Chapter 4: Presumption of Death (Title XIV, Book I, Civil Code)

Article 390. After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for those of succession.

The absentee shall not be presumed dead for the purpose of opening his succession till after an absence of ten years. If he disappeared after the age of seventy-five years, an absence of five years shall be sufficient in order that his succession may be opened. (n)

Article 391. The following shall be presumed dead for all purposes, including the division of the estate among the heirs:

(1) A person on board a vessel lost during a sea voyage, or an aeroplane which is missing, who has not been heard of for four years since the loss of the vessel or aeroplane;

(2) A person in the armed forces who has taken part in war, and has been missing for four years;

(3) A person who has been in danger of death under other circumstances and his existence has not been known for four years. (n)


1) Definition.

a. Presumption of death – refers to a judicial declaration presuming that an absentee is dead because of prolonged years of absence, and it is unknown whether the absentee is dead.

2) Rules on presumption of death.

a. Time periods. The following periods are required prior to a judicial declaration of presumptive death:

A. Ordinary Absence

(1) 10-year absence – for purposes of opening succession;

(2) 7- year absence – for all other purposes;

(3) 5-year absence – f...

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