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Can I inherit a property from my in-laws in which the property has a case?

A question from Danny:

Can I inherit a property from my in-laws in which the property has a case? Someone wants to seize such property. My in-law was a guarantor to a loan made by her own daughter who was not able to pay the loan. What should I do?


The general Rule is No. Under the law of succession, an in-law is not a compulsory heir, as such, he cannot inherit by operation of law upon the death of the decedent, however, if the in law is named in a will, testate succession applies, in which case, the properties, either, a devise of a legacy can be transmitted to the in-law after the conduct and approval of the court after probate proceedings of a will.

On the other hand, if the property is encumbered or made as security of a loan or any transaction in which rights of third parties are involved, upon the death of the decedent, his rights, assets or properties are first applied to the payment of the loan or credit of the decedent before the property is transmitted to the named heir in the will. If the property or the value of the assets and rights of the decedent has a surplus, only the balance will be given to the heirs in proportion to their respective interests. If the properties and rights of the decedent cannot meet the full payment of the loan, the heirs shall not be liable to the balance unless former transfers from the decedent is considered in fraud of creditors.

If your in law is a guarantor in a lawn, he enjoys the benefit of excussion, that is A defence, exception or benefit claimed by a debtor that compels the creditor to excuss against another party first. In your case, considering that your in law is a guarantor to the debts of her own daughter, the creditor should first proceed and ask for payment from the daughter before he can ask for payment from the guarantor as a guarantor is only subsidiarily liable to the debts of the principal. 

Based on the assertions you stated, these are my observations:
  1. Technically you are not a compulsory heir, as such, you cannot claim any interest from the properties of your in law unless you are named in a will either as a devisee or legatee, in which case, the creditors interests will take precedence over yours. Be aware however that this will only apply upon the death of your in law, a collection or foreclosure case will suffice if your in law is still alive;
  2. Check the title, Tax Declaration of the property if indeed the property is encumbered, if not, you can oppose payment from the creditors unless they can show any proof of debt from your in law;
  3. Check if the properties of the principal are sufficient for the payment of the loan or credit, if it is sufficient, the properties of the guarantor is spared;
  4. Have an accountant assist you in the computation of the loan if indeed the transaction is valid.

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