5 kinds of succession

Here are five (5) kinds of succession as to different aspects. This outline is based on the book of Paras (2008).


[a] succession inter vivos (example: donation)
[b] succession mortis causa (this is succession in the speciļ¬c sense meant in Art. 774)

The principal characteristics of a donation mortis causa, which distinguish it essentially from a donation inter vivos, are that in the former it is the donor's death that determines the acquisition of, or the right to, the property, and that it is revocable at the will of the donor. In the donations in question, their effect, that is, the acquisition of, or the right to, the property, was produced while the donor was still alive, for according to their expressed terms they were to have this effect upon acceptance, and this took place during the donor's lifetime. The nature of these donations is not affected by the fact that they were subject to a condition, since it was imposed as a resolutory condition, and in this sense, it is necessarily implies that the right came into existence first as well as its effect, because otherwise there would be nothing to resolve upon the non-fulfillment of the condition imposed. Neither does the fact that these donations are revocable, give them the character of donations mortis causa, inasmuch as the revocation is not the failure to fulfill the condition imposed. In relation to the donor's will alone, these donations are irrevocable.

On the other hand, this condition, in so far as it renders the donation onerous, takes it further away from the disposition mortis causa and brings it nearer to contract. In this sense, by virtue of this condition imposed, they are not donations throughout their full extent, but only so far as they exceed the incumbrance imposed, for so far as concerns the portion equivalent to or less than said incumbrance, it has the nature of a real contract and is governed by the rule on contracts (art. 622 of the Civil Code). And in the part in which it is strictly a donation, it is a donation inter vivos, because its effect was produced by the donees' acceptance during the donor's lifetime and was not determined by the donor's death. Upon being accepted they had full effect. If the donor's life is mentioned in connection with this condition, it is only fix the donor's death as the end of the term within which the condition must be fulfilled, and not because such death of the donor is the cause which determines the birth of the right to the donation. The property donated passed to the ownership of the donees from the acceptance of the donations, and these could not be revoked except upon the non-fulfillment of the condition imposed, or for other causes prescribed by the law, but not by mere will of the donor. (G.R. No. L-29204)


[a] testamentary succession (there is a will)
[b] intestate or legal succession (there is NO will)
[c] mixed succession (part of the property has been disposed of in a will)

Legal or intestate succession takes place: (1) If a person dies without a will, or with a void will, or one which has subsequently lost its validity; (2) When the will does not institute an heir to, or dispose of all the property belonging to the testator. In such case, legal succession shall take place only with respect to the property of which the testator has not disposed; (3) If the suspensive condition attached to the institution of heir does not happen or is not fulfilled, or if the heir dies before the testator, or repudiates the inheritance, there being no substitution, and no right of accretion takes place; (4) When the heir instituted is incapable of succeeding, except in cases provided in this Code. (Article 960 of the Civil Code)

[a] compulsory succession (refers to the legitime)
[b] voluntary succession (refers to the free disposal)

The following are compulsory heirs: (1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants; (2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children and descendants; (3) The widow or widower; (4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction; (5) Other illegitimate children referred to in article 287.

Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4, and 5 are not excluded by those in Nos. 1 and 2; neither do they exclude one another.

In all cases of illegitimate children, their filiation must be duly proved.

The father or mother of illegitimate children of the three classes mentioned, shall inherit from them in the manner and to the extent established by this Code. (Article 887 of the Civil Code)


[a] universal succession (covering ALL juridical relations involving the deceased)
[b] particular succession (covering only certain items or properties)


Contractual succession is that kind where a future husband and a future wife give to each other future property, effective mortis causa, by means of a marriage settlement.

SOURCE: Justice Edgardo L. Paras (2008). The Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated. Volume III on Wills and Succession. 978-971-23-6268-2. https://www.rexestore.com/succession-law-books/540-civil-code-iii-succession.html

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