Rights to succession in absence of last will

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My grandfather passed away recently and he left some inheritance. He did not execute any last will and testament. His surviving heirs are: 1) my mother; 2) me (his grandchild); 3) my uncle (my mother’s brother); and 4) my two cousins. Am I entitled to receive some inheritance?
Sincerely yours,
Carla

Dear Carla,
Article 777 of the Civil Code provides that “the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.” Corollarily, Article 960 of the same code provides that “legal or intestate succession takes place if a person dies without a will.” Further, the Civil Code provides an order of who among the heirs shall inherit. The pertinent provisions of the law are as follows:

“ART. 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it properly takes place.

Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal shares, subject to the provisions of Article 1006 with respect to relatives of the full and half blood, and of Article 987, paragraph 2, concerning division between the paternal and maternal lines.”


“ART. 978. Succession pertains, in the first place, to the descending direct line.”

“ART. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants, without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages. xxx”

“ART. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing the inheritance in equal shares.”

“ART. 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children who are dead, survive, the former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation.”

“ART. 982. The grandchildren and the other descendants shall inherit by right of representation, and if any one of them should have died, leaving several heirs, the portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the latter in equal portions.”

Based on the foregoing provisions of the Civil Code on succession, you are not entitled to receive an inheritance since you are excluded by your mother. Your mother and your uncle are the heirs entitled to receive the inheritance since they are the relatives nearest in degree from your deceased grandfather.

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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