Question: My father died a year ago, and he left a will here in Canada regarding the execution of his estate. In the will, he disinherited one of my brothers and removed him as an heir to all his property and assets. The said assets include some lots in the Philippines.
My other siblings and I are talking about selling these lots, but we are not sure about some of the processes and the details involved. Will the Philippine government recognize our father’s will given that it’s a foreign document? How long will the processing take, and how much should we prepare for this? We hope you can answer our questions. Thanks!
Answer: There are three important points to consider given this situation:
(1) Is your father a Canadian citizen and a Canadian resident at the time of his death? If he is, then the execution of his will shall be governed by Canadian laws (Civil Code of the Philippines, 2nd par. Article 16 & Article 1039).
(2) Not considering the first issue, it is possible for the will of your father to be validated by a Philippine court. However, there might be some conflicts when this happens, as will be stated in the next item.
(3) If the laws of the Philippines will be used in the execution of the will of your father, then there might be some legal issues concerning the removal of your brother as an heir. As the son of your father, he is a COMPULSARY HEIR under Philippine law and cannot be deprived of his inheritance. As such, he can oppose the will legally (Section 10 of Rule 76 of the Rules of court).
There are some cases that will allow your brother to be disinherited (Civil Code, Article 919). Below is a list of these cases:
* If he is found guilty of an attempt against the life of your father, your mother, you, or any of your other siblings
* If your brother accused your father of a crime, and the accusation was found to be groundless (this applies if the crime is one that is punishable by 6 years or more of imprisonment)
* If your brother has been found guilty of adultery with your mother
* If your brother caused your father to make a will or change a will he had already made by force, violence, or fraud
* If your brother refused to support your father without any justifiable cause
* If your brother physically or verbally maltreated your father
* If your brother was convicted of a crime that carries with it civil interdiction as penalty
* If your brother lived a dishonorable life
If any of the provisions mentioned above is true and was used by your father as basis in disinheriting your brother, then the will of your father may be considered valid here in the Philippines.
As to your question regarding length of processing time and the amount it would take to process, it will all depend on the factors mentioned above. If your brother will contest the will, then you might be in for some long court processing and more expenses.