he pass away before I do. Is this possible?
Minda

Dear Minda,
Support is an obligation embraced under our laws. Although we commonly associate the term support with the obligation of the parents to their children, it should be emphasized that such obligation is not limited only to them. It is explicitly mentioned under our Family Code:

“Art. 195. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

The spouses;
Legitimate ascendants and descendants;


Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;
Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and
Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood.” (Emphasis supplied)

Based on the facts that you have shared, we submit that you may lawfully demand support from your son because you have medical needs, you have inadequate means to provide for yourself, and it appears that he has sufficient financial capacity to provide for your needs.

On the document that your son allegedly executed to disinherit you, we submit that it may only have a legal effect if it is made in the form of a will and with a valid cause recognized under the law. This is pursuant to Article 916 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which states that “(d)isinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause therefor shall be specified.”

As provided under Article 920 of this law, only the following shall be considered sufficient causes for the disinheritance of parents or ascendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate:

“(1) When the parents have abandoned their children or induced their daughters to live a corrupt or immoral life, or attempted against their virtue;

(2) When the parent or ascendant has been convicted of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants or ascendants;

(3) When the parent or ascendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found to be false;

(4) When the parent or ascendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;

(5) When the parent or ascendant by fraud, violence, intimidation or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made;

(6) The loss of parental authority for causes specified in this code;

(7) The refusal to support the children or descendants without justifiable cause;

(8) An attempt by one of the parents against the life of the other, unless there has been a reconciliation between them.”

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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