• Parents inherit estate, rights, obligations of deceased scion

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    dearpao

    Dear PAO,
    I would just like to inquire regarding this situation: the girl is married but is separated from her husband. She bore a baby girl from another man, who is single. This man still has a legitimate parent and siblings. Assuming this man passes away without a last will and testament, who will be entitled to inherit from him?
    Grace

    Dear Grace,
    If a person dies without a last will and testament, his estate shall be distributed pursuant to Chapter 3, Title IV, Book III of the New Civil Code of the Philippines relating to the rules on legal or intestate succession. As a rule, intestate succession pertains, in the first place, to the descending direct line (Article 978, id). However the parents and ascendants of the decedent may be able to inherit from the decedent if he left no legitimate children and descendants, and their right to inherit excludes other collateral relatives (Article 985, id) Should the father and mother of the decedent both survive, they shall inherit from the decedent in equal shares. But if only one of them survives, he or she shall succeed to the entire estate of said decedent. (Article 986, id)

    If the legitimate ascendants are left together with the decedent’s illegitimate children, they shall divide the inheritance amongst themselves. The legitimate ascendants shall be entitled to one-half of the estate, whatever maybe the number of the ascendants or of the illegitimate children (Article 991, id). The only time an illegitimate child can inherit the entire estate of his deceased parent is when said decedent left no legitimate descendants or ascendants (Article 998, id).

    Applying the foregoing, we submit that the person who is entitled to inherit all of the property, rights and obligations of the man you mentioned in your letter is his legitimate parent. Although you mentioned that he had a daughter with a married woman, there is no showing that the said child was recognized by her father. An illegitimate child may only invoke her right to inherit a portion of the estate of her deceased father if their filiation has been recognized by the latter. This may be evidenced by: (a) her record of birth appearing in the civil register or by a final judgment clearly indicating that her father acknowledged her as his daughter; or (b) an admission of illegitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by her father. In the absence of the foregoing, their illegitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1) her open and continuous possession of the status as an illegitimate child; or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws (Article 175 in relation to Article 172, Family Code of the Philippines).

    Insofar as the man’s siblings are concerned, they are not entitled to inherit from their brother considering that he is survived by their legitimate parent. As a rule, brothers and sisters may only inherit from their deceased sibling if the latter left no descendants, ascendants or illegitimate children or surviving spouse (Article 1003, New Civil Code of the Philippines), or if the decedent passed away leaving only them and his surviving spouse to succeed, in which case, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children shall be entitled to the other half (Article 1001, 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 Acosata may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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