Friday, September 5, 2008

Reserva Troncal

Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. [Civil Code of the Philippines]


Mother [origin] gave land to her child [propositus]by donation or in her will [by gratuitious title]. The child died with no descendant and no will, so father [reservor or reservista] inherited the land intestate. Or, child gave land to father as the latter's legitime in a will. Father owns the land only until he dies. The land is reserved by law in favor of the relatives of the mother within the third degree from the child, who are the reservees or reservatorios.

The reservees/reservatorios within the 3rd degree from the child are any of the following:

Maternal half-brothers and half-sisters [MHB/MHS] - second degree
Maternal half-nephews and half-nieces [MHN] -third degree
Maternal grandparents [MGP] - second degree
Maternal great grandparents [MGG] - third degree
Maternal aunts and uncles [MU/MA] - third degree


1. Among the reservees, those in the direct line are preferred as against the collateral line. Thus, a grandparent [GP} is preferred to a HB or HS. Also, the nearer excludes the farther.
2. MHNs are preferred to MU and MA because they are also intestate heirs of propositus, while MU and MA are not.
3. Children of first cousins are not reservees, because they are already sixth degree from the propositus.
between the brother of the father and brother of the mother, the property goes to the latter by reserva troncal.
4. Suppose the mother dies intestate, leaving a car to her child. Later the child dies intestate with no issue [no wife nor children]. The father inherits the car by instestate succession. The car is reservable.
5. The propositus is the owner of the above car while alive, so he can defeat the reserva by selling the car.
6. There is no reserva troncal if the child gives the property to his father in a will ouf of the free portion, because that is only by operation of law.
7. The reservista is a full owner of the property subject to a resolutory condition [i.e. upon his death, the property goes to the reservees].
8. The property cannot be used to pay the debts of the reservista's estate because it is not part of his estate after his death.
9. The reservista must inventory the property and must furnish a bond, mortgage or any other security to secure the delivery of the property or its value to the reservees.
10. The reservista is liable for all deterioration imputable to his fault or negligence.
11. Land may be registered as a subject to reserva troncal; and if there is such annotation in the title, security is not necessary.
12. If the property is personal, the reservista may sell, donate, or pledge the property, but his estate must reimburse the reservees the value of the property.
13. If the propertyis land, the reservista must annotate the reserva troncal within 90 days from the time he accepts the inheritance [when there is no case filed in court] or within 90 days from the time it is awarded to him by the court. The reservees can judicially demand the annotation.
14. The reservees inherit the property from the propositus, not from the reservista. They are conditional heirs of the propositus.
15. There is representation in reserva troncal, but the representative must also be within the third degree from the propositus [like nephews or nieces].
16. Proceeds of insurance given to the beneficiary are not subject to reserva troncal because this is not a donation.
17. If the mother gives a lotto ticket to her son and the ticket wins and later, the prize is inherited by the father, there is no reserva troncal because the prize came from PCSO, not from the mother.
18. Prescription extinguishes the reserva troncal [30 years for real property, 8 years personal peoperty].
19. If the property subject to reserva troncal is expropriated, the reserva continues on the indemnity.
20. If the property is insured and later destroyed, the reserva continues on the insurance proceeds.
21. The purpose of reserva troncal is to keep the property in the family to which it belongs [Velayo Bernardo vs. Siojo, 58 Phil 89].
22. Reserva troncal exists only in the legitimate family; no reservista exists in favor of illegitimate relatives.

23. Reserva Maxima and Reserva Minima explained: A son received from his mother P200k under her will. He also had properties of his own worth 400k. When the son died without issue, he left all his estate [P600k] to his father in his will. How much is the reservable property? The legitime of the father in his son's estate is P300k [1/2 of 600k]. Under the principle of reserva maxima, since the 200k legitime of 300k received by the son from his mother can be included or contained in his legitime of 300, said 200k is reservable. But under the principle of reserva minima, only 1/2 of 200k is reservable, on the theory that only 1/2 of the 200k received by the sonfrom his mother went to the father by operation of law.

24. The reserva maxima is more in consonance with the original objective of reserva troncal, because it subjects to the reservation the largest amount possible. But the reserva minima is more just and more equitable, more in line with the philosophy of law of socialization of property, and favored by Manresa and Scaevola.

How is the reserva extinguished?

1. Death of the reservor or reservista
2. Death of all the would-be reservees ahead of the reservoir
3. Accidental loss of the reservable property
4. Prescription - runs from the death of the reservor [30 years for real property; 8 years fro personal peoperty]

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