• Half of a father’s estate should go to legitimate children

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I am planning to execute a last will and testament, leaving a bigger part of my property to my son and little to my daughter. She has been a disgrace to the family for living an immoral life, although I don’t want to totally disinherit her because she is still my child. They are the only family I have ever since my wife died. I am just concerned about the validity of this provision if ever I will put this in my will. Please give me some advice.

    Dear Ric,
    Under the law, a person is given the power, subject to such limitations and formalities which the law imposes, on how he/she wants to distribute his/her properties to take effect after his/her death. This can be done, through the execution of a will.

    As defined, a will is an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death (Article 783, New Civil Code of the Philippines).

    In your situation, aside from complying with the formalities in making a last will and testament as prescribed by law, you must likewise ensure that the disposition of properties as stipulated therein does not violate or breach the legitime of your children, your compulsory heirs. Pursuant to Article 886 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines (NCCP), 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.

    In the same vein, the law reserves half of the estate of the father or mother for legitimate children. Article 888 of the NCCP provides:

    “Art. 888. The legitime of legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.

    The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the rights of illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided.”

    Clearly, you cannot freely dispose of your whole estate and give it to someone else as half of which is reserved for your legitimate children. But, you can do this with the other half. Thus, considering that you have only two children and you wanted to give more to your son, whatever your reasons are, you can incorporate this in your will but you have to ensure that the legitime of your daughter is not affected.

    Otherwise, your son’s inheritance based on your last will and testament may be reduced, up to the extent that your daughter’s legitime was violated, so that the latter may receive what the law prescribes.

    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 dearpao@manilatimes.net


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. cherel bartlett on

      Dear PAO,

      I’m married to a British National and we have 3 kids. We have a properties in Philippines, 1 condo unit and a parcel of land in Manila.

      According to Philippine Law, foreigner is not allowed to own a land. What if I die and I leave a Will stating that half of our properties he must inherit that include the land. Is this allowed?

      Many Thanks!
      Cherel Bartlett

    2. There is something fundamentally wrong here where the government steps in & tells you who should get what of your estate. If you have worked hard & saved & invested & took chances in your life & have made money they should have no right to tell you who is entitled by law to a share of your money. If you dont want to give any to a sibling it should be your choice not the choice of the law. They didnt give you that money & it should be yours to dispose of how you wish.
      Now to discuss about why children should get a share is a discussion you could have with your children & ask advice of others but the law should not pass a law saying each is guaranteed by law to have this or that, thats wrong.
      Look at america bill gates & other mega rich people some are philanthropists who give by far the majority of their estate to charities, what they do is educate their children & then give them a start in life but they put a will to give most of their money to charity. Thats how the law should be, but here its a form of control, what business is it of the government to tell you how to give your assetts away when all thy did throughout your working life was tax you & get as much out of you as they could.
      Its just another thing that is totally wrong in this country.

      • Bonifacio Claudio on

        @Dustin: Do you know of countries, if any, where parents could disinherit any of their children for whatever reason there may be? Thanks.