Friday, October 07, 2011

Heirs and inheritance (Part 8): Do inherited properties belong exclusively to the spouse who inherited them or to both spouses?

Answer: It depends on what system of property relations governs the spouses, whether absolute community of property (ACP), conjugal partnership of gains (CPG), or complete separation of property.

For Filipinos who got married after August 3, 1988 (the date the Family Code of the Philippines became effective), their system is most probably absolute community of property. Why? Because most Filipinos get married without knowing that they can choose their system of property relations.

Under the system of absolute community of property, all properties belonging to the man and woman, at the time of the celebration of their marriage, automatically become part of their community property (see Article 91 of the Family Code). All properties acquired during their marriage are also community property, with certain exceptions under Article 92.

So, assuming that the system of property relations between you and your spouse is absolute community of property (ACP):

(1) you inherited the property before the marriage …

it is part of the community property, even if:
  • the title to the property still remains in the name of the person from whom you inherited the property;
  • the title to the property has been transferred to your name; or
  • the property remains titled in your name all throughout your marriage.
(2) you inherited the property during the marriage …it is not part of the community property since it was acquired by gratuitous title as provided under Article 92 of the Family Code; the exception is when the testator (the person who gave you the property through a last will) expressly provided that it will be community property.

Related post: Heirs and inheritance (Part 7): Is property acquired before marriage the exclusive property of each spouse or does it belong to both spouses?