Newnan, GA asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico

Q: Who is the owner of a Real Estate Property in Puerto Rico after death of one parent? Spouse or Inheritanance?

My father and mother were gifted (via Escritura), a piece of land with a house built on it by them in Isabela, PR by my Paternal Grandmother in 1983. The property was registered but as far as we know from bills from the CRIM and Property Registry they only show my father's name on the documents. My father passed away in 2010 and my mother is still alive and their a total 5 siblings (Alive/Same Parents). As far as ownership is my mother the current owner of the house or do we have to do a Declaration of Inheritance thru the court? Thank you for your time.

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

A: After November 28, 2020, Puerto Rico rule of law determines that the heirs of an estate are the deceased's spouse and children. Before that date, the estate belongs to the deceased's children with an inheritance lien in favor of your widowed mother (called in Spanish, "la cuota viudal"). Ig your dad left a will, the percentages may vary. Since your dad died under the previous Civil Code, you and your siblings inherit your dad's estate. Since both you're parents were the donnees of a real estate property, the other half belongs to your mother. Although both spouses are considered co-administrators of their joint conjugal estate, it's common practice to identify the property under the husband's name. A probate attorney can assist in filing the appropriate documents in CRIM and the Property Registry to change title ownership to the heirs.

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