Katy, TX asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico

Q: My wife's grandmother has died in Puerto Rico no surviving Husband or Children. Six Grand children and house with Mtg.

The Will she left only mentions giving to three of the grand children. What are the rights of the other 3 grand children with regard to the "forced heirs" inheritance laws in PR? Also since the house has a lien of $80,000 mortgage to the bank, how does that impact any sale or distribution of "value" as that is the only asset owned? Also can the house be transferred to one of the "heirs" without the agreeance from the remaining 5 heirs?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
  • Probate Lawyer
  • San Juan, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: Regarding your grandmother's will, upon the death of her children, her grandchildren become her legitimate heirs in their own right by representation of their parents. Thus, by leaving out three of her grandchildren without explicitly disinheriting them pursuant to the permissible causes under the Puerto Rico Civil Code, the omitted grandchildren have been pretermissioned and have a cause to go before a court of law in Puerto Rico.

Now then, if your grandmother died before November 28, 2020, the entire will can be revoked by a competent court of law, and her estate may then be distributed equally among all the surviving grandchildren. If she died on or after that date, the omitted grandchildren can only expect to participate in the legitimate half of her estate, and the "free disposition" half would remain among the three grandchildren she specifically stated in her will.

However, your grandmother's estate is made up of her assets AND obligations. Therefore, before any distribution of assets is made among your grandmother's heirs, the mortgage and any other debts must first be paid. Those heirs who accept their inheritance "at inventory title" would only be responsible for the debts up to the value of the inheritance received from your grandmother. BUT, any grandchild who has been in possession or control of the estate is assumed to have accepted his/her inheritance "pure and simple", and will be liable, not only with the value of the inheritance received, but also responsible with his/her own patrimony.

In any event, should you appear before a Puerto Rico court to contest the will, the bank holding the mortgage note should also be notified because of its interest in your grandmother's estate.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.