Sale of undivided estate
"After the death of Dindo’s parents, he sold to me 300 square meters of land and we signed a deed of sale covering the said transaction. Two years thereafter, Dindo and his two siblings met and discussed the partition of the property which they inherited from their parents. Dindo’s sister named Beth is interested in the lot which I already bought from Dindo and claimed that the sale made by Dindo is not valid. What will I do in order to protect my interest over the land I bought from Dindo?
Dindo and his siblings became co-owners of the estate left by their parents upon the latter’s demise. This is in consonance with Article 777 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which states that “the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.” Relative thereto, Article 493 of the said law also states:“Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he therefore can alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of co-ownership.”
Thus, the sale made by Dindo covering his share in the undivided estate of his parents is valid provided it does not exceed his proportionate share. In the case of Quijano vs. Amante (GR 164277, Oct. 8, 2014), the Supreme Court through Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin stated:“Even if an heir’s right in the estate of the decedent has not yet been fully settled and partitioned and is thus merely inchoate, Article 493 of the Civil Code gives the heir the right to exercise acts of ownership. Accordingly, when Eliseo sold the disputed property to the respondent in 1990 and 1991, he was only a co-owner along with his siblings, and could sell only that portion that would be allotted to him upon the termination of the co-ownership. The sale did not vest ownership of the disputed property in the respondent but transferred only the seller’s pro indiviso share to him, consequently making him, as the buyer, a co-owner of the disputed property until it is partitioned.
“As Eliseo’s successor-in-interest or assignee, the respondent was vested with the right under Article 497 of the Civil Code to take part in the partition of the estate and to challenge the partition undertaken without his consent. Article 497 states:“Article 497. The creditors or assignees of the co-owners may take part in the division of the thing owned in common and object to its being effected without their concurrence. But they cannot impugn any partition already executed, unless there has been fraud, or in case it was made notwithstanding a formal opposition presented to prevent it, without prejudice to the right of the debtor or assignor to maintain its validity.”You became an assignee of Dindo’s right over his proportionate share on the undivided estate of his parents when he sold his pro-indiviso (common or undivided property ownership) share to you. Being a co-owner of said estate, you have the right to take part in the extra-judicial settlement or division of the thing owned in common.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"Sale of undivided estate"
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comments. The article was created on 15 September 2021
and updated on 15 September 2021