Summary settlement of deceased's estate

Generally, the settlement of the estate of the decedent should be judicially administered through an administrator or executor. The following are exceptions:

[1] If the decedent died without leaving a will and without leaving debts, extrajudicial settlement of the estate is available.

[2] If the gross estate is of small value, summary settlement of the estate is available. For this purpose, small value means it does not exceed (gross value) 10,000 pesos.

The reason for allowing the above-listed remedies is that, as much as possible, as when partition - in or out of court- is available, the estate should be free from the burden of administration proceedings if there are no good and compelling reasons to proceed.

Section 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court, however, does not preclude the heirs from instituting administration proceedings, even if the estate has no debts or obligations, if they do not desire to resort for good reasons to an ordinary action for partition. While Section 1 allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves as they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action for partition, the said provision does not compel them to do so if they have good reasons to take a different course of action. It should be noted that recourse to an administration proceeding even if the estate has no debts is sanctioned only if the heirs have good reasons for not resorting to an action for partition. Where partition is possible, either in or out of court, the estate should not be burdened with an administration proceeding without good and compelling reasons. (G.R. No. L-81147. June 20, 1989)

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