Know how To Divide Your Parents’ Property When There’s No Last Will And Testament

Every parent’s dream is to give their kids a wonderful life. They work hard as much as possible to have something to give their children when they die. But, are all parents aware of having a lawyer and making a last will and testament for their inheritors? What will happen if they fail to put on paper what their kids will inherit?
Here enters the estate that will give the designated fortune to its rightful heirs. They can be assured that their chosen inheritors will receive what is for them through legitime, the legal right share of the decedent’s inheritor reserved by the law.

In the Philippines, there is a specific law that an attorney can use to give the rightful owner of their inheritance legally. Article 887 of the Civil Code of the Philippines creates a list of compulsory heirs that is divided into three categories.

· Primary – Inheritance will go to legitimate children and/or descendants

· Secondary – Inheritance will go to legitimate parents and/or ascendants. In case there are illegitimate parents, they will only get their inheritance in default of the primary inheritors.

· Concurring – Inheritance will go to surviving spouse, illegitimate children, and/or descendants.

With the exception of any restrictions, legal or not, the Civil Code of the Philippines implements the division of the estate in the following ways:
To compute, a lawyer should find the value of half of the deceased person’s estate. About ½ of the estate is the free portion mandated by law. The other ½, or also known as the hereditary estate, will be divided to the inheritors.

· If the deceased person only has one legitimate child, he/she should get the ½ of the hereditary estate. If there are two or more legitimate children, the ½ of the hereditary estate should be equally divided among them.

· The deceased person’s surviving spouse should get the ¼ of the hereditary estate – that is, if there is only one legitimate child. If there are two or more legitimate children, he/she should get a portion equal to the legitime of each child. The lawyer should know that the surviving spouse’s legitime will be taken from the free portion of the estate.

· The legitime of the deceased person’s illegitimate children will be taken from the free portion of the estate. However, this should not exceed the free portion. The Family Code of the Philippines noted that the legitime of each illegitimate child is ½ that of a legitimate child.

· If the deceased person has no legitimate children or descendants, the attorney should give the legitimate parents or ascendants their legitime that is equal to ½ of the hereditary estate.

· For the free portion, it can be freely given to the illegitimate children and surviving spouse, but it is subjective to their rights. This part of the deceased person’s estate can be given to any person or group of persons that can succeed under the Civil Code – even if that person is already the compulsory heir with the right legitime.

According to Attorney Easter Norie Talio from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Pagadian City, dividing a deceased person’s estate is a complicated matter, which could be discussed in a five-unit course in a law school. It is important for the inheritors to consult an expert about the legal issues in case there is no last will and testament made.