When a person dies in the Philippines, property left behind (the “estate”) can only be legally transferred to the heirs through a process called “settlement of estate.” The settlement of estate can either be done through court process (judicial) or without court intervention (extrajudicial).

A judicial settlement of estate is a complex, long and tedious, not to mention an expensive, legal proceeding. The heirs must go to court and because of the complicated legal procedure involved, an attorney must be hired to navigate the legal process. There are filing fees, court costs, and attorney fees involved and with the snail-pace speed of the Philippine judicial system, it may take several years or even decades (especially in disputed cases) before a final decision is handed by the court to distribute the estate of the deceased person.

In most cases, whether the estate involved is substantial or not, the most practical approach is through extrajudicial settlement, especially among surviving heirs who are residents of the U.S. and are not keen on traveling to the Philippines to attend court proceedings. The heirs can settle and distribute the estate of the deceased without Philippine court intervention.

There are, however, certain requirements in order to qualify for this speedier and relatively inexpensive legal procedure, such as the absence of disagreement among the heirs on the division and distribution of the estate among themselves and when the deceased died without leaving a will.

If your loved ones left you assets or property in the Philippines and you do not know what to do, be sure to consult an attorney knowledgeable in Philippine law to assess your situation and find out if you qualify for an extrajudicial settlement process.

At FILIPINO LAW GROUP (FLG), we have assisted several families in the U.S. and around the world to transfer assets and/or properties left behind in the Philippines by their deceased loved ones through the extrajudicial settlement process. Although our headquarters is located in Los Angeles, California FLG also has law offices in the Philippines. We have helped clients from all over the world with their Philippine business and property matters. Call toll free 1.855.6228429 or email info@filipinolawgroup.com to make sure that the property your loved ones intended for you to have, does not go to waste.