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Puerto Rico Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: Is donation a viable option if the land and property on the land does not have a deed? what would be the impact of an

excuted donation when the land and property are not registered? Was the donation process illegal and can the lawyer be held accountable for malpractice if it impacted tax liabilities to all other heirs of an unregistered, unsegregated land belonging to multiple parties?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jul 2, 2024

This is a complex question involving several aspects of Puerto Rican property law, tax law, and legal ethics. I'll break down the key issues and provide some general insights, but please note that this is a situation where consulting a qualified local attorney would be crucial for specific... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Which Department to I check with for unclamed funds from the Sale of a Family Estate in Puerto Rico?

My Grandmother signed some documents while sick in a Hospital in PR and has since passed. Her Family never received a copy of the document signed and her heirs have not received their share of inheritence from the sale of a large multi-acre sale in Puerto Rico. My mother is now up in age and... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jun 25, 2024

Based on the information provided, there are a few potential avenues you could explore to research unclaimed funds from the sale of a family estate in Puerto Rico:

1. Departamento de Hacienda (Department of Treasury):

This is indeed a good place to start. The Departamento de...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: What does this statement signify in laments term on a donation document being drafted for my father who is still alive?

"clarify that they acquire a participation equivalent to _percent in the property described above, in such a way that, from now on, they are all owners of it in community of property. It is noted that all those appearing parties in this act have been warned about the legal effects of the... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jun 20, 2024

In layman's terms, what the paragraph means is that all of the owners each has a participation of a specific percentage over the entire real estate property, but none has specific ownership. For example, if the property is a house, no one owns the kitchen or the bathroom, etc. A subsequent... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: What is the best way to leave property and unsegregated land to desired heirs? Are there any processes that do not

require a declaration of heirs? As an example, can the land be donated prior to death? If donation or a Will is processed, will it still require a declaration of heirs process? when is deciding to submit a donation or Will a good idea? Does it make the overall process easier for the heirs? If no... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jun 18, 2024

The most control that you have over leaving real estate property, before death, is by donation; after death, conditional to your having left a will before your passing. If you leave a will, the declaration of heirs will not be necessary. Whether to transfer the property via donation or by way of a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My father died without a will in Puerto Rico and named his best friend as the co-owner and benficiary of his money.

My father died without a will in Puerto Rico. Before he died, he named his best friend as the co-owner and beneficiary of the bank account in Puerto Rico. My father was married for 18 months to a foreign woman who NEVER LIVED in Puerto Rico with my father and of course, she is asking about the... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jun 17, 2024

First of all, I would need to know when did your father die. If he died after November 28, 2020, his wife is as much an heir as your father's children. Although your father may have designated his wife as co-owner of bank funds, once the banks are notified of your father's death,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: Instead of a Will , is it better to donate the property to your children before death? Note, that the land to which the

property is built on has not been properly segregated and there is no deed yet for the land. The land is to be split across 5 heirs. We are in the process of hiring land a surveyor to plot out the land and hopefully get our land and deeds established.

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jun 17, 2024

You can donate the real estate to your children, assuming that it is done in equal parts and assuming that you have no spouse, since, under Puerto Rico rule of law, the spouse is as much an heir as your children.

If you decide to donate the real estate, both you and your children must...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: is it better to leave a Will in Puerto Rico?

what are the pros and cons? There is real estate property and land that will be inherited by the children regardless if there is a will, but what would by the pitfalls of leaving a will versus not?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jun 13, 2024

First of all, real estate property in Puerto Rico is subject to the Rule of Law in Puerto Rico, regardless of whether a will exists or not. If you leave no will upon your death, a petition for a declaration of your heirs will need to be presented before the Puerto Rico courts, in the municipality... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: In P.R. my grandfather married my grandmother and had his (FIRST & ONLY LEGITIMATE HEIR) from that marriage, AKA my mom.

She has illegitimate siblings from when he was unfaithful. HOWEVER, she was still his 1st LEGAL HEIR. Now he passed away back in 2000 and apparently left his house in P.R. to my mom even though they never really had that tight loving father/daughter relationship. He tried to rekindle many times but... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jun 10, 2024

In Puerto Rico, inheritance laws are based on the Civil Code, which can be quite specific about who inherits property. If your grandfather left the house to your mother in his will, she would be the legal heir to the property. Whether she accepts the inheritance or not is her decision, but it... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: Can my grandmother leave me (Grandchild) her home when she passes away while having serviving children?

She lived in Puerto Rico and has 6 children, but wants to leave her home to me can she do that without having to leave her home to her children?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 23, 2024

So long as your grandmother (a) leaves a valid will in Puerto Rico, and (b) has enough assets in her estate to address her children's legitimate inheritance, she may. A person who testates in Puerto Rico may freely dispose of half of his/her estate (called the free disposition half), leaving... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: How can i dispute CRIM’s fines/fees on unpaid taxes for a property I inherited through death?

I paid the principle of over $40k. The dues are even more. I never received a tax bill until Jan 2024.

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 7, 2024

Unfortunately, any property taxes owed must be paid by the heirs of the deceased owner. Whether you receive a bill from CRIM or not depends on whether you notified change of ownership. Assuming there are more than one heir, these taxes are proportionally imputable between the heirs. Legal liens,... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: want house in a trust. Have no title yet, but in process adverse possession. Can i put it in name of trust or mine first

i lived in my house since 1960, have evidence of history of gas and light in my name and a sworn declaration from the 1980’s and neighbors as witnesses. I’m currently in the process of an adverse possession to get a title.

1.) Do I have to wait and get a title in my name first and then... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 6, 2024

I'm assuming that an adverse possession in process means that you already have an attorney. I recommend that you consult this very question with your attorney. Nevertheless, with the information you've provided, (1) you need to wait to obtain the real estate title in your name; and (2)... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: What are Ist step to file with the probate court for an estate.

Person died in Puerto Rico 2022, property in Puerto Rico. Will written 1987 in NY not registered in puerto rico. What is the 1st document to be file, I'm told its call a complaint affidavit. This don't sound right. Could someone confirm

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 22, 2024

Actually, the first document that you require would be the deceased's death certificate. A will subscribed outside Puerto Rico may or may not comply with Puerto Rico rule of law, and it may be simpler to just file a Petition for a Declaration of Heirs from the Puerto Rico courts, given the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: How do probate laws in NY and PR affect each other? My late husband's properties will be in probate simultaneously.
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 18, 2024

Probate laws in New York (NY) and Puerto Rico (PR) are separate and distinct, as they are two different jurisdictions. However, if your late husband owned properties in both NY and PR, the probate process will need to be initiated in each jurisdiction simultaneously. Here's what you should... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: My father in law a resident of Puerto Rico passed away recently. A couple of years prior to his passing he had his

daughter open a bank account under her name and he gave her funds to put in it. HIs wish was that when he passed she would distribute the funds per his wishes. Which she did. 2 weeks after his passing someone found a will and is now saying that the money in her account should be part of the will.... View More

Alan Harrison
Alan Harrison
answered on Mar 11, 2024

That sounds like an inter vivos gift! Even if it was a joint account with rights of survivorship, that money typically would avoid probate and his daughter would be free to distribute it however she wished (maybe even if she didn't comply with your father in law's directions).

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: Can we renounce this property to CRIM so it doesn’t pass on to our children when we pass?

My sister & I are declared heirs & paying taxes to CRIM since our mom’s passing in 2016, but 1 of the properties (land only) is not registered in our name at Prop. of Registry. It’s registered to our grandfather for more than 100 yrs. It was an unresolved matter for mom to register it... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 2, 2024

In Puerto Rico, dealing with inheritance and property taxes involves navigating a complex legal landscape, especially when property titles and registrations involve unresolved issues from past generations. If you and your sister are considering not passing a specific piece of land to your children... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Is credit card inherited under the Puerto Rico law? I know some debt is but I am interested to know about credit cards.

My greataunt passed a few months ago. We notified the creditors and tried to cancel all cards. She left a will but the money she had was used for funeral and medical expenses in the months she was sick. She did leave some land though. Can the heirs in the will inherit the credit card debt? I know... View More

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answered on Feb 28, 2024

According to Puerto Rico law, credit card debt is generally not inherited by heirs named in a will.

Specifically, Article 584 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code states that heirs are only responsible for a deceased person's debts up to the value of the property they inherit.

So if...
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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: How does PR verify or confirm if there are additional heirs entitled to inheritance? is the heir process a civil process

I was raised by my grandparents and potentially found out through ancestry.com that my grandma may have had children from a previous marriage. If she did, they were not born or raised in PR, but neither was I. Do I need to disclose potential/alleged children if I don't have legal confirmation... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 24, 2024

In Puerto Rico, the process of verifying heirs and confirming entitlement to inheritance typically involves a civil procedure overseen by the courts. If you suspect that there may be additional heirs entitled to inheritance, it's important to disclose any information or evidence you have, even... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: If my father has 3 children and leaves his will only to 1. Then states the other 2 don’t get anything. Can they fight?

There’s 3 children but father left the will only to 1. This was approved by a lawyer. Can the other 2 children still fight to claim some of the will?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 4, 2024

In this situation, it's important to understand that the validity of a will and the rights of the children may vary depending on the laws of the jurisdiction in question, which, in this case, is Puerto Rico. In general, a person has the right to create a will and leave their assets to whomever... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Puerto Rico: Inheritance - My father died Summer 2014 and the case is being delayed by 1 heir. Risk to lose inheritance?

One heir has fired her lawyers and then was none responsive for 3 years. Now she is hiring a new lawyer. Can she be held accountable for everything that has to be done again? Ex. Appraisal of the house. Also, am I at risk of losing any part of the inheritance? Ex. Money in bank accounts.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 1, 2024

In a Puerto Rico inheritance case where one heir has been unresponsive and caused delays, it can be challenging, but it does not necessarily mean you will lose your inheritance. The heir who has been unresponsive may face consequences for the delays, especially if it has caused additional expenses... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Father past. Mother alive. There's five siblings. Property in an incorporation. After Mother passes who keeps property?

My parents have a property in Puerto Rico. There's five siblings. Father past away Mother is still alive, who's it belong to? The property is also in an incorporation. One sibling is president in the corporation, my Mother is vise-president and I'm secretary. Should this sibling pass... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jan 8, 2024

The property will still belong to the corporation. As a rule, when a stockholder dies, his/her shares pass on to his/her heirs, unless an existing stockholders' agreement signed by them state otherwise.

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