My son died single with one illegitimate child. He did not change citizenship but was already a permanent resident abroad when he died. What law shall govern his succession? Would it be possible that I become the guardian of my grandchild’s inheritance and not his mother?
Dear Concerned Grandmother,
Under our laws on succession, the capacity of a person to inherit shall be governed by the national law of the decedent and not the law of the place where he died (Article 1039, Civil Code of the Philippines). Furthermore, Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines specifically provides that intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein the said property may be found.
Since your son is still a Filipino citizen when he died, his succession shall be governed by Philippine laws even if he was a permanent resident abroad. Pursuant to our laws, both you and your son’s illegitimate child are considered as his compulsory heirs (Article 887, Civil Code of the Philippines). Your share in the inheritance shall consist of one-half of the hereditary estate of your son (Article 889, Civil Code of the Philippines). Your son’s illegitimate child, on the other hand, shall be entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary estate which will be taken from the portion which is at the free disposal of the testator.
As to your second question, Section 7, Rule 93 of the Rules of Court provides for the rules on the guardianship of the property of a minor, to wit:
Appointment of Guardians
Section 7. Parents as guardians.—When the property of the child under parental authority is worth two thousand pesos or less, the father or the mother, without the necessity of court appointment, shall be his legal guardian. When the property of the child is worth more than two thousand pesos, the father or the mother shall be considered guardian of the child’s property, with the duties and obligations of guardians under this rules, and shall file the petition required by section 2 hereof. For good reasons the court may, however, appoint another suitable person.”
As a rule, the mother of your grandchild shall be preferred to be the guardian of the property of her child. If you want to be appointed as the guardian of the minor’s property, you shall need to file a petition for appointment as guardian before the court of the place where your grandchild resides (Section 1, Rule 92, Rules of Court). If the mother has already filed for a petition for guardianship, you may make an opposition to such petition and raise the unsuitability of the mother and pray that the letters of guardianship be issued to you instead (Section 4, Rule 93, Rules of Court).
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.