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This article talks about the people who will inherit or are considered heirs when someone dies without a will.

Emily Dickinson once wrote “that it will never come again is what makes life so sweet”.  Such saying reminds us of our mortality and the unavoidable fate of death. Death of a loved one causes the collateral damage of living for some. As if that were not enough, there are certain legalities that will ensue upon death. One of which is succession or inheritance. A usual question that comes to mind after the grieving process is – who shall inherit the deceased’s property if there is no will?

 In the absence of a will, legal or intestate succession takes place [Article 960, Civil Code]. In default of testamentary heirs, the law vests the inheritance, in accordance with the rules hereinafter set forth, in the legitimate and illegitimate relatives of the deceased, in the surviving spouse, and in the State [Article 960, Civil Code].

The rightful heirs will depend on who survived the decedent. Please see the list below for the common permutations:

1.  If only the widow/widower is left, then she/he gets everything [Article 995, Civil Code].

2.  If only the children are left, then they get everything to be shared equally [Article 979, Civil Code].

3.  If the widow/widower and legitimate children are left, the estate is divided equally among the children and the widow/widower [Article 996, Civil Code].

4.  If the widow/widower and illegitimate children are left, the illegitimate children will get half of the estate while the remaining half will go to the widow/widower [Article 998, Civil Code].

5.  If the legitimate children and illegitimate children are left, all will be heirs. However, the illegitimate child will get a share equivalent to half of the share of a legitimate child [Article 895, Civil Code as amended by Art. 176, Family Code].

6.  If the widow/widower, legitimate children and illegitimate children are left, the widow/widower and the legitimate children each get equal shares while the illegitimate child will get a share equivalent to half of the share of a legitimate child [Article 999, Civil Code].

7.  If the parents of the decedent and legitimate children are left, the legitimate children will get everything.

8.  If the parents of the decedent and illegitimate children are left,  the parents will get half of the estate while the remaining half will go to the illegitimate children [Article 991, Civil Code].

9. If the widow/widower and parents of the decedent are left, the widow/widower shall get half while the remaining half goes to the decedent’s parents [Article 997, Civil Code]

10. If the parents of the decedent and his brothers and sisters are left, everything will go to the decedent’s parents.

11. If the widow/widower and brothers and sisters of the decedent are left, the widow/widower shall get half while the remaining half goes to the decedent’s brothers and sisters [Article 1001, Civil Code]

This is how property is divided among the heirs if someone dies without a will.

About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices

If you want to learn how to make a will or need help regarding estate planning, wills and succession, we can help you. Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at info@ndvlaw.com. Visit our website https://ndvlaw.com .

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