Property rules

On donating properties


The donor cannot donate future property, which refers to anything he/she cannot dispose of at such time. Thus, in one case, the Supreme Court held that future property includes all properties which belong to others at the time of the donation, although they may or may not later belong to the donor.


When a donation is made to several persons jointly, it is understood to be in equal shares. Unless the donor provides otherwise, and except donations jointly made to spouses, the donees shall not enjoy a right of accretion, which is a mode of acquiring property through the gradual and imperceptible accumulation of soil or sediment caused by action of the waters of a river.

The donor shall only be liable for eviction when the donation is onerous, in which case, his liability shall be concurrent with the burden; and there is bad faith on his part. Nevertheless, the donee is subrogated to all rights and actions which in case of eviction would pertain to the donor.


The donor may reserve the right to dispose some of the things donated, or of some amount which shall be a charge thereon. But if he/she should die without having made use of the right, the property or amount reserved shall belong to the donee.

The ownership of the property may also be donated to one person and the usufruct to another or others, provided that all the donees are living at the time of the donation.

The donor may be entitled to reversion, in which the ultimate relief sought is to revert the land back to him/her, for any case and circumstances.

Meanwhile, third persons are not entitled to reversion, unless they are all living at the time of the donation. Any reversion stipulated by the donor in favor of a third person in violation of this rule shall be void, but shall not nullify the donation.

A donation may impose upon the donee the obligation to pay the donor’s debts, which shall only include those appearing to have been previously contracted, unless otherwise stipulated. In no case shall the donee be responsible for the debts exceeding the value of the property donated, unless a contrary intention clearly appears.

Should there be no stipulation regarding the payment of debts, the donee shall be responsible therefor only when the donation has been made in fraud of creditors. In this regard, the donation is always presumed to be in fraud of creditors, when at the time thereof the donor did not reserve sufficient property to pay his debts prior to the donation.

A donation inter vivos made by a donor having no descendants, whether legitimate, legitimated by subsequent marriage, or illegitimate, may be revoked or reduced when:


(a) after the donation, the donor should have children, even though they be posthumous;

(b) the donor’s child, whom he/she believed to be dead when he made the donation should turn out to be living; and

(c) the donor subsequently adopts a minor child.

In any of these instances, the donation shall be revoked or reduced insofar as it exceeds the portion that may be freely disposed of by will, taking into account the whole estate of the donor at the time of the birth, appearance, or adoption of the child. Upon the revocation or reduction of the donation, the property affected shall be returned or its value if the donee sold the same.

Meanwhile, if the property was mortgaged, the donor may redeem the mortgage by paying the amount guaranteed, with a right to recover the same from the donee. When the property cannot be returned, its value shall be estimated at the time of the donation.

The donor may revoke a donation because of ingratitude in the following cases:

if the donee should commit some offense against the person, honor, or property of the donor, or of his/her spouse or children under his/her parental authority;

(b) if the donee imputes to the donor any criminal offense, or any act involving moral turpitude, even though he/she should prove it, unless the crime or act was committed against the donee himself/herself, his/her spouse or children under his/her authority; or

(c) if he/she unduly refuses him support when the donee is legally or morally bound to give support to the donor.

While the donation is revoked on account of ingratitude, alienations and mortgages effected before the notation of the complaint for revocation in the Registry of Property shall subsist. Later ones shall be void.

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