Death and Real Estate

Death and Real Estate in the Philippines

It is an integral part of Filipino culture for people to bequeath property, money, etc. to their loved ones in the event of their passing. Some go to great lengths to make the necessary preparations before their deaths, while others leave a murky situation that will need to be sorted out by their surviving family.

Ownership of real estate is often hotly contested in the event that no will is left behind. Most think that the only way to settle the issue is to go through judicial proceedings, but that is far from the case. As stated in Rule 74, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, you (along with other heirs) can resolve the issue through extrajudicial settlement of estate, given the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The deceased left no will.
  • The deceased has no outstanding debts, thereby all debts have been fully paid.
  • The heirs of the deceased are all of legal age. Meanwhile, underage minors must be duly represented by their legal or judicial representatives.
  • A public instrument, known as the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate, is duly executed and filed with the Register of Deeds.


Extrajudicial settlement of estate is the recommended recourse for faster transfer of properties, as judicial settlement can take years before a conclusion is reached. A legal document called an “Extrajudicial Settlement Among Heirs” must be executed to start an extrajudicial settlement. The following information must be duly specified:

  • Satisfaction of legal conditions for an extrajudicial settlement
  • Description of properties involved in the settlement (title number, value, location, technical description, etc.)
  • The nature of the property
  • Name of the heirs
  • How the properties will be divided among the heirs
  • A bond if personal property is involved
  • Acknowledgment that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement will be published in a newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks


For multiple heirs

An extrajudicial settlement of estate allows multiple heirs of legal age (as well as minors with judicial representatives) to divide the estate among themselves as they fit. If you don’t find the agreement agreeable, you must file an ordinary action for partition.

All parties to an extrajudicial settlement must file a bond with the Register of Deeds simultaneously with the public instrument or stipulation in the action for partition. The bond must be of equal value to the personal property involved and must be certified under oath by all parties involved. Section 1 of Rule 74 goes on to state that the bond must also be, “… conditioned upon the payment of any just claim that may be filed under Section 4 of this rule.”


For sole heirs

As mentioned, you can adjudicate the entire estate to yourself by filing an affidavit in the office of the Register of Deeds. Sole heirs must also file a bond, and this must be of equivalent amount to the personal property involved.


In summary settling the deceased’ estate, either any of the modes mentioned above, the proper estate taxes must be settled first before any part of the estate can be passed upon the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.


Duran & Duran-Schulze Law counts family law as one of our areas of expertise. For more information about extrajudicial settlement of estate and similar proceedings, get in touch with us today at or (+632) 478-5826.

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