The death of a loved one is a challenging and emotional time for any family. But along with the emotional distress, it can also bring up legal matters, especially when it comes to inheriting properties. In the Philippines, the legal framework for inheritance law provides guidelines for the transfer of property ownership after the death of a loved one. As such, it is essential to understand these laws to ensure a smooth and legal transfer of ownership and property. In this article provided by BRIA Homes, we will delve into the details of inheritance law in the Philippines, specifically on who are the legal heirs of a deceased person, in the context of spouses and families. If you are searching on information regarding the transfer of Inherited Land in the Philippines, Bria Homes had dedicated a separate article that you may access below.
Read article: The Transfer of Inherited Land in the Philippines
Who are the Legal Heirs of a Deceased Person in the Philippines?
Under Philippine law, knowing who are legal heirs of a deceased person are determined by the Civil Code of the Philippines. The Civil Code outlines the specific order of priority for the inheritance of properties. This order is known as the “order of intestate succession,” and it applies to cases where the deceased did not leave a valid will.
The first in line to inherit are the legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, followed by the legitimate parents and ascendants. If there are no legitimate children or parents, the surviving spouse is next in line. If the deceased has no legitimate children, parents, or surviving spouse, the illegitimate children and their descendants can inherit. If there are no illegitimate children or descendants, the surviving brothers and sisters and their descendants can inherit. In the absence of surviving siblings and their descendants, the grandparents of the deceased are next in line. Lastly, if there are no surviving grandparents, the surviving uncles and aunts and their descendants can inherit.
It’s important to note that the order of inheritance can change if there are surviving heirs from a different line. For example, if the deceased has no legitimate children but has surviving parents and illegitimate children, the parents and illegitimate children will share the inheritance equally.
In cases where there are no surviving legal heirs, the properties of the deceased will escheat or go to the state.
Understanding the order of inheritance is essential for anyone who is involved in the legal matters surrounding the death of a loved one. It ensures that the transfer of property ownership is done smoothly and legally, without causing conflicts and disputes among the surviving heirs. You may refer to this article below to know more how are properties divided between siblings in the Philippines.
Who Inherits Properties When the Owner Dies Without a Will?
When a person dies without leaving a valid will, the Philippine law of intestate succession applies. In this case, the estate of the deceased person will be distributed to the legal heirs in the order of priority mentioned earlier, which is determined by the Civil Code of the Philippines.
For instance, if the deceased person is survived by legitimate children, the children will inherit the property. If there are no legitimate children, but the deceased person is survived by legitimate parents, the parents will inherit the property. If there are no legitimate children or parents, but the deceased person is survived by a spouse, the spouse will inherit the property. It is crucial to note that if the deceased person is survived by both a spouse and legitimate children, the surviving spouse and children will share the property equally. Similarly, if the deceased person is survived by only one legitimate child and a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to half of the property, and the legitimate child is entitled to the other half.
Who Inherits Properties When the Owner Dies With a Will?
When a person dies leaving behind a valid will, the distribution of their estate will be carried out according to the terms of their will. The will should specify an executor or administrator who will be responsible for implementing the instructions in the will. In case the named executor or administrator is unable or unwilling to perform their duties, the court will appoint someone else to do the job. It is crucial to ensure that the will is valid and executed correctly to avoid any legal disputes or challenges to the validity of the will.
It is also important to note that the will can name alternate beneficiaries in case the primary beneficiaries die before the testator. This provision is important because it helps to avoid any ambiguity and confusion regarding the distribution of the estate. By naming alternate beneficiaries, the testator ensures that their assets will be distributed as per their wishes and that their loved ones will receive what they intended.
What Happens When the Spouse Inherits Properties?
If the surviving spouse inherits the property, they become the sole owner of the property. This means that they have full control over the property and can sell, transfer, or dispose of the property as they see fit. However, if the surviving spouse remarries, any property inherited from the deceased spouse will remain theirs. Nonetheless, if the surviving spouse dies without a will, the property will pass on to the legal heirs according to the order of intestate succession. In such cases, the surviving spouse’s children, parents, siblings, or other relatives may inherit the property instead of the surviving spouse’s new partner.
It is also worth noting that the law of intestate succession does not only apply to real property but also to personal property. Personal property includes all the assets owned by the deceased person, such as bank accounts, vehicles, jewelry, and other personal belongings. If the deceased person had outstanding debts at the time of death, these debts will be settled before the distribution of the estate to the legal heirs. The payment of debts is prioritized over the distribution of the estate, and the legal heirs cannot receive their inheritance until all debts have been paid.
Furthermore, if the deceased person had no surviving legal heirs, the estate will be escheated to the government. Escheat is the legal process of transferring the property of a deceased person to the state if no legal heirs can be found. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen if the deceased person had no known relatives or if all known relatives have already passed away.
It is thus essential to have a valid will to ensure that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes. Without a will, the law of intestate succession will apply, and the distribution of your estate will be determined by the order of priority set by the Civil Code of the Philippines. For further information about the future properties of a deceased owner, take a minute to read the article below.
Read article: What Happens to a Property When the Owner Dies?
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Written by AJ Caputolan