I had several properties registered in my name before I got married in the latter part of the 1990s. Will these become my wife’s and my common property? Can I give some of my properties to my mother through a last will and testament?
The Family Code of the Philippines was the law that governs marriage and its incidents when you and your spouse were married. Article 75 thereof provides that the system of absolute community of property shall be applied in the absence of a marriage settlement between the spouses as to the property relations that will govern their marriage, or when the regime they have agreed upon is void. This shall commence at the precise moment that the marriage is celebrated (Article 88, Family Code of the Philippines). Under the regime of absolute community, all the property that the spouses owned at the time of the celebration of their marriage and everything that they have acquired thereafter shall form their community property (Article 91, Family Code of the Philippines). However, there are certain properties which are excluded from the community property, these are the following: 1) property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse, and the fruits as well as the income thereof, if any, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor that they shall form part of the community property; 2) property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse except jewelries, which shall form part of the spouses’ community property; 3) property acquired before the marriage by either spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage, and the fruits as well as the income, if any, of such property (Article 92, Family Code of the Philippines). Hence, the properties that were registered under your name before you were married shall form part of your community property unless the same are among the excluded properties enumerated above.
As regards your second question, you may give to your mother some of your properties through a last will and testament as long as the rights of your compulsory heirs such as your wife and your children, if there were any, shall not be prejudiced. Article 842 of the Civil Code of the Philippines allows a person who has compulsory heirs to dispose of his estate as he deems fit provided he does not contravene the provisions of the law regarding the legitime of his compulsory heirs. A legitime is that part of the estate of a person which is reserved to his compulsory heirs.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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 email@example.com