The heir’s limited right
Don Fil died leaving an unpaid debt. Tev, his creditor, sued Mar, the administrator of his estate and convincingly won. Soon, properties belonging to the late Don Fil were levied upon. Thereafter, a sale at public auction was held pursuant to a writ of execution issued by the court for the satisfaction of judgment debt.
A number of the lots were awarded to Tev who alone bid for them. Within the period for redemption, Matie, as one of the heirs of the late Don Fil, redeemed from Tev four lots. A deed of redemption was issued for said lots. Matie then filed a motion with the court and asked for the transfer to her name of the titles to the four parcels of land covered by the deed of redemption.
Q: Can Matie validly exercise the right of redemption under the Rules of Court?
A: Yes, she is “successor-in-interest” of Don Fil. The rule is that the term “successor-in-interest” includes one to whom the debtor has transferred his statutory right of redemption; one to whom the debtor has conveyed his interest in the property for the purpose of redemption; one who succeeds to the interest of the debtor by operation of law.
In this case, Matie is the daughter of the late Don Fil whose estate was levied upon on execution to satisfy the money judgment against it. As a legitimate heir, she qualifies as a successor-in-interest.
Q: When does the heirs of the decedent start to own the property of the latter?
A: Art. 777 of the Civil Code states that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent. Hence at the moment of the decedent’s death, the heirs start to own the property, subject to the decedent’s liabilities.
In fact, they may dispose of the same even while the property is under administration. If the heirs may dispose of their shares in the decedent’s property even while it is under administration, with more reason should the heirs be allowed to redeem redeemable properties despite the presence of an administrator.
Q: Can Matie, upon redemption, demand the transfer of the titles of the four parcels of land covered by the Deed of Redemption from registration in the name of Fil to her name?A: No, to allow such transfer of title would amount to a premature distribution of the estate contrary to the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 90 of the Rules of Court.
(Source: Palicte vs. Ramolete, G.R. No. L-55076 Sept. 21, 1987)
Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis is Dean, College of Law at the Lyceum of the Philippines University; Member, Board of Trustees of Philippine Association of Law Schools; founder of Mawis Law Office
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