Q: I want to make sure that my child is not deprived of his inheritance when I die. Should I write a will already?
A: This question is very timely since we just celebrated the Lenten Season.
An eager woman once asked me, “Can you help me get my share of my father’s inheritance? I need it now.” Calmly I asked her, “So, when did your father die?” She looked puzzled. She replied: “My father is very much alive and I want to get my inheritance now as he might not give me anything at all when he dies.”
We have seen families fighting over their inheritance; we have heard of court cases over the same. So back to our question: should a parent write his will now?
The writing of an effective, legally acceptable, and morally upright will may be a good measure to prevent a feud after a death in the family. It is always good to be prepared. Hence, writing a will now would be highly recommended, regardless of the amount of material things you possess AND regardless of your age.
However, under our laws, the provisions of a will only take effect upon the death of the Testator (the one who writes the will). Would you want to have control over your property after your death? If the answer is yes, then there is no better time than now to write a will. To make the will legal and binding and avoid inconsistencies, lapses, and loopholes, it is best to get the services of a lawyer to assist you, since the cost that you may incur now may be less than the cost that your child may incur later for engaging the services of a lawyer to fight in court and assert his/her rights to an inheritance.
Or, you may just write a will in your own handwriting (holographic), without the need of a lawyer or witnesses, for that matter. Article 810 of our Civil Code provides:
Art. 810. A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.
We all want to ensure a good future for our children, but who is to say that we’ll be alive to see to that? Time is not a luxury we have. Let’s see to it that “family feud” remains a wholesome game on TV, and not a real-life fight among our relatives. Let’s write that will.
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Please send your questions on family law for Atty. Real to firstname.lastname@example.org.