Who are compulsory heirs under Philippine law?

by | Feb 8, 2019 | Estate Law, Wills & Inheritance

A house being given away as part of estate proceedings

Philippine law dictates who inherits in all situations.

The people who inherit are called “heirs” or “tagapagmana” in Filipino.

These heirs and the amount they inherit the amount are determined by law when there is no will and even when there is a will.

A will can only dictate the heir of so-called “free portion”. A free portion is the amount of the state left over after the compulsory heirs have been given their share as per Philippine law.

As such, there is understandable interest in who the compulsory heirs are.

Below, I’ve listed the heirs for most situations and included sample calculations. Note that this is only a guide – compulsory heirs can be quite involved.

 

 

 

 

Read this first

This important information will help you correctly determine who the heirs are and what can happen in your particular situation.

  1. Wills must still follow the laws on compulsory heirs. The so called “free-portion” is the only part of the estate that the owner can give to whomever they wish.
  2. Wills cannot remove an heir from the estate unless there is a court proceeding called disinheritance that has been undertaken.
  3. When a child has passed away before a parent or grandparent, his children are entitled to inherit through the right of representation. However, the share the children inherit is the share of their parent and not more than that.
  4. If the parent has passed away, nephews and nieces may inherit from their uncle or aunt who have no children or will through the right of representation. However, the share the children inherit is the share of their parent and not more than that.
  5. Legitimate, illegitimate and adopted children inherit in all situations. Ampons do not inherit unless formally adopted or unless they are specified in the will.
  6. Remember that this is only a guide. Compulsory heirs can get complicated and it is always best to talk to a lawyer to be sure.

When the deceased has children

No 1 – 1 Legitimate child or Legitimate children

With a will:

  • Legitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the estate divided amongst them
  • Free portion – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is worth P1M, then the legitimate child must inherit P500,000. If there are 4 legitimate children, then each inherits P125,000. The remaining P500,000 can be left to whomever the estate owner wants as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate children (or his children) – all of the estate divided amongst them
  • Example: If the estate is worth P1M, then the legitimate child inherits the total estate. If there are 4 legitimate children, then each inherits P250,000.

No 2 – 1 Legitimate child & 1 Illegitimate child

With a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate child (or his children) – 1/4 of the estate
  • Free portion – 1/4 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is worth P1M, then the legitimate child must inherit P500,000 and the illegitimate child must inherit P250,000. The remaining P250,000 can be left to whomever the estate owner wants as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 2/3 of the estate
  • Illegitimate child (or his children) – 1/3 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is worth P1M, then the legitimate child must inherit P666,666 and the illegitimate child must inherit P333,333.

No 3 – 1 Legitimate child & Illegitimate children

With a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate children (or his children) – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion. If the free portion is not enough, then the illegitimate children’s shares are reduced equally.
  • Free portion – None
  • Example: If the estate is worth P1M, then the legitimate child must inherit P500,000. If there are 2 illegitimate children, then each would have P250,000. If there are 3 illegitimate children, then each illegitimate child would receive P166,666 or P500,000 divided by 3. If there are 4, then each illegitimate child would receive P125,000 or P500,000 divided by 4.

 

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child – 1/2 the estate
  • Illegitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child
  • Example: If there is 1 legitimate child and 3 illegitimate children and the estate is 1M, the estate would be divided so that the legitimate child has 1/2 of the estate. Although the illegitimate children should have 1/2 of the share of the legitimate child, this is not possible since it would exceed the amount of the estate. The legitimate child’s share would be protected and the illegitimate children’s share would be reduced equally so that each illegitimate child receives P166,666.

No 4 – Legitimate children & 1 Illegitimate child

With a will:

  • Legitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the estate divided among them
  • Illegitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child
  • Free portion – Remainder
  • Example: If there are 4 legitimate children and 1 illegitimate child, the legitimate children would each receive P125,000 which is half of the P1M estate or P500,000. The illegitimate child would receive half of the share of a legitimate child or P62,500. The remainder is P437,500 (1,000,000 less P500,000 and less P62,500) and can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child – Twice that of the illegitimate child, with the amount depending on how many illegitimate children there are.
  • Illegitimate children (or his children) – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child
  • Example: If there are 4 legitimate children and 1 illegitimate child, then each legitimate child will have P222,222 and the illegitimate child will inherit P111,111.

No 5 – Legitimate children & Illegitimate children

With a will:

  • Legitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the estate divide among them
  • Illegitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion. If the free portion is not enough, then the illegitimate children’s shares are reduced equally.
  • Free portion – Remainder
  • Example: If there are 4 legitimate children and 2 illegitimate children and the estate is 1M, then each legitimate child receives P125,000 or half of the estate divided among them. The 2 illegitimate children will receive P62,500 each. The remainder of P375,000 is the free portion and is given as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child – Twice that of the illegitimate child, with the amount depending on how many illegitimate children there are.
  • Illegitimate children (or his children) – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child
  • Example: If there are 4 legitimate children and 2 illegitimate children and the estate is 1M, then each legitimate child receives P200,000. The 2 illegitimate children will receive P100,000 each.

No 6 – Illegitimate children

With a will:

  • Illegitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the estate divided amongst them
  • Free portion – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If there are 4 illegitimate children and estate is 1M, then each illegitimate child receives P125,000. The remaining P500,000 is given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Illegitimate children (or his children) – all of the estate divided amongst them

Example: If there are 4 illegitimate children and estate is 1M, then each illegitimate child receives P250,000.

When the Deceased has Children & a Surviving Legal Spouse

No 7 – Surviving legal spouse & 1 legitimate child (or his children):

With a will:

  • One legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate
  • Free portion – 1/4 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, then the legitimate child receives P500,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000. The rest is given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • One legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, then the legitimate child receives P500,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P500,000.

No 8 – Surviving legal spouse & 2 or more legitimate children (or their children):

With a will:

  • Legitimate children (or their children) – 1/2 of the estate divided among them
  • Surviving legal spouse – same share as legitimate children and taken from the free portion.
  • Free portion – remainder of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M and there are 2 legitimate children, each legitimate child receives P250,000. If one of the legitimate children has already died, then that child’s children (the grandchildren of the deceased) may inherit the P250,000 in his place through the right of representation. The surviving legal spouse receives P250,000 and the P250,000 remainder is given to whomever the estate owner wants as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate children (or their children) – estate divided by the number of the legitimate children plus the spouse
  • Surviving legal spouse – share equal to that of a legitimate child
  • Example: If the estate is 1M and there are 2 legitimate children, each legitimate child (or his children if already deceased) receives P333,333 and the surviving legal spouse receives P333,333.

No 9 – Surviving legal spouse & 1 legitimate child (or his children) & 1 illegitimate child:

With a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate child – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate from the free portion
  • Free portion – none
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate child receives P500,000, the illegitimate child receives P250,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate child – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate from the free portion
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate child receives P500,000, the illegitimate child receives P250,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000.

No 10 – Surviving legal spouse & 1 legitimate child (or his children) & 2 or more illegitimate children

With a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate children – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate from the free portion
  • Free portion – none
  • Example: If there is a surviving legal spouse, 1 legitimate child and 2 illegitimate children and estate is 1M, the legitimate child receives P500,000, the illegitimate children receive P125,000 each and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000. The illegitimate children’s share would be reduced if there are more than 2.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate children – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate from the free portion
  • Free portion – none
  • Example: If there is a surviving legal spouse, 1 legitimate child and 2 illegitimate children and estate is 1M, the legitimate child receives P500,000, the illegitimate children receive P125,000 each and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000.

No 11 – Surviving legal spouse & 2 or more legitimate children & 2 or more illegitimate children

With a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate divided equally among them
  • Illegitimate child – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child taken from the free portion If the free portion is not enough, then the illegitimate children’s shares are reduced equally.
  • Surviving legal spouse – share equal to one legitimate child from the free portion
  • Free portion – remainder
  • Example: If there are 2 legitimate children and 4 illegitimate children and estate is 1M, the legitimate children receive P250,000 each, the illegitimate children receive P62,500 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate child (or his children) – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate children – 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child
  • Surviving legal spouse – Share equal to that of a legitimate child but reduced to the minimum of 1/4 legitime if the estate is not sufficient. [Art 999, Tolentino]
  • Example: If there are 2 legitimate children, a legal spouse and 4 illegitimate children and estate is 1M, the legitimate children receive P250,000 each, the illegitimate children receive P62,500 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000.

No 12 – Surviving legal spouse & illegitimate children

With a will:

  • Illegitimate child/ren – 1/3 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/3 of the estate
  • Free portion – 1/3 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M and there is one illegitimate child, the illegitimate child receives P333,333 and the surviving legal spouse receives P333,333. The remainder can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as per his will.

Without a will:

  • Illegitimate child/ren – 1/2 of the estate divided among them
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M and there is one illegitimate child, the illegitimate child receives P500,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P500,000. If there are 2 or more illegitimate children, the P500,000 is divided among them.

No 13 – Surviving Legal Spouse, Legitimate Ascendants (Grandparents/Parents) and Illegitimate Children

With a will:

  • Legitimate Ascendants of the deceased – 1/2 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/8 of the estate taken from the free portion
  • Illegitimate Children – 1/4 of the estate
  • Free portion – 1/8 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate ascendants receive P500,000. The parent/s inherit if they are still alive. Otherwise, the grandparents inherit with the paternal side receiving P250,000 and the maternal side receiving P250,000. The illegitimate children receive P250,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P125,000. The rest can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate Ascendants of the deceased – 1/2 of the estate with nearest ascendants inheriting. If parent/s are alive, this share goes to them. If grandparents are alive, the share is split between the paternal and maternal sides.
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate
  • Illegitimate Children – 1/4 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate ascendants receive P500,000. The parent/s inherit if they are still alive. Otherwise, the grandparents inherit with the paternal side receiving P250,000 and the maternal side receiving P250,000. The illegitimate children receive P250,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000.

No 14 – Legitimate Ascendants (Grandparents/Parents) and 1 or more Illegitimate Children

With a will:

  • Legitimate Ascendants of the deceased – 1/2 of the estate
  • Illegitimate children – 1/4 of the estate taken from the free portion divided among them
  • Free portion – 1/4 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate ascendants receive P500,000. The parent/s inherit if they are still alive. Otherwise, the grandparents inherit with the paternal side receiving P250,000 and the maternal side receiving P250,000. The illegitimate children receive P250,000 divided equally among them and the rest can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate Ascendants of the deceased – 1/2 of the estate with nearest ascendants inheriting. If parent/s are alive, this share goes to them. If grandparents are alive, the share is split between the paternal and maternal sides.
  • Illegitimate child – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate ascendants receive P500,000. The parent/s inherit if they are still alive. Otherwise, the grandparents inherit with the paternal side receiving P250,000 and the maternal side receiving P250,000. The illegitimate children receive P500,000 divided equally among them.

When the Deceased has No Children

No 15 – Surviving Legal Spouse and Siblings of the Deceased (or their children)

With a will:

  • Siblings of the deceased – none
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/2 of the estate
  • Free portion – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the surviving legal spouse receives P500,000 and the rest can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Siblings of the deceased (or their children) – 1/2 of the estate divided among them
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the surviving legal spouse receives P500,000 and the siblings (or their children) are given the remaining P500,000 to be shared among them.

No 16 – Surviving Legal Spouse and Legitimate Ascendants (Grandparents/Parents)

With a will:

  • Legitimate Ascendants of the deceased – 1/2 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate taken from the free portion
  • Free portion – 1/4 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate ascendants receive P500,000. The parent/s inherit if they are still alive. Otherwise, the grandparents inherit with the paternal side receiving P250,000 (half of P500,000) and the maternal side receiving half of the P250,000 (the other half of P500,000). The surviving legal spouse receives P250,000 and the rest can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Legitimate Ascendants of the deceased – 1/2 of the estate with nearest ascendants inheriting. If parent/s are alive, this share goes to them. If grandparents are alive, the share is split between the paternal and maternal sides.
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the legitimate ascendants receive P500,000. The parent/s inherit if they are still alive. Otherwise, the grandparents inherit with the paternal side receiving half of the P500,000 and the maternal side receiving half of the P500,000. The surviving legal spouse receives P500,000.

No 17 – Legitimate Spouse and Illegitimate Parents

With a will:

  • Illegitimate Parents of the deceased – 1/4 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/4 of the estate
  • Free portion – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the illegitimate parents receive P250,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P250,000. The rest of the estate can be given to whomever the estate owner wishes as stated in the will.

Without a will:

  • Illegitimate Parents – 1/2 of the estate
  • Surviving legal spouse – 1/2 of the estate
  • Example: If the estate is 1M, the illegitimate parents receive P500,000 and the surviving legal spouse receives P500,000.

8 Comments

  1. Star

    Hi Attorney,

    Kung ang situation po is no child no spouse, but there is a will specifying only people he/she wanted to get the inheritance (not the siblings, not the parents) pwede po masunod ang will?

    thank you po.

    Reply
    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      The case is that there is no will, no child, no spouse and I assume that the deceased is a Filipino citizen?

      If so, then the parents would inherit. If no parents are living, then the siblings would inherit.

      If the deceased is not a Filipino citizen, then other rules may apply.

      Note this is general information and can change should other information come to light.

      Reply
  2. Anthony

    Hi,

    What if the wife was not legal wife? That she was married before but then remarried foreigner? is her children with him then illegeitamate? if he passes away who inherits then? He had one child from the previous marriage.

    Reply
    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Hi Anthony:

      I am confused as to the situation.

      In general — illegitimate children inherit from their parents.

      Their share is usually 1/2 of the share of a legitimate child but it can vary depending on the family situation.

      Reply
    • Nino

      Good day Attorney,

      What if the situation is this:

      Under intestate succession, there is a Surviving Spouse, 3 Legitimate Children, and 4 Illegitimate Children and the amount of net estate distributable to the heirs is amounted to 3 million. How should the estate be divided?

      I tried to apply the rules you have given on “1SS, 2 or more LC, 2 or more IC” but I cannot satisfy the minimum of 1/4 given to spouse because it will impair the provision about the surviving spouse should have equal amount to 1 legitimate child.

      Reply
      • Lawyers in the Philippines

        Hi:

        There are a lot of assumptions that I check when I evaluate an estate.

        However, in general, if I assume that the deceased is a Filipino without a will, then the net estate of Php 3M would be 500,000 for the legal wife, 500,000 per legitimate child and 250,000 per illegitimate child.

        Please note – I made many assumptions since there was limited information. The above data would change if more information is brought to light.

  3. Cathy Fernandez

    Good day Attorney,

    I need an advice from you regarding heirs of my father inherited from his father but not a conjugal property. The main lot heredity is came from his grandfather. My father has 1 sister and 1 brother, they were 3 children in the first wife whom married. His mother died when they were still a kid. The father was link with other woman whom they had 5 children but there is no proof of married. The parents are both died without Will. My concern is how to divide the heirs from the first wife (married) with 3 children and for the second wife (not married) with 5 children. Do they received and equal share since the lot came from their grandfather? Please help.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Lawyers in the Philippines

      Hi:

      This is very difficult to answer since I would need to assess the documents and better understand the situation. If there are other relevant facts, then the information below will change. Relevant facts would be if the property was exclusive, under what property regime this would be, the estate documents etc.

      As such, I cannot answer.

      I suggest that you send the documents and complete facts to our email so that I can better understand the situation.

      Reply

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