Legitimate siblings cannot touch inheritance of illegitimate child

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,

I am a single mom. The father of my daughter is already married to another and has two children. I have saved a lot for my daughter’s future, and I have several lots in the Laguna and Batangas area. My question is, when I die and leave everything to my daughter, can her siblings from her father claim from her property? I am worried because somebody told me that siblings can inherit from their other siblings. I do not want them to get anything from my daughter. The father has never supported our daughter, and I have never sought his support.


Dear Donna,

According to your letter, you are a single mom and that the father of your daughter is already married. It is safe to assume that your daughter was born out of wedlock and that she is an illegitimate child.

In answering your query, we will assume that when your daughter dies, she will not have any children.

Now, Article 992 of the Civil Code states:

“An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child.”

This is a very controversial and much criticized provision in our law, but it is a fortunate provision in your case. Article 992 provides a legal barrier between legitimate and illegitimate relatives of a decedent (Balane, Jottings and Jurisprudence in Civil Law, 2006, p. 457).

This provision clearly states that an illegitimate child cannot inherit intestate from his or her legitimate relatives. In the same manner, his or her legitimate relatives cannot inherit from him or her.

However, the illegitimate child can inherit intestate from his or her father and mother and vice versa.

The law uses the term “ab intestato” which means intestate. Intestate succession occurs when a person dies without a will, and the provisions on intestate succession found in our law apply. This is different from testate succession where the person who dies left a will, and the will is followed in determining where the properties he or she left will go.

Therefore, the properties your daughter will inherit from you cannot be touched by her siblings who are the legitimate children of the father as long as she does not issue a will leaving anything to them. Nonetheless, if your daughter chooses to leave something to her relatives, such as her legitimate brothers and sisters, there is no stopping her. If she does not leave them anything, they cannot inherit any of her properties since Article 992 of the Civil Code will then take effect.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.


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  1. Dear PAO:

    I have a 9 year old daughter born out of wed-lock. She was acknowledged by her birth father in her birth certificate. The birth father is now married with one child and he continuously supports our child. Now, I plan to get married and soon my surname will be changed. What will be the effect of this to my daughter when we have different surname?


  2. Dear Ma’am,
    Magandand Araw, Gusto ko rin po sana magtanong at humingi ng advise. Single mom din ako, The father of my son was married i just know it when ive got 2months pregnant and her wife knows nothing at wala sila anak, he was working abroad (seafarer), He send us support while on board, If possible po ba that we can settle it legally, because sometimes its hard for me to talk with him delay of his support and possible pwede nya i stop it anytime.
    My son using my surename in bc hindi ko rin sya declared pangalan nya as a father.

    Please advise the best thing i can do for my child sake.