Dealing with Properties of a Deceased Person

In the practice of their profession, real estate service practitioners every so often encounter property owners who could not readily sell or dispose of their properties simply because it remains to be registered in the name of their deceased relative. Considering that the said properties cannot be transferred to the name of the buyer until the estate of the deceased has undergone settlement, parties are often tempted to resort to falsification to conveniently conclude the documentation process. While such method could expedite the documentation process, it is illegal, and it exposes real estate service practitioners to criminal prosecution. Real estate service practitioners must bear in mind that under Philippine laws the people who stood to benefit by the falsification of a public document and was in possession of it are presumed to be the material author of the falsification. The risk of serving jail time far outweighs the convenience and the monetary considerations received. To avoid future criminal accountability, parties are encouraged to go through the appropriate Settlement Procedures provided for by law before proceeding with any sale transaction.

While there are several modes to settle the estate of the deceased, for purposes of this article we shall focus on extrajudicial settlement by agreement between the heirs, which is provided under Section 1 Rules 74 of the Rules of Court. This applies exclusively to instances where the deceased left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of legal age, or if minors, are duly represented by their legal or judicial representatives. With this process, the heirs are allowed to divide the estate among themselves, as they deem fit, by means of a public instrument, more particularly known as a Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate. By far, extrajudicial settlement proves to be less complicated as opposed to the other available modes of settlement of estate of deceased but practitioners are advised, nonetheless, to take heed of following important stages of the process:

  • Filing a Notice of Death with the Bureau of Internal Revenue
  • Identifying the surviving heirs of the deceased and determining whether the subject property is part of Conjugal Property.
  • Signing and execution of the Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate by the heirs.
  • Publication of the fact of the extrajudicial settlement in a newspaper of general circulation.
  • Settlement or payment of the appropriate Estate Taxes.

After submission of all documents and compliance with the necessary procedures, the corresponding Transfer of Certificates of Title under the name of heirs will be issued by the Register of Deeds.

By: Atty. Gabriel Lyndon C. Perez
REBAP Caloocan Chapter

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