Law News

Donation of movable property

Dear PAO,
I am an overseas Filipino worker who spent half my life in a foreign country working to earn money. As a result, I acquired three vehicles, which my family and relatives use for transportation. These are also the same vehicles I use whenever I’m on vacation. Just recently, my favorite grandson graduated from senior high school and his parents (one of which is my daughter) want him to study in Manila. In this regard, I would like to donate to him one of the vehicles I own so he can easily go home to the province during holidays and summer breaks. Can you please explain to me the process in donating a car?

Dear Lito,
To answer your question, we shall refer to Article 725 of the New Civil Code, which reads as follows:

“Article 725. Donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it.”

By this definition, you as a donor voluntarily transfers ownership of a property to your intended recipient or donee, who, in turn, accepts the donated property.

For movable properties such as the car that you intend to donate to your favorite grandson, the law provides that:

“Article 748. The donation of a movable may be made orally or in writing. An oral donation requires the simultaneous delivery of the thing or of the document representing the right donated.

“If the value of the personal property donated exceeds five thousand pesos, the donation and the acceptance shall be made in writing, otherwise, the donation shall be void.” (Emphases supplied)

As a general rule, donation of a movable property may be made orally or in writing.

However, in your case, for there to be a valid donation, the law requires that the donation be made in writing because the value of the vehicle you will donate would presumably exceed P5,000. Moreover, it is also required that the person receiving the donation expressly manifests conformity in receiving the donation, which must be in writing. These formal requirements in the preparation and execution of a deed of donation of a movable property must be fully observed for there to be an actual and valid donation.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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