Why classify property into real or personal?

What is the importance of classifying property under the law into real (immovable) and personal (movable)? Paras (2008) explains that the classication of property into immovables or movables does not assume its importance from the fact of mobility or non-mobility, but from the fact that different provisions of the law govern the acquisition, possession, disposition, loss, and registration of immovables and movables.

For example, a donation of real property, like land, must be in a public instrument, otherwise the alienation will not be valid even as between the parties to the transaction.

Article 749. In order that the donation of an immovable may be valid, it must be made in a public document, specifying therein the property donated and the value of the charges which the donee must satisfy.

The acceptance may be made in the same deed of donation or in a separate public document, but it shall not take effect unless it is done during the lifetime of the donor.

If the acceptance is made in a separate instrument, the donor shall be notified thereof in an authentic form, and this step shall be noted in both instruments. (New Civil Code of the Philippines)

On the other hand, the donation of a movable may made made by mouth or on paper, depending on its value. If allowed by law to be oral, donation of personal property must be done simultaneously with delivery.

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.

The ownership of may be acquired or lost for a period of time provided for by law. Said period differs depending on whether the property is movable or immovable. Please see the following legal provisions:
Article 1132. The ownership of movables prescribes through uninterrupted possession for four years in good faith. This shorter period requires four years of continuous possession.

The ownership of personal property also prescribes through uninterrupted possession for eight years, without need of any other condition. This longer period applies despite bad faith on the part of the possessor.

With regard to the right of the owner to recover personal property lost or of which he has been illegally deprived, as well as with respect to movables acquired in a public sale, fair, or market, or from a merchant's store the provisions of articles 559 and 1505 of this Code shall be observed.

Article 1134. Ownership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired by ordinary prescription through possession of ten years. Article 1137. Ownership and other real rights over immovables also prescribe through uninterrupted adverse possession thereof for thirty years, without need of title or of good faith. The ten-year rule applies in case there is good faith; otherwise, the thirty-year rule.

There are many other rules affected by the movable nature of the property but one more worth noting here is the rule on double sale under Article 1544. If [a thing is] sold to different [buyers], the ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession thereof in good faith, if it should be movable property.

Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property. Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the person who in good faith was first in the possession; and, in the absence thereof, to the person who presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith.

The discussion above is based on an outline by Paras (2008) in his book on property law. His books are available in fine bookstores nationwide. SOURCE: Paras (2008). CIVIL CODE of the PHILIPPINES ANNOTATED By EDGARDO L. PARAS, † Litt. B., LL.B., LL.M., LL.D. Associate Justice Supreme Court of the Philippines (1986-1992). VOLUME TWO ARTS. 414-773 (PROPERTY). Rex Book Store. https://www.rexestore.com/law-library-essentials/537-civil-code-volume-ii-property.html

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