Law News

Disinheriting a child

Dear PAO,

I have four children, and three of them are successful in their lives and chosen careers. My fourth child, however, did not follow my advice. Instead of becoming a professional doctor, she chose to be a member of a dance group. I am very much disappointed with her. Now she is living with her boyfriend and doesn’t visit the house anymore or communicate with any of us. I understand that she is my heir because she is my daughter, but I want to teach her a lesson. I don’t want to pass any of my properties to her when the time comes. Can I remove her from being my heir?

Dear Eli,
To answer your question, we shall refer to Articles 904 and 919 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which provide that:

“Art. 904. The testator cannot deprive his compulsory heirs of their legitime, except in cases expressly specified by law.


“Art. 919. The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of children and descendants, legitimate as well as illegitimate:

“(1) When a child or descendant has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants;

“(2) When a child or descendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found groundless;

“(3) When a child or descendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;

“(4) When a child or descendant by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made;

“(5) A refusal without justifiable cause to support the parent or ascendant who disinherits such child or descendant;

“(6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant;

“(7) When a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life;

“(8) Conviction of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil interdiction.”

Hence, as a general rule, your daughter who is also your compulsory heir cannot be deprived of her legitime except in cases expressly provided by law. If your intention is to disinherit your daughter, then Article 919 of the New Civil Code shall apply. However, to be valid, the disinheritance must be based on the grounds mentioned in the provision.

Moreover, under Article 916 of the New Civil Code, the disinheritance must be made through a will wherein the legal cause as provided for in Article 919, is specified, to be effective.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to

By: Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta