Chapter 3: Administration of the Property of the Absentee (Title XIV, Book I, Civil Code)

Note: The following are annotations or notes on legal provisions. They are intended to be as a helping guide to better understanding the law. They are, however, not sources of law nor authorities. (Please refer to our full Disclaimer.)

Article 387. An administrator of the absentee’s property shall be appointed in accordance with article 383. (187a)


1) Spouse present preferred, if no legal separation. The rule on preferring the spouse present to be the administrator of an absentee’s property is adopted for purpose of administration of property.

a. Same; Article 383, Civil Code: “[Par. 1] In the appointment of a representative, the spouse present shall be preferred when there is no legal separation… [Par. 2] If the absentee left no spouse, or if the spouse present is a minor, any competent person may be appointed by the court.”

Article 388. The wife who is appointed as an administratrix of the husband’s property cannot alienate or encumber the husband’s property, or that of the conjugal partnership, without judicial authority. (188a)


1) Rule on wife as administratrix.

a. Limitation on wife as administratrix. The wife-administratrix will require judicial authority in these cases:

(1) Alienation or encumbrance of the husband’s property; and

(2) Alienation or encumbrance of the property of the conjugal partnership.

b. No limitation on husband as administrator. There is no similar rule applying to a husband-administrator. Based on this article, it is thus possible for a husband-administrator to alienate/encumber the wife’s property and/or that of the conjugal partnership.

Article 389. The administration shall cease in any of the following cases:
(1) When the absentee appears personally or by means of an agent;
(2) When the death of the absentee is proved and his testate or intestate heirs appear;
(3) When a third person appears, showing by a proper document that he has acquired the absentee’s property by purchase or other title.
In these cases the administrator shall cease in the performance of his office, and the property shall be at the disposal of those who may have a right thereto. (190)


1) Grounds for ceasing/stopping administration. The following are the grounds for ceasing/stopping the administration:

(a) Personal appearance by absentee or of an agent;

(b) Absentee’s death is proven, and absentee’s testate/intestate heirs appear; or

(c) Third-party appears proving acquisition of absentee’s property by purchase or other title via proper documentation.

a. Personal appearance by absentee or of an agent. As ordinarily and commonly understood, the phrase “personal appearance” contemplates actual physical presence, excluding technology-assisted appearance such as videoconferences. As for agents, in addition to making a personal appearance also, they should be able to show sufficient proof of their authority or designation such as a special power of attorney or any other public instrument.

b. Absentee’s death is proven, and absentee’s testate/intestate heirs appear. The proof of death of the absentee should be clearly established, such as presenting a death certificate or, in case of presumptive death, the judicial declaration thereof. As for the testate heirs, they should be able to present an authentic copy of the last will and testament showing that they are to receive inheritance. For the intestate heirs, they should show proof of their legal relationship to qualify them as an intestate or compulsory heir, such as original/certified true copies of their birth certificates and of relevant individuals (e.g. biological parents, siblings, etc.).

c. Third-party appears proving acquisition of absentee’s property by purchase or other title via proper documentation. In case a third-party shows up with a claim over the absentee’s property, they should prove their acquisition thereof via deeds of absolute sale or other proper documentation, such as a deed of donation.


• Title XIV – Absence, Book I, Civil Code


/Updated: April 23, 2023

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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