Benedicto delos Reyes, during his lifetime, sold some of his properties to the heirs of his executor. The said sale was challenged by the heirs of the decedent, contending therein that said properties cannot be legally disposed by the decedent because it forms part of his estate to be inherited by petitioners, the decedent heirs. Both the trial court upheld the validity of the sale between decedent and the heirs of the executor having said that the sold properties were sold before the death of the decedent and can no longer be part of the inheritance.
Whether or not the petitioners are entitled of the property sold by the decedent during his lifetime.
It depends. The general rule is that the heirs cannot validly claim ownership over the properties in question if alienated prior to the decedent’s death. The rights to succession are transmitted at the moment of death of the decedent (Art. 777 of the Civil Code) Exception is when said alienation is subsequently declared void as when there is intent to defraud and to deprive the heirs of their legitimes. In such case, said alienation is void. Here, the sale was declared void for being absolutely simulated and because of intent to defraud heirs of their legitimes. Hence, said properties still form part of the inheritance of the deceased.