Representative can’t get more than inheritance of person he represents


Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My grandfather died intestate in 2014 and he left a 300 square meter lot, which is covered by a transfer certificate of title. My grandfather has two sons named Julio and Juno. Julio, who is my father, died in 2015 and in January of 2016, his younger brother died in a vehicular accident. Uncle Juno left two cousins of mine who are demanding that we should partition the lot left by our grandfather. My cousins proposed that the property be divided into three equal shares. I did not agree with their proposal but I do not know also of any law that would support my stand if I will demand that the property be divided into two. Please guide me on this matter.

Dear Benito,
Pursuant to Article 970 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, “representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were living or if he could have inherited.”

The compulsory heirs of your grandfather when he died are his two sons. The property can be divided equally between the two. But since the two compulsory heirs are already dead and they failed to partition the property, you and your cousins can be placed or raised to the degree of the persons represented or your fathers. It is then correct to say that the 300 square meter lot should be divided into two equal shares. This finds support in
Article 974 of the same code, which states that “whenever there is succession by representation, the division of the state shall be made per stirpes, in such manner that the representative or representatives shall not inherit more than what the person they represent would inherit, if he were living or could inherit.”

Applying the abovementioned provision in your situation, your cousins’ demand that the property be divided into three has no legal basis; moreover, if such sharing would be allowed, they will be receiving more than what their father could inherit under the law. In short, such sharing runs counter to the provisions of law mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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