• Right of child-heirs over property becomes complete with death of parent

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    dearpao

    Dear PAO,
    My father-in-law owns several properties. Since he is senile now, my mother-in-law takes care of these properties for him. The problem is that she has already sold two of his properties. My husband, being the eldest, became worried that her mother might sell everything and leave us with nothing. She also favors her daughter and the two of them have been in connivance when it comes to spending the money she got from selling those properties. My husband tried to ask a portion of the money, but they just end up quarreling.

    She told my husband that he does not have any right over the money. She also threatens us that she will throw us out of their house since she was able to find a way to transfer the title of their house to her favorite daughter. I just want to know whether my husband still has any right over those properties that were sold. Does his mother have the right to shove us out of their house? We only have one daughter and she is a special child. We do not want to wake up one day and learn that we were left with nothing.

    Thank you and more power!
    Mariel

    Dear Mariel,
    You did not mention in your letter the type of property regime your in-laws have. Thus, we will assume that they are governed by the system of absolute community of property. Accordingly, the administration and enjoyment of the properties they own or have acquired during their marriage belong to them jointly. But considering that your father-in-law is presently experiencing senility, your mother-in-law may solely take care of their community property. She may allow another person to use their property, and in the same manner, she may prohibit another from using the same.

    In your situation, your mother-in-law may ask you and your family to leave the premises owned by her and her husband. Being the owners of the subject property, they still retain the right to the use, possession and enjoyment thereof. Your husband does not have an absolute right over the properties owned by his parents. All he has at this point is an inchoate right over the properties. We do not discount the fact that he is their child. However, his rights will only be complete upon his father’s demise.

    We would like to stress, though, that her authority to administer their properties does not extend to the disposition thereof, unless your father-in-law has given his written consent to such disposition during his lucid interval or if your mother-in-law obtains authority from the court. If she sold their properties without said consent or authority, such sale may be voided. This is in consonance with Article 96 of the Family Code of the Philippines: “The administration and enjoyment of the community property shall belong to both spouses jointly. x x x In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the common properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. These powers do not include disposition or encumbrance without authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors.”

    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.

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