My parents offered to sell me their property in Tagaytay City. I am willing to buy the property at its fair market value. They want to use the proceeds of the sale for their trip to Europe, and for their own daily needs.
Please answer my questions regarding this property: Can I acquire my parents’ property through a sale? Do I need the consent of my siblings for this sale? Can my siblings run after the property in case our parents are already gone?
The property is in my parents’ name, and while they are already of senior age, they are willing and able to sign a deed of sale. Thank you.
A son may buy the property of his parents. The Civil Code enumerates those who cannot participate in a sale. These are: (1) Guardians, who cannot acquire property under his guardianship; (2) Agents, who cannot acquire property whose administration or sale may have been entrusted to him, unless the principal consents to the sale; (3) Executors and administrators, who cannot acquire property of the estate under their administration; (4) Public officers and employees, who cannot acquire property of the estate entrusted to them; and (5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of courts, and other employees connected with the administration of justice, who cannot acquire property and rights in litigation levied upon an execution before the court in their respective jurisdiction; and (6) others, who are specifically prohibited by law (Article 1491, Civil Code). As long as you are not one of those enumerated above, you can buy the property of your parents.
As to the consent of your siblings, since the property is still under the name of your parents and they are still alive, the consent of your siblings is not required. You and your siblings obtain interest in your parents’ properties only at the time of their death (Article 774, Civil Code). Before that, your parents can do anything with their properties.
In this case, your parents would like to sell their property to you. A sale, as defined by our laws, is a contract where one party is obliged to transfer ownership and deliver a determinate thing, and the other party is obliged to pay for the thing for a certain price, in money or its equivalent (Article 1458, Civil Code). A sale is basically an exchange of one thing for another. In this case, a piece of property will be exchanged for money.
The only time that your siblings may run after the property is if the sale of the property is partly a donation. According to Article 1061 of the Civil Code:
“Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition.”
The sale may partly be a donation if the price you paid is so grossly inadequate that it is apparent that the transfer was actually a donation (Article 1470, Civil Code). If it is a partial donation, then they can only run after the value of the property that can be considered as a donation.
However, you stated in your letter that you are paying for the fair market value of the property—or the price at which a property may be sold by a seller who is not compelled to sell and bought by a buyer who is not compelled to buy (Public Estates Authority vs. Estate of Jesus S. Yujuico, G.R. No. 181847, May 5, 2010). Since this is the case, then it is clearly a sale and not a donation. Therefore, it would appear that your siblings couldn’t run after the property even after your parents’ lifetime.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. 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.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org