• Who succeeds to estate of deceased if illegitimate kid fails to prove filiation?

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I am an illegitimate child from an adulterous relationship. My biological father is not the one who signed my birth certificate, but he recognized me and supported me financially throughout my education and basic needs. He is now a senior citizen and still single. Do I have the rights to all the property of my biological father, or do my aunts and uncles have the exclusive rights to the property?
    Lena

    Dear Lena,
    It is stated under Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended, that illegitimate children shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this code. The legitime of an illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child.

    For purposes of succession, the illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in the absence of legitimate descendants (Article 988, Family Code). You can only succeed to the entire estate of your father, however, if you can prove filiation or that you are his illegitimate child. You cannot use your birth certificate to prove this relationship because, as you have stated, it is not your real father whose name is written therein. On the other hand, there are other documents that can prove illegitimate filiation. It is stated under Article 175 of the Family Code in relation to Article 172 of the same code that illegitimate filiation may be proved by a final judgment or admission of illegitimate filiation in public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. This filiation may also be proved, during the lifetime of the father, by the open and continuous possession of status of an illegitimate child or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

    In case that you are not able to prove that you are the child of your father, the estate of your father, in the absence of other children or parents, shall be given to your aunts and uncles who are his sisters and brothers, respectively (Article 962, Family Code).

    We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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