In the Philippines, November traditionally starts off with remembering our dearly departed. All Saints’ Day (1 November) and All Souls’ Day (2 November) have long been considered non-working holidays so that the population can visit all their loved ones who have been laid to rest.
Far from being a somber occasion, though, we’ve actually managed to turn it into something of a celebration. On those days, family members come together in cemeteries all over the country, bearing food, playing cards, and even a karaoke set (!) in some instances.
On such days, it’s almost as though the spirits of those who are long gone are still alongside us.
Beyond the holiday, however, a death in the family has serious legal and financial consequences that need to be addressed urgently. Losing a parent is tragic enough; having to deal with complications that arise from the improper handling of the deceased’s estate is the last thing any grief-addled person should worry about.
I can’t really think of anything that could ease the pain of a mother or father passing, but there are some guidelines we can refer to in addressing the latter, particularly when it comes transferring land titles in a quick and efficient way.
Basic Steps for Transferring A Deceased Parent’s Land Titles
- Execute a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate. The surviving children should agree on how to distribute or dispose of their deceased parent’s properties and then seek out the assistance of a lawyer to draft the aforementioned document.
- Publish the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate in a newspaper with general circulation. This has to be done via a broadsheet in the city and/or a relevant province once a week for three consecutive weeks.
- Acquire an Affidavit and Certification of the Publication from the newspaper in question. You will need to present these documents to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the next step.
- Pay Estate Tax at the BIR. It’s highly recommended that you accomplish this step right away as you’ll be charged a penalty of 25% on the tax amount in the event of a delay. If you leave it unpaid for a long time, an additional charge of 20% will apply for each year that passes.
- File for a transfer of title. Once you settle the estate tax, the BIR will give you a certificate that you should present to either the Land Registration Authority or the Registry of Deeds so you can proceed to transferring the title.
- Estate Tax. Under the new TRAIN law, estates worth Php200,000 and over are subject to a flat rate of 6 percent. It should also be noted that funeral expenses, judicial expenses, and medical expenses are now considered valid deductions from the taxable estate.
- Documentary Stamp Tax. This amounts to 1.5% of the zonal or market value, whichever is higher.
- Transfer Taxes or Fees. These range between 0.5% to 1% of the consideration or zonal or market value, whichever is higher.
- Are all of the deceased’s children required to sign the extra-judicial settlement of estate? Yes. Otherwise, it will not be processed. In case an heir or beneficiary is not interested in claiming their share, they need to make and sign a waiver to that effect.
- In case one of the children predeceased their parent/s, who can claim their share of the inheritance? The offspring of the deceased’s child in question may claim their parent’s share.
- What if the surviving descendants can’t agree on the division of the estate? In such cases, the court can be called upon to intervene and pass a verdict on the distribution of the properties according to the law.
Death is unavoidable for any of us, and having to bury a loved one is a painful reminder of such. However, we can honor the memory of our dearly departed by carrying out their posthumous wishes as peacefully and effectively as we can, particularly when it comes to how their remaining possessions are to be divided up amongst the ones they’ve left behind.
DISCLAIMER: This article does not serve as a substitute for professional legal counsel in any way. All policies and procedures enumerated above are derived from publicly-distributed material as of this writing and are subject to change without prior notice.