We need help in transferring the title of the land that my father inherited from my late grandmother. Right now, the title is still in the name of the person who sold the land to my grandmother but our family has been occupying the land and paying the taxes since I was little. We want to transfer the title but we lack one requirement, that is, the deed of sale from the seller to my grandmother. Apparently, it was lost in a flood. What can we do? Please advise us.
In order to transfer the title of the land that your grandmother bought, it is necessary to produce the deed of sale that the seller executed in favor of your grandmother. Without such deed, your father, as an heir of your deceased grandmother, would first have to go to court and prove that his family owns the subject land to secure a transfer certificate of title to the land.
Section 57 of the Property Registration Decree states, “An owner desiring to convey his registered land in fee simple an (unlimited manner) shall execute and register a deed of conveyance in a form sufficient in law. The deed of conveyance shall be filled and indorsed with the number and the place of registration of the certificate of title of the land conveyed.” Consequently, a deed of conveyance executed by the registered owner of the land is one of the primary requirements that the concerned register of deeds would ask before the transfer of land title is made. Hence, if it is possible to secure a copy of the deed of sale from other sources, such as the seller or his heirs, or the notary public if the deed of sale was notarized, I advise you to do so in order to comply with the legal requirements for transferring a land title.
If such measure proves impractical or impossible, however, your father may need to file a case in court and prove that his family owns the land by virtue of the sale made by the registered owner in favor of his deceased mother to facilitate the transfer of his title. For this purpose, your father would have to present secondary evidence under Section 5 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court allowing a party to prove the contents of a document, which is lost or destroyed, by presenting a copy, or by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses.
In such a case, the existence of the document, its content and execution, and subsequent loss must all be proved. The execution of a document may be established by the person or persons who executed it, by the person before whom its execution was acknowledged, or by any person who was present and saw it executed or who, after its execution, saw it and recognized the signatures, or by a person to whom the parties to the instrument had previously confessed its execution (De Vera vs. Aguilar, 218 SCRA 602).
We hope we were able to sufficiently address your concern. Please bear in mind that this opinion is based on the facts you narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary if facts are changed or elaborated.
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