Sunday, April 7, 2013

Foreign citizens entitled to own real property via succession

Dear PAO,
I am a 72-year-old widower. I have two children with my second wife and three children with my previous wife. My children from the first marriage are all naturalized foreign citizens and have not acquired dual citizenship yet. They are also
living with their own families in other countries. I plan to make a last will and testament. May I exclude my children from my first marriage in my last will and testament?

Dear Greggy,
Children, legitimate or illegitimate, are compulsory heirs of their parents. Thus, they are entitled to receive legitime or that part of the estate which by law is reserved to them (Article 887, Civil Code). As such, a child cannot be excluded in the partition of the estate of his deceased parent even if the said parent dislikes his child, unless the former is deprived of his legitime through disinheritance. The grounds for disinheritance of a child are limited to those mentioned under Article 919 of the Civil Code, to wit: (1) when a child or descendant has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants; (2) when a child or descendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found groundless; (3) when a child or descendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator; (4) when a child or descendant by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made; (5) a refusal without justifiable cause to support the parent or ascendant who disinherits such child or descendant;(6) maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant; (7) when a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life; (8) conviction of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil interdiction.

Based on the foregoing, you cannot exclude your children from your first marriage in your last will and testament if there is no ground for their disinheritance. Being a foreigner or change of citizenship is not a sufficient ground for the denial of their share in the estate because, even if they are foreigners, they are entitled to their legitime and even entitled to hold real estate properties in the Philippines in accordance with Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, giving foreigners the right to hold real estate properties if the mode of transfer is through hereditary succession.

source:  Manila Times PAO Column of Atty. Persida Acosta  

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