CHAPTER 3 LEGAL OR INTESTATE SUCCESSION
SECTION 1. – General Provisions
Art. 960. Legal or intestate succession takes place:
(1) If a person dies without a will, or with a void will, or one which has subsequently lost its validity;
(2) When the will does not institute an heir to, or dispose of all the property belonging to the testator. In such case, legal succession shall take place only with respect to the property of which the testator has not disposed;
(3) If the suspensive condition attached to the institution of heir does not happen or is not fulfilled, or if the heir dies before the testator, or repudiates the inheritance, there being no substitution, and no right of accretion takes place;
(4) When the heir instituted is incapable of succeeding, except in cases provided in this Code. (912a)
Art. 961. In default of testamentary heirs, the law vests the inheritance, in accordance with the rules hereinafter set forth, in the legitimate and illegitimate relatives of the deceased, in the surviving spouse, and in the State. (913a)
Art. 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it properly takes place.
Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal shares, subject to the provisions of article 1006 with respect to relatives of the full and half blood, and of Article 987, paragraph 2, concerning division between the paternal and maternal lines. (912a)
SUBSECTION 1. – Relationship
Art. 963. Proximity of relationship is determined by the number of generations. Each generation forms a degree. (915)
Art. 964. A series of degrees forms a line, which may be either direct or collateral.
A direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants.
A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not ascendants and descendants, but who come from a common ancestor. (916a)
Art. 965. The direct line is either descending or ascending.
The former unites the head of the family with those who descend from him.
The latter binds a person with those from whom he descends. (917)
Art. 966. In the line, as many degrees are counted as there are generations or persons, excluding the progenitor.
In the direct line, ascent is made to the common ancestor. Thus, the child is one degree removed from the parent, two from the grandfather, and three from the great-grandparent.
In the collateral line, ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent is made to the person with whom the computation is to be made. Thus, a person is two degrees removed from his brother, three from his uncle, who is the brother of his father, four from his first cousin, and so forth. (918a)
Art. 967. Full blood relationship is that existing between persons who have the same father and the same mother.
Half blood relationship is that existing between persons who have the same father, but not the same mother, or the same mother, but not the same father. (920a)
Art. 968. If there are several relatives of the same degree, and one or some of them are unwilling or incapacitated to succeed, his portion shall accrue to the others of the same degree, save the right of representation when it should take place. (922)
Art. 969. If the inheritance should be repudiated by the nearest relative, should there be one only, or by all the nearest relatives called by law to succeed, should there be several, those of the following degree shall inherit in their own right and cannot represent the person or persons repudiating the inheritance. (923)
SUBSECTION 2. – Right of Representation
Art. 970. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were living or if he could have inherited. (942a)
Art. 971. The representative is called to the succession by the law and not by the person represented. The representative does not succeed the person represented but the one whom the person represented would have succeeded. (n)
Art. 972. The right of representation takes place in the direct descending line, but never in the ascending.
In the collateral line, it takes place only in favor of the children of brothers or sisters, whether they be of the full or half blood. (925)
Art. 973. In order that representation may take place, it is necessary that the representative himself be capable of succeeding the decedent. (n)
Art. 974. Whenever there is succession by representation, the division of the estate shall be made per stirpes, in such manner that the representative or representatives shall not inherit more than what the person they represent would inherit, if he were living or could inherit. (926a)
Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive, they shall inherit from the latter by representation, if they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they shall inherit in equal portions. (927)
Art. 976. A person may represent him whose inheritance he has renounced. (928a)
Art. 977. Heirs who repudiate their share may not be represented. (929a)
SECTION 2. – Order of Intestate Succession
SUBSECTION 1. – Descending Direct Line
Art. 978. Succession pertains, in the first place, to the descending direct line. (930)
Art. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants, without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages.
An adopted child succeeds to the property of the adopting parents in the same manner as a legitimate child. (931a)
Art. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing the inheritance in equal shares. (932)
Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children who are dead, survive, the former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation. (934a)
Art. 982. The grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation, and if any one of them should have died, leaving several heirs, the portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the latter in equal portions. (933)
Art. 983. If illegitimate children survive with legitimate children, the shares of the former shall be in the proportions prescribed by Article 895. (n)
Art. 984. In case of the death of an adopted child, leaving no children or descendants, his parents and relatives by consanguinity and not by adoption, shall be his legal heirs. (n)
SUBSECTION 2. – Ascending Direct Line
Art. 985. In default of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his parents and ascendants shall inherit from him, to the exclusion of collateral relatives. (935a)
Art. 986. The father and mother, if living, shall inherit in equal shares.
Should one only of them survive, he or she shall succeed to the entire estate of the child. (936)
Art. 987. In default of the father and mother, the ascendants nearest in degree shall inherit.
Should there be more than one of equal degree belonging to the same line they shall divide the inheritance per capita; should they be of different lines but of equal degree, one-half shall go to the paternal and the other half to the maternal ascendants. In each line the division shall be made per capita. (937)
SUBSECTION 3. – Illegitimate Children
Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants, the illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. (939a)
Art. 989. If, together with illegitimate children, there should survive descendants of another illegitimate child who is dead, the former shall succeed in their own right and the latter by right of representation. (940a)
Art. 990. The hereditary rights granted by the two preceding articles to illegitimate children shall be transmitted upon their death to their descendants, who shall inherit by right of representation from their deceased grandparent. (941a)
Art. 991. If legitimate ascendants are left, the illegitimate children shall divide the inheritance with them, taking one-half of the estate, whatever be the number of the ascendants or of the illegitimate children. (942-841a)
Art. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child. (943a)
Art. 993. If an illegitimate child should die without issue, either legitimate or illegitimate, his father or mother shall succeed to his entire estate; and if the child’s filiation is duly proved as to both parents, who are both living, they shall inherit from him share and share alike. (944)
Art. 994. In default of the father or mother, an illegitimate child shall be succeeded by his or her surviving spouse who shall be entitled to the entire estate.
If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, she or he shall inherit one-half of the estate, and the latter the other half. (945a)
SUBSECTION 4. – Surviving Spouse
Art. 995. In the absence of legitimate descendants and ascendants, and illegitimate children and their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, the surviving spouse shall inherit the entire estate, without prejudice to the rights of brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, should there be any, under article 1001. (946a)
Art. 996. If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants are left, the surviving spouse has in the succession the same share as that of each of the children. (834a)
Art. 997. When the widow or widower survives with legitimate parents or ascendants, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to one-half of the estate, and the legitimate parents or ascendants to the other half. (836a)
Art. 998. If a widow or widower survives with illegitimate children, such widow or widower shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the illegitimate children or their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, to the other half. (n)
Art. 999. When the widow or widower survives with legitimate children or their descendants and illegitimate children or their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, such widow or widower shall be entitled to the same share as that of a legitimate child. (n)
Art. 1000. If legitimate ascendants, the surviving spouse, and illegitimate children are left, the ascendants shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the other half shall be divided between the surviving spouse and the illegitimate children so that such widow or widower shall have one-fourth of the estate, and the illegitimate children the other fourth. (841a)
Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half. (953, 837a)
Art. 1002. In case of a legal separation, if the surviving spouse gave cause for the separation, he or she shall not have any of the rights granted in the preceding articles. (n)
SUBSECTION 5. – Collateral Relatives
Art. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles. (946a)
Art. 1004. Should the only survivors be brothers and sisters of the full blood, they shall inherit in equal shares. (947)
Art. 1005. Should brothers and sisters survive together with nephews and nieces, who are the children of the descendant’s brothers and sisters of the full blood, the former shall inherit per capita, and the latter per stirpes. (948)
Art. 1006. Should brother and sisters of the full blood survive together with brothers and sisters of the half blood, the former shall be entitled to a share double that of the latter. (949)
Art. 1007. In case brothers and sisters of the half blood, some on the father’s and some on the mother’s side, are the only survivors, all shall inherit in equal shares without distinction as to the origin of the property. (950)
Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half blood shall succeed per capita or per stirpes, in accordance with the rules laid down for the brothers and sisters of the full blood. (915)
Art. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters nor children of brothers or sisters, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate.
The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood. (954a)
Art. 1010. The right to inherit ab intestato shall not extend beyond the fifth degree of relationship in the collateral line. (955a)
SUBSECTION 6. – The State
Art. 1011. In default of persons entitled to succeed in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Sections, the State shall inherit the whole estate. (956a)
Art. 1012. In order that the State may take possession of the property mentioned in the preceding article, the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court must be observed. (958a)
Art. 1013. After the payment of debts and charges, the personal property shall be assigned to the municipality or city where the deceased last resided in the Philippines, and the real estate to the municipalities or cities, respectively, in which the same is situated.
If the deceased never resided in the Philippines, the whole estate shall be assigned to the respective municipalities or cities where the same is located.
Such estate shall be for the benefit of public schools, and public charitable institutions and centers, in such municipalities or cities. The court shall distribute the estate as the respective needs of each beneficiary may warrant.
The court, at the instance of an interested party, or on its own motion, may order the establishment of a permanent trust, so that only the income from the property shall be used. (956a)
Art. 1014. If a person legally entitled to the estate of the deceased appears and files a claim thereto with the court within five years from the date the property was delivered to the State, such person shall be entitled to the possession of the same, or if sold the municipality or city shall be accountable to him for such part of the proceeds as may not have been lawfully spent. (n)