This article talks about the process of liquidating the conjugal properties after the death of a spouse and the consequences of failure to perform this legal requirement. If liquidation is not done, any disposition thereafter is void and if the surviving spouse remarries, a mandatory complete separation of property shall govern the subsequent marriage.
It has been said that one never truly moves on after the death of a loved one. Instead, one just learns to cope living with such emptiness. However, one can legally move on by complying with the directives of the law regarding the death of a spouse
Death of a spouse terminates the marriage and dissolves the conjugal partnership or the community property.
Upon the death of a spouse, the marriage is thereby terminated. Furthermore, pursuant to Articles 99 and 126 of the Family Code, the community property or the conjugal partnership likewise terminates. In such case, the community property or conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the same proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse (Articles 103 and 130, Family Code).
The surviving spouse should liquidate the community property or the conjugal partnership either judicially or extra-judicially within one year. Otherwise, any disposition shall be void.
Since the community property and the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the same proceeding for settlement of estate, Article 103 and 130 of the Family Code expressly commands the surviving spouse to liquidate either judicially or extra-judicially such properties within one (1) year from the death of the deceased spouse. Upon the death of one spouse, the powers of administration of the surviving spouse ceases and is passed to the administrator appointed by the court having jurisdiction over the settlement of estate proceedings (Alipio vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 134100, 20 September 2000). For this reason, no complaint can be brought against the surviving spouse for the recovery of an indebtedness chargeable against said conjugal property, and that the action should be instituted in the estate proceedings of the deceased spouse (Calma vs. Tanedo, G.R. No. L-44602, 28 November 1938). In fact, where a complaint is brought against the surviving spouse for the recovery of an indebtedness chargeable against said conjugal property, any judgment obtained thereby is void (Ventura vs. Militante, G.R. No. 63145, 05 October 1999).
If the deceased spouse left no will and no debts, the estate can be settled extrajudicially by executing a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement. However, if there is a will and/or there are debts, then a court proceeding is necessary to probate the will and settle the estate.
It must be emphasized that if upon the lapse of the one (1) year period, no liquidation is made, any disposition or encumbrance involving the community property or conjugal partnership of the terminated marriage shall be void.
If there is no liquidation of the community property or the conjugal partnership and the surviving spouse remarries, a mandatory regime of complete separation of property shall govern the property relations of the subsequent marriage.
The requirements under Articles 103 and 130 of the Family Code regarding the liquidation of the community property and conjugal partnership should not be taken lightly. If the surviving spouse does not comply with such requirement and decides to get married again, a mandatory regime of complete separation of property shall govern the property relations of the subsequent marriage. In a regime of complete separation of property, each spouse shall own his present or future exclusive property. Thus, as enunciated in Article 14 of the Family Code, each spouse shall own, dispose of, possess, administer and enjoy his or her own separate estate, without need of the consent of the other. To each spouse shall belong all earnings from his or her profession, business or industry and all fruits, natural, industrial or civil, due or received during the marriage from his or her separate property.
Thus, while moving on from the loss of a loved one is a Herculean task, doing the necessary legal actions following such death is definitely possible and attainable.
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