Summary settlement of estate
"My parents died and left a three-door apartment to me and my two siblings. They had no debts, and they did not prepare any last will and testament. Can we divide the property without going to the court?
The law that addresses your situation is Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court:“Section 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. — If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. If there is only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. The parties to an extrajudicial settlement, whether by public instrument or by stipulation in a pending action for partition, or the sole heir who adjudicates the entire estate to himself by means of an affidavit shall file, simultaneously with and as a condition precedent to the filing of the public instrument, or stipulation in the action for partition, or of the affidavit in the office of the register of deeds, a bond with the said register of deeds, in an amount equivalent to the value of the personal property involved as certified to under oath by the parties concerned and conditioned upon the payment of any just claim that may be filed under Section 4 of this rule. It shall be presumed that the decedent left no debts if no creditor files a petition for letters of administration within two years after the death of the decedent.” (Emphasis supplied)
It is clear from the abovementioned provisions that if the deceased left an estate without debt, and last will and testament, and the heirs are of legal ages, they can divide the property among themselves through a public instrument registered in the Registry of Deeds. However, if the heirs disagree, they can file an ordinary action of partition in the court. Thus, in your case, you can divide the property among yourselves through a public instrument to be filed in the Registry of Deeds.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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"Summary settlement of estate"
was written by Mary
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and updated on 15 September 2021