I’d like to know if I can legally disinherit my son. I’m having terrible problems with him lately. We frequently engage in shameful and scandalous verbal tussle to the point that we almost got into a fistfight. I feel that he does not respect me anymore. He often says bad things in front of me and my wife even in the presence of his siblings. Because of this, I am seriously contemplating if I can remove my son from those who will inherit from me when I die. Please advise me if this is possible. Thank you. God bless you all.
It appears from your narration that you want to disinherit your son because of the misdeeds he committed against you. Considering that this is your intention, it is important to point out that the law provides that your children are your compulsory heirs, which means that you cannot deprive them of their legitimes, or their share in your estate that you will leave behind upon your death, except in cases expressly provided by law. (Art. 904, Civil Code of the Philippines)
Despite the fact that your son is considered as a compulsory heir, the law expressly provides the causes and manner by which a compulsory heir maybe disinherited. According to Article 919 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the following grounds shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of children and descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate:
“(1) When a child or descendant has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants;
(2) When a child or descendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found groundless;
(3) When a child or descendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;
(4) When a child or descendant by fraud, violence, intimidation or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made;
(5) A refusal without justifiable cause to support the parent or ascendant who disinherits such child or descendant;
(6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant;
(7) When a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life;
(8) Conviction of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil interdiction.” (Emphasis supplied) As mentioned in this cited provision, one of the legal reasons for disinheriting a compulsory heir is due to “maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant.” This is applicable in your situation since you mentioned that your son verbally maltreated you in front of the rest of your family. Because of this, you may use this as a ground to legally disinherit your son which as a result will deprive him of his legitime.
It is important to note, however, that mere existence of a cause to disinherit a compulsory heir will not automatically cause the disinheritance of the said heir. It is required by law that you, as the testator, specifically mention your intention to disinherit your son and cite your reason for this in your last will and testament. By doing this, you will be able to legally effect your intention to disinherit your son in accordance with the law.
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 email@example.com