My husband died last year leaving a handful of properties which we acquired during our marriage. Before our marriage in 1990, we did not execute an agreement as to our property relation. We had no child and his parents were already dead when he died. I just want to ask if his brothers and sisters can inherit from him. They are insisting that they are entitled to half of the properties which my husband and I acquired in years. Is this correct?
Before dividing the estate of your husband among his heirs, it is important to ascertain what comprises his estate. Since as mentioned in your letter you were married in 1990, and in the absence of an agreement between the two of you prior to the said marriage, your property relation was governed by the regime of Absolute Community of Property (Article 75, Family Code of the Philippines).
Under this system, the community property shall consist of all the properties owned by the spouses at the time of the celebration of the marriage or acquired thereafter (Article 91, Ibid.). Thus, the properties mentioned in your letter are part of your community property. However, the community property was dissolved when your husband died, as this event triggered the termination of your property relation. As a consequence thereof, these properties shall be divided into two, half of which shall go to you and the other half to your husband’s estate.
You failed to indicate in your letter whether your husband executed a last will and testament; that being so, we will assume that there was none. As such, the law on intestate succession shall govern the partition of the estate of your husband. Considering that you do not have a child, the parents of your husband were already dead, and assuming that your husband had no illegitimate child, it is you and your husband’s siblings who shall be his legal heirs. This is explicitly provided by the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which states: “Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half.”
As clearly stated, half of the estate of your husband shall be your share and the other half shall be divided among his siblings.
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 email@example.com