Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,

My wife and I only had one daughter. She was married but being workaholic left her no time to conceive and start her own family. Unfortunately, she passed away this year without giving us a grandchild. I learned that our daughter was able to earn a substantial amount of money and invest on real properties because of her work. Considering that my wife and I are old and unemployed, we want to know if we have a right to share in the properties left by our daughter. We want to know our rights before we talk to our son-in-law about it. We hope to receive your advice. Thank you!

Norman

Dear Norman,

Based from the details you provided, it appears that your daughter passed away without a child despite being married, and without a will. From these facts, you and your wife’s rights over the properties left by your daughter are derived from your designation as compulsory heirs in accordance with the Civil Code of the Philippines.

Article 887 of the said law enumerates the compulsory heirs to whom the law reserves a part of a decedent’s properties, to wit:

“Article 887. The following are compulsory heirs:

(1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants;

(2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children and descendants;

(3) The widow or widower;

(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction;

(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in article 287.

Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4, and 5 are not excluded by those in Nos. 1 and 2; neither do they exclude one another.

In all cases of illegitimate children, their filiation must be duly proved.

The father or mother of illegitimate children of the three classes mentioned, shall inherit from them in the manner and to the extent established by this Code.” (Civil Code of the Philippines)

In this cited provision, the legitimate parents of the deceased together with the childless widower are included in the enumeration of the compulsory heirs. The law states that legitimate parents are considered as compulsory heirs in the absence of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased. And as mentioned, compulsory heirs are legally entitled to a share in the properties left by a decedent. Thus, considering that your deceased daughter had no child, you and your wife’s status as the legitimate parents of your daughter puts the two of you among the compulsory heirs entitled to receive a share from her properties.

In addition to this, it is also important to know that compulsory heirs can claim and enforce their right to inherit on the estate of the deceased either through extra-judicial or judicial settlement of the estate in accordance with Rules 74 and 73 respectively of the Revised Rules of Court, depending on the nature of the estate and the agreement of the compulsory heirs. Thus, you should talk to your son-in-law on how the three of you intend to go about the sharing in your inheritance from the properties of your daughter with these legal provisions in mind. Through this, you and your wife may legally get your share in the properties left by your daughter in accordance with the law.

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 protected]