I need your advice regarding the rights of an heir. I am the only child of my parents. My father died last year. My parents built a house on a parcel of lot belonging to my grandparents. However, the lot where our house is built is still left undivided.
Succession is the mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law (Article 774, Civil Code). It is to be noted that the right to succession and the amount of successional right are up to the extent of the value of the inheritance.
The rights to succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent (Article 777,Ibid.). Hence, upon the death of your father, the conjugal partnership of your mother and father is dissolved. As a result of the said dissolution, half of the properties goes to your mother as her share of the conjugal properties.
The other half of the estate which constitutes your father’s share to the conjugal properties shall be divided between you and your mother as compulsory heirs and goes to both of you as your legitime. Legitime is that part of the testator’s property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for certain heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs, as provided for under Article 887 of the Civil Code, thus:
(1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants;
(2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children and descendants;
(3) The widow or widower;
(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction;
(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in Article 287.”
As an heir to your father, you have the right to demand from your mother, the partition of your inheritance. You may opt to file a case for the Judicial Settlement of the Estate of your father or you may talk to your mother so that you can properly execute an Extrajudicial Settlement of the Estate of your father.
You mentioned that the house that your parents built was constructed on a lot which belonged to your deceased grandparents, and is still left undivided. You did not mention, however, if your father was the only child of your grandparents or he had other siblings. This is a very important fact so that we can answer you properly with your query. It is then to our understanding that the lot did not belong to your parents and this fact has a legal implication on your rights as an heir to your father.
It is on this note that we wish to invite you to visit the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) nearest to the place of your residence to give us more details about your query so that we can give you our appropriate legal advice on the matter. You may also call our PAO hotline: (02)426-2075, (02)426-2801, (02)426-2450, (02)426-2987, (02)426-2683 or (02)929-9436 local 106 or 107 during office hours, and local 159 after office hours.
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