I am already in the twilight of my life. I am single and have no child but I have a nephew who has been taking care of me for so long. I have a house and lot that I want to give him to ensure that whatever happens to me, the house will go directly to him. I just want to know if I can donate my house to my nephew so that he can transfer the title in his name and if I can reserve my right to use the property until the day I face our Creator.
We commend your desire to bestow upon your nephew your property as a symbol of your appreciation to the selfless and dedicated services he has provided you. This is a Filipino trait that is still prevalent nowadays.
Your plan to transfer the ownership of the said property to your nephew without consideration is a donation. As defined, donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it (Article 725, New Civil Code of the Philippines).
According to the law, the donor may give all his/her properties provided that he/she set aside some properties or the usufruct thereof enough to meet his/her needs. This is pursuant to Article 750 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which provides:
“Art. 750. The donations may comprehend all the present property of the donor, or part thereof, provided he reserves, in full ownership or in usufruct, sufficient means for the support of himself, and of all relatives who, at the time of the acceptance of the donation, are by law entitled to be supported by the donor. Without such reservation, the donation shall be reduced in petition of any person affected.”
Clearly, you can donate your house and lot to your nephew and retain the right to use the same for the rest of your life. You can stipulate this as one of the conditions in the deed of donation. Once the deed of donation is executed and acceptance is made, the ownership of the land as well as the improvements therein is transferred to your nephew. He can then transfer the title thereof in his name.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org