Formal requirements in donating property

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I would like to know the legal procedures in donating a land. My father decided to donate to me his property as an act of gratitude and to show his appreciation to me for taking care of him and my mother when they were in a bad situation. We would like to do it legally, so I would like to know how I could transfer the property to my name and use it for my own family. We hope you can give us advice on this matter. Thank you in advance!

Dear Bruce,
To understand the procedure of donating a property, it is important to understand first the nature of donation as a legal act. According to law:

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 (Civil Code of the Philippines).

As clearly defined by the above-cited law, donation is a legally recognized act of voluntarily transferring ownership over a property by the owner to his intended recipient who in turn accepts the donated property.

The law provides for specific formal requirements in donating a property depending on the nature of the property being donated. For immovable properties such as the land that will be donated to you by your father, the law provides that:

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 (Civil Code of the Philippines).

In other words, for there to be 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 the conditions for the donation, if any. It is also required that the person receiving the donation expressly manifests his/her conformity in receiving the donation in the same document 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 to have a valid donation.

With regard to your concern on processing the donation in order to transfer the donated property to your name, you would need to proceed to the Assessor’s Office where the property is located for the tax assessment and zonal classification of the subject land. You would also need to pay the real property tax of the land at the Treasurer’s Office, including the necessary donor’s tax to be paid at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. After paying the necessary legal fees and taxes, you may proceed to the Registry of Deeds for the transfer of the title of the property to your name.

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


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1 Comment

  1. alvin cervania on

    I am alvin cervania,an instructor from Bataan Peninsula State University.You were our guest speaker during our graduation.unfortunately I missed that graduation and did not see you.My dad who passed away in 1999 is a kin to you.He is from Bulacan,my aunt Patricia used to stay at your house in Mariveles during her teaching stint in one of the elementary schools in your town.I wish this letter would reach you.My heartfelt thanks for you give us a feeling of pride and greatness every time we hear your name in broadcast media.Maraming salamat po!