My mother passed away several years ago. My father is still alive. I have six siblings, and three of them want to sell a conjugal property of our parents. Is the sale against the law considering that the rest of the members of the family do not wish to sell the property?
Dear M. Medina,
The conjugal partnership of the spouses, which comprises all properties which they acquired during the marriage, is dissolved by death of either of the spouses (Articles 116 and 126, Family Code). Upon dissolution thereof and after inventory and payment of the spouses’ debt and obligations, the net remainder of the conjugal partnership shall constitute the profits which shall, in the absence of marriage settlement, be divided equally between husband and wife (Article 129, Family Code). Thus, the death of your mother has resulted to the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of your parents. As a result thereof, half of the net remainder of the said partnership belongs to your father and the share of your mother shall be divided to her heirs, namely you, your father and your six siblings. Accordingly, the named heirs become co-owners of the share of your mother in the conjugal partnership (Article 1078, Civil Code).
The sale desired by three of your siblings is not against the law because each of the said heirs has the full ownership of his/her part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto and may alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. However, the sale shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him/her in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership (Article 493, Civil Code).
Since no co-owner is obliged to remain in the co-ownership, each of them may demand, at any time the partition of the thing owned in common, insofar as his/her share is concerned unless the testator should have expressly forbidden its partition, in which case the period of indivision shall not exceed twenty years (Article 1083, Civil Code). Thus, where the heirs have different interest in the said property, as in your case, it is best to make partition in order for your siblings to sell their share when so desired.
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated.