• Special power of attorney voided with demise of property owner

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,

    Is it possible for my uncle to dispose of the property owned by my grandparents? He is insisting that he has a special power of attorney executed by my grandparents. But they already passed away last year.

    Laila

    Dear Laila,

    As a general rule, only the owner of the property can alienate, dispose or transfer to another the ownership and enjoyment thereof. However, the owner of the property may designate another person to alienate or dispose the same in his behalf, provided that the former executes a special power of attorney (SPA) in favor of the latter for that purpose.

    Accordingly, your uncle may alienate the property owned by your grandparents if, during their lifetime, they executed an SPA naming your uncle as their agent or attorney-in-fact, authorizing him to dispose the same in their stead.

    It bears stressing, though, that your uncle may only lawfully dispose the property of your grandparents during the lifetime of the latter because he generally loses the capacity to act in behalf of your grandparents the moment they pass away. This is pursuant to Article 1919 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which provides that an “Agency is extinguished: x x x (3) By the death, civil interdiction, insanity or insolvency of the principal or of the agent; x x x”

    Nevertheless, your uncle may still be able to dispose of the said property if the very purpose of the constitution of the agency is for the common benefit of your grandparents and your uncle, or of a third person. This is in consonance with Article 1930 of the said Code, which provides that: “The agency shall remain in full force and effect even after the death of the principal, if it has been constituted in the common interest of the latter and of the agent, or in the interest of a third person who has accepted the stipulation in his favor.” Apart from the foregoing, your uncle may be able to dispose of the property of your grandparents if he has no knowledge of their death (Article 1931, New Civil Code of the Philippines).

    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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