Repudiating inheritance

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I was informed that in my brother’s last will and testament, I was one of the recipients of a portion of an estate. I was very close to this brother of mine until his very last days. After carefully thinking it through, I have decided that I will not accept my inheritance, which my brother specified in his last will. Knowing his family, I respectfully believe that his own children need them more than I do. Especially since I consider that I already owed him a lot, since he was the one who worked for my tuition when I was still studying. Because of this, I want to know what actions I should take to formally decline my brother’s gift to me in his last will and testament. Thank you in advance for your advice.
Vea

Dear Vea,
Although the law recognizes the right of a testator to decide who receives portions of his estate upon his demise, the law also recognizes the rights of the intended recipients to decline and repudiate whatever will be given to them based on a last will and testament. In other words, testamentary heirs are allowed by law to renounce their inheritance. The law also provides for the specific manner to repudiate an inheritance.
According to the Civil Code of the Philippines:

“Article 1051. The repudiation of an inheritance shall be made in a public or authentic instrument, or by petition presented to the court having jurisdiction over the testamentary or intestate proceedings.”

This provision specifies the form and procedure to legally repudiate a testamentary inheritance. Thus, considering your intention to give up your share in your brother’s last will, it is not enough to merely state such intention. The law requires that you should execute a public document containing your intention to repudiate or through filing of a petition in the court having jurisdiction in the settlement of your brother’s last will. It is required by law that you follow this form and procedure in order for your repudiation to have a legal effect on your brother’s last will and testament.

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It is opined that the law has strict requisites for repudiating an inheritance since it is not usually beneficial to the heir (Ruben F. Balane, Jottings and Jurisprudence in Civil Law (Succession) 2006). By following these requisites, the person renouncing an inheritance guarantees that he knows and understands his decision to renounce his inheritance.

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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