• Maltreatment by word or deed is cause for disinheritance

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have four children who are now all of legal age. I have no problem with my three children, but my youngest is my most difficult one. He is already 32 years old, jobless and always out with his friends drinking and not doing anything productive. When he comes home, he would always yell, curse and talk down at me. I try to understand him but he would curse at me just the same even when he is sober.

    Recently, I have been thinking of preparing my will so that whatever I leave this earth will just go to my three other children who, even with their meager income, help me out with my day-to-day needs. I also do not want anything to go to my youngest, because I know he will just use it for his vices. Can I legally do this? Is it also possible to just handwrite my will? It is quite difficult for me to travel just to personally discuss this matter with a lawyer since I am old and frail now, so I am thinking of doing it on my own.
    Betty

    Dear Betty,
    The law states that the owner of a property has the right to enjoy and dispose the thing he owns, without other limitations than those established by law (Article 428, New Civil Code of the Philippines). Perhaps it is a common knowledge that this right is exercised during the lifetime of the owner. However, it is worthy to note that such right extends even after the lifetime of the owner as when he bequeaths his property by means of a last will and testament wherein such transfer is only to take effect after his demise. (Article 783, Id.)

    Accordingly, you may execute your last will and testament since you intend to dispose, in a particular manner, the properties which you may leave behind upon your demise. It is only necessary that you do not possess any of the prohibitions provided under the law, you are of legal age and you are of sound mind at the time of the execution of such will. (Articles 796, 797 and 798, Id.) To be of sound mind, the law states that it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken, unimpaired, or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause. What is essential is that, at the time of making the will, he is able to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of their bounty, and the character of their testamentary act. (Article 799, Id.)

    Considering your present physical concerns, you may execute your will in the comforts of your home as long as it is executed in a language or dialect known to you, done entirely in your own handwriting, as well as dated and signed by your own hand. It is subject to no other form, may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed. (Articles 804 and 810, Id.)

    Insofar as your desire to deprive your youngest child of inheritance, you may do so as it is provided under Article 919 (6) of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, that maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant, is a sufficient cause for the disinheritance of said child or descendant (Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated by former Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Edgardo L. Paras, Volume III, Seventeenth Edition (2013), p.379) It is only necessary for you to particularly state such matters in your will. (Article 916, Id.)

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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.

    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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