• Illegitimate child entitled to share from father’s inheritance

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have a daughter with my ex-boyfriend. My ex-boyfriend acknowledged our daughter as his child and he even signed my daughter’s birth certificate. I recently found out, however, that my ex-boyfriend already passed away and that he left another child with his wife. Because of this, I want to know if there is any chance that my daughter can get any inheritance from his father since I know for a fact that my ex-boyfriend is well-off. I tried to communicate and discuss this with the family of my ex-boyfriend but I was told that my child has no right to inherit from her father and that she is not going to get anything. I just want to know if my child has a right to claim inheritance from her father even if she is an illegitimate child and how much will my daughter get from her father. I hope you can advice me on this matter. Thank you!            

    Dear Delilah,
    Philippine laws provide for the rights of children, both legitimate and illegitimate, to inherit from their parents. Article 887 of the Civil Code of the Philippines enumerates the list of compulsory heirs, including illegitimate children along with legitimate children of the deceased, as among those entitled to compulsory inheritance from pieces of property left by the deceased parents. And in relation to this, the portion of the property left by a deceased parent for their children is called legitime, which is defined by law as:

    “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” (Art. 886, Civil Code of the Philippines).

    As stated in this cited law, legitimes are reserved for compulsory heirs. And since illegitimate children, such as your daughter, are recognized under the law as compulsory heirs, then it follows that she is also entitled to a share in the property left by her father that is reserved by law for her. Thus, there is no basis in the claim of your ex-boyfriend’s family that your daughter has no right to inherit from her father.

    Note however that before illegitimate children can be considered as compulsory heirs, there is still a requirement for them to duly prove their filiation with their deceased parent. And in your situation, since you have mentioned that the father of your daughter signed her birth certificate, this is an acknowledgment of his relation as a father, which is a sufficient proof of his filiation to your daughter. Therefore, the status of being an illegitimate child of your daughter, by itself, is not an impediment to her right to inherit from her deceased father.

    Finally, with regard to the share of your daughter from the legitime of his father, it is important to note that the law also provides for the size of the share to be received by an illegitimate child compared with the share of a legitimate child. The law states that an illegitimate child shall receive a share equivalent to half of the share that will be received by a legitimate child who in turn shall receive a share of half of the value of the whole legitime (Art. 895, Civil Code of the Philippines). As an example, if the total value of the legitime left by a deceased is two million pesos (P2,000,000.00), a legitimate child shall receive one million pesos (P1,000,000.00) from it, while an illegitimate child is entitled to only five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), which is half of the value received by the legitimate child. Thus, although your daughter is entitled to a share in the legitime, the size of her share is limited by this provision of 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net


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    1. What if may anak sa iba pero di naman binahay? What case can be filed against the husband?

      Thank you in advance and i really learned a lot from reading this.

    2. Dear PAO,

      May tanong lang po ako yong asawa ko po nagkaroon po ng anak sa ibang babae last year, may 2 po kaming anak, kasal po kami sa simbahan. Ang tanong ko po anong case ang pude ko pong ikaso sa kanila? pude ko po bang gawing grounds for annulment ang pagkakaroon nya ng anak sa ibang babae?
      Thank you for your advice and God Bless.


    3. Abna Boayes-Attento on

      Good day….I’m not an attorney nor I studied law. Correct me please if i’m wrong. If the value of the legitime left by the decease is Php2m, isn’t it that the half of it which is Php1m goes to the surviving spouse? So Php1m is to be divided by the children. It is said that the legitimate child will get Php1m. From where will you get the Php500,000? What about if the deceased has 2 legitimate children and 3 illegitimate children, how much would be the share/s of the legitimate and the illegitimate children?

      • If the value of estate/legitime left by the deceased is P2M, then 1/2 or P500,000 goes to the legitimate children. The surviving spouse gets the same share as 1 legitimate child. And the illegitimate child, gets 1/2 of the share of 1 legitimate child.

        So in the above example, if the deceased left P2M and is survived by his spouse, 2 legitimate children and 1 illegitimate child, the computation is as follows:

        Estate left = 2M
        Legitimate children (1/2 of the estate) = 1M*
        *1M is divided equally among the legitimate children, so in this case, the 2 legit children gets 500K each, so…
        Legit child #1 = 500K
        Legit child #2 = 500K

        Then spouse gets the same share as 1 legit child, thus spouse gets 500k also.

        Then illegit child gets 1/2 of the share of 1 legit child, thus illegit child gets 250k.

        In summary,

        Estate = 2M
        Legit Child #1 = 500K
        Legit Child #2 = 500K
        Spouse = 500K
        Illegit child = 250K

        Since there’s 250k left from the estate of the deceased, this remaining 250k will be divided among the heirs (legitimate children, spouse and illegitimate child based on the rules on intestacy)

        Source: Article 888, 892, 895 and 897 of the Civil Code