Legal or intestate succession

1. Concepts

“Legal succession” 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. (Article 960, R.A. 386, Civil Code)

a. Hierarchy of intestate heirs

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. (Article 961, Ibid.)

b. Relationship

1) Rule on proximity

Article 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it properly takes place. (R.A. 386, Civil Code)

The above-cited provision of law is also known as the rule on proximity.

The rule on proximity is a concept that favors the relatives nearest in degree to the decedent and excludes the m...

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