Disinheritance

What is disinheritance?

Disinheritance isan act by which an owner of an estate deprives a person who would otherwise be his heir, or the right to inherit it. It can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause shall be specified. The cause must be one authorized or enumerated by law. The burden of proving the truth of the cause of the disinheritance shall rest upon the heirs of the testator, if the disinherited heir should deny it. Further, the New Civil Code has made mention of disinheritance in this article:

Art. 915. A compulsory heir may, in consequence of disinheritance, be deprived of his legitime, for causes expressly stated by law. (848a)

What are the grounds for disinheritance of a descendant?

The grounds for disinheritance is expressly stated in this article:

Art. 919. The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of children and descendants, legitimate as well as illegitimate:

(1) When a child or descendant has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants;

*There should be a final judgment of conviction by a court of justice of the guilt of the descendant which however, may come before or after the execution of the will and the guilt must be established.

(2) When a child or descendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found groundless;

*The act of accusing as understood in this paragraph may include the institution of a criminal action, or even the mere statement of the heir as a witness in a case against the testator, a statement where said heir affirms or corroborates the accusation. As a matter of fact, if the heir-witness is in possession of facts which might result in the testator’s acquittal and the heir-witness deliberately fails to reveal said facts, there is also an “accusation.”

(3) When a child or descendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;

*It is essential that there must be a final judgment of conviction either in the adultery caseor in the concubinage case before this Article can be applied.

(4) When a child or descendant by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made;

*No judicial demand is needed for the law does not require this. Note that when a judicial pronouncement is needed, the law says so.

(5) A refusal without justifiable cause to support the parent or ascendant who disinherits such child or descendant;

(6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant;

*Note that maltreatment by an ascendant of a descendant does not constitute a ground for the descendant to disinherit the ascendant, for while it may be an abuse, it is generally in the exercise of a power. The reverse is however repugnant to natural law, and is therefore a ground for disinheritance.

(7) When a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life;

*There need not be final judgment of conviction. The essence of the cause is that anything that brings dishonor or disgrace to the family of the testator merits correction in the form of disinheritance. However, a single act is not ordinarily sufficient, for “leading a life” implies continuity.

(8) Conviction of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil interdiction. (756, 853,674a)

What are the grounds for disinheritance of an ascendant?

The grounds for disinheritance is expressly stated in this article:

Art. 920. The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of parents or ascendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate:

(1) When the parents have abandoned their children or induced their daughters to live a corrupt or immoral life, or attempted against their virtue;

*Abandonment is indeed physical, moral, social or educational; hence, it does not have the technical signification of “abandonment” under the Rev. Penal Code. Moreover, whether intentional or not, the negligent and careless failure to perform the duties of parenthood is a significant element of abandonment.

(2) When the parent or ascendant has been convicted of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants;

(3) When the parent or ascendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found to be false;

(4) When the parent or ascendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;

(5) When the parent or ascendant by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made;

(6) The loss of parental authority for causes specified in this Code;

(7) The refusal to support the children or descendants without justifiable cause;

(8) An attempt by one of the parents against the life of the other, unless there has been a reconciliation between them. (756, 854, 674a)

*Note well that this paragraph does not apply when the attempt is against the life of a person other than the other parent. When a father for instance attempts to kill his own father-in-law, the son of the offending father cannot disinherit him on this ground.

What are the grounds for disinheritance of a spouse?

The grounds for disinheritance is expressly stated in this article:

Art. 921. The following shall be sufficient causes for disinheriting a spouse:

(1) When the spouse has been convicted of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her descendants, or ascendants;

(2) When the spouse has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment of six years or more, and the accusation has been found to be false;

(3) When the spouse by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence cause the testator to make a will or to change one already made;

(4) When the spouse has given cause for legal separation;

(5) When the spouse has given grounds for the loss of parental authority;

(6) Unjustifiable refusal to support the children or the other spouse. (756, 855, 674a)

References:

Paras, E. (1999). Civil Code III (Succession). Quezon City: Rex Printing Company, Inc.

The New Civil Code of the Philippines

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>