I am an OFW who has spent most of my life working to earn money, enabling me to acquire pieces of land in our province. Realizing that I have more than what I actually need, and since I do not have a family of my own, I decided that I will donate a piece of land to my sister so that she may use it for her own family. I was informed by a friend that there is a required way of doing it to ensure that it is legally transferred to my sister. Because of this, I want to know the legal procedure in donating a piece of land. Thank you in advance for your advice.
The answer to your query is found in the provision of the Civil Code of the Philippines regarding donation, which states:
“Article 725. Donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it.“
By this definition, you as a donor voluntarily transfers ownership over a property to your intended recipient who in turn accepts the donated property as a donee.
Your friend is correct in saying that there is indeed a formal requirement specified by law in donating a property depending on the nature of the property donated. For immovable pieces of property such as the piece of land that you intend to donate to your sister, the law provides:
“Article 749. In order that the donation of an immovable may be valid, it must be made in a public document, specifying therein the property donated and the value of the charges which the donee must satisfy.
“The acceptance may be made in the same deed of donation or in a separate public document, but it shall not take effect unless it is done during the lifetime of the donor.”
“If the acceptance is made in a separate instrument, the donor shall be notified thereof in an authentic form, and this step shall be noted in both instruments.”
In other words, in order to have a valid donation, the law requires that a deed of donation be executed in a public document indicating the details of the property to be donated and conditions for the donations, if any. It is also required that the person receiving the donation expressly manifests her conformity in receiving the donation in the same document of donation or in a separate document but which must be executed within the lifetime of the donor. These formal requirements in the preparation and execution of a deed of donation must be fully observed in order to have an actual valid donation.
To completely transfer by donation your property to your sister’s name, you will also need to proceed to the Assessor’s Office where your subject property is located for its tax assessment and zonal classification. Also, you need to pay the proper real property tax with the Treasurer’s Office and including the necessary donor’s tax with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. After paying the necessary legal fees and taxes, you may then proceed to the Registry of Deeds for the transfer of the title of the property to your sister’s name. These are the necessary procedures to ensure that your donation of your land to your sister will be legally valid.
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