Reserva troncal

Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant.

The principle of reserva troncal is provided in Article 891 of the Civil Code: 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 belong to the line from which said property came.

There are three (3) lines of transmission in reserva troncal. The first transmission is by gratuitous title, whether by inheritance or donation, from an ascendant/brother/sister to a descendant called the prepositus. The second transmission is by operation of law from the prepositus to the other ascendant or reservor, also called the reservista. The third and last transmission is from the reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must be relatives within the third degree from which the property came.

The persons involved in reserva troncal are: (1) The ascendant or brother or sister from whom the property was received by the descendant by lucrative or gratuitous title; (2) The descendant or prepositus (propositus) who received the property; (3) The reservor (reservista), the other ascendant who obtained the property from the prepositus by operation of law; and (4) The reservee (reservatario) who is within the third degree from the prepositus and who belongs to the (linea o tronco) from which the property came and for whom the property should be reserved by the reservor. (Mendoza vs. Delos Santos; G.R. No. 176422; March 20, 2013)