Friday, April 5, 2013

PD 1529: Implied trust eases transfer of property to real owners

Dear PAO,
My wife and I bought a tract of land through Pag-ibig. Since we were both Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), I asked my sister-in law to make the purchase in our behalf. Accordingly, the title was named after her. Unfortunately, after 3-4 months thereafter, my sister-in-law passed away because of sickness. The title remains under her name but the original certificate of title is in our possession. We found out from a reliable source that a relative of my sister-in-law is planning to get a certified true copy of the title for the purpose of selling the land. Can that relative sell the property with the use of a certified true copy of the title?

Dear Bert,
The certificate of title of a land is the best evidence to prove ownership of the named person over a parcel of land described therein. In your case, if we are to examine the owner’s certificate of title in your possession, the owner of the parcel of land described therein is your sister-in-law since she is the person named as the registered owner. As the registered owner she or her heirs in case of her death may sell or convey the same to another person. However, if an implied trust is created between you, your wife and your sister-in-law, the property may be transferred to your name as the real owners thereof. It is provided under Article 1453 of the Civil Code that “when property is conveyed to a person in reliance upon his declared intention to hold it for, or transfer it to another or to the grantor, there is implied trust in favor of the person whose benefit is contemplated”. If you are claiming your right under an implied trust, it is proper to register the said claim by filing a sworn statement of such claim in the Registry of Deeds of the place where the property is registered (Section 68, PD. 1529, otherwise known as the “Property Registration Decree”).

The heirs of your sister-in-law may sell the property on the basis of hereditary right being the successors of the deceased if they are to rely upon the certificate of title.   However, the seller cannot register his right thereto without the presentation of the owner’s duplicate of title, which is in your possession. The presentation of the owner’s duplicate of title is necessary in order to register the transactions / dealings voluntarily entered into by the registered owner in accordance with Section 53 of the Property Registration Decree. It is still best if you and your wife could communicate this matter to the heirs of your sister-in-law. If they have no objections to your claim, they may execute a deed of conveyance in your favor in order that a title may be transferred to your name. On the other hand, you have to prove the said claim based on implied trust in court in case the heirs would opposed thereto.

source:  Manila Times' Column of Atty

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