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Puerto Rico Probate Questions & Answers
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

James L. Arrasmith
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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 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 Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Parents dead, no will. Grandson lived in house until death Dec 2023. 4 chidren 2 dead. Where do we go 4 help on this

House in Bayamon Puerto Rico. How do we claim house

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Feb 2, 2024

In the absence of a will, the alternative is to go before the Court of First Instance of Bayamon to petition a declaration of heirs for each dead parent. In the case of the 2 dead children, their offsprings would inherit in their deceased parent's stead. After obtaining the declaration of... 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 Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: My father passed. I soon found out he owed CREM. Am I responsible for paying it?
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Dec 28, 2023

The Puerto Rico rule of law defines a deceased person's estate as made up of the deceased's assets and liabilities. As such, any and all debts owed by the deceased person and/or by his (her) estate must be assumed by his (her) heirs up to the amount inherited. Thus, the to answer your... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: My Dad gave his sister authorization in his bank account. The day after my Dad passed my aunt took money from his acct.

All the arrangements had been prepaid by him and my sisters and I paid for the remaining items. After obtaining the Declaration of Heirs, we found out about the money withdrawn by my aunt when the money was not hers. I spoke to the bank and they said she was authorized on the account and had the... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Dec 18, 2023

Except that your aunt had a legitimate reason for taking the money out of the account (for which she'd need to present receipts), your late dad's estate is owner of those moneys until the probate processes are completed. Either by your father having left a will or going through the Puerto... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Do I need an attorney to file a Declaration of Heirs in Puerto Rico?
Ramon  Olivencia
Ramon Olivencia
answered on Dec 10, 2023

Due to the particularities and legal requirements needed for a Declaration of Heirs in Puerto Rico, an attorney is highly recommended. That way, you can rest assured that the petition is filed correctly before the courts. Any errors could negatively affect the rest of the documents that are... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law, Municipal Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: We have several problems here involving renouncing inheritance, segregation, and property tax status.

How do you renounce inheritance in Puerto Rico and find out property tax status (have the taxes been paid)? Also, if we renounce inheritance, can we shift the property to a relative who lives there? We live in the United States.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 19, 2023

To renounce an inheritance in Puerto Rico, you must formally declare your intention to do so within a specific timeframe, usually within nine months of the decedent's death. This declaration is made before a notary in Puerto Rico. It's a definitive decision, meaning once you renounce, you... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: My father passed away last year (2022) in Puerto Rico. How do I find out if a Will was left and if I was named?
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Aug 29, 2023

Assuming that your late father lived and died in Puerto Rico, and having a copy of your father's death certificate, a request can be made to the Office of Notary Inspections ("ODIN", by its Spanish acronym), with whom are filed all the wills subscribed in the Commonwealth of Puerto... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Q: My wife and I have found an abandoned propert in Puerto Rico that we would like to claim using adverse possession.

We have spoke to all the neighbors in the area and found the owner to be deceased and the place has been empty for about 6 years or since Hurricane Maria. How can we take the property in good faith. What actions need to be taken.

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jul 18, 2023

Under Puerto Rico Rule of Law, you would need to be in pacific possession of said real estate property, openly, and (in the mind of your neighbors) as if you were the owners of said property. This would need to continue for 20 years, the go before a court of law to request said adverse possession... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: How to remove siblings as inheritors.

Mother died in Nov 2022 & step-father (who never had biological children) died the following Apr 2023. They left $12K in savings & home with an existing morgage. Four adult children (2 sons & 2 daughters) and dead spouse are currently named in the Certificado de Herederos. Two... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jul 12, 2023

Any repudiations must be formalized through a deed poll subscribed by the heir who rejects his/her inheritance. If an heir is gaslighting you, you'll need to take the case before a court of law. Who'll either order the heir to formally reply whether he wishes his inheritance or not. If... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: My brother has recently passed here in Puerto Rico and has left some credit card debts.

My brother was never married and he didn't leave a will. No one has ever cosigned for him. He doesn't own any property and was living in my Moms house. His only assets are his two bank accounts. One of the accounts paid the funeral expenses but there could be some money left in that... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jul 10, 2023

First off, I regret your loss. Did your brother have any children? If not, are either or both of his (your) parents alive? If so, your parents would be his heirs. If your parents have passed, then you and any other siblings that you may have would be the heirs.

In order to file a Petition...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: My uncle passed and left no will, no children, and no spouse. His brothers filed a declaration of inheritance.

The brothers have been named the heirs. Does that now make them legally responsible to pay the mortgage on the house he owned? If they do not pay the mortgage and let the bank foreclose will their credit be affected?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jun 21, 2023

Succession Rule of Law in Puerto Rico states that your late uncle's estate is made up of his assets and his liabilities. Therefore, any mortgages and liens on real estate property would also have to be assumed by your late uncle's siblings. If the outstanding debts exceed the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: What is process to inherit and change ownership of plot of land in Cidra, Puerto Rico, to 6 surviving siblings.

Both parents are deceased. The property is land only. A neighbor has built a structure - part of a house on a corner of the property. Siblings have paid back 14 years of back taxes 2 years ago when last parent died. Taxes continue to be paid and are up to date. How do we proceed to inherit the... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 20, 2023

The probate process in Puerto Rico begins by procuring the death certificates of bith parents. Did they die in Puerto Rico or abroad? If the latter, you'll need to provide these. With the death certificates on hand, requests are made to the Office of Notary Inspections to determine whether... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Uncle signed a paper in the US, gifting his portion of inheritance from mother’s house in Puerto Rico to sister. Legal?

Grandmother died in 2013 without a will and she had seven children/heirs. The house remains in my grandmother’s name to this day, and my aunt moved in and took control of the house without the consensus of all the heirs.

My aunt made a document for my uncle to sign in the U.S. in... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jan 10, 2023

There are three ways in which an heir can transfer his/her hereditary rights to another: by ceding said rights to another, by donating the rights or by repudiating his/her inheritance. The first two must be done by subscribing a deed (escritura) before a notary, with both the donator and the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Grandmother died in 2016, no will, aunt moved into house and wants to pay below market value to pay off siblings.

After grandmother died without a will, aunt entered house, removed uncle’s belongings & changed the locks.

Two offers from aunt:

Option 1 pay each sibling $5,000 for their share. $5,000 each for 7 heirs is $35,000 total valuation for house.

Option 2 threatened to go... View More

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jan 5, 2023

From the scenario that you paint, Option 2 (going through the Puerto Rico courts) seems the better alternative. It will force an appraisal of the real estate, to determine each heir's share in the estate. Any expenses incurred in maintaining the property or even increasing its value will be... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: Aunt died and bequeathed money to siblings who died before her. Do their children inherit their parents portion?

We were told by executor that the siblings portion, since they have passed away, is cancelled. I

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Jan 3, 2023

I'm assuming that your aunt left a Will upon her demise. The date of your aunt's death will determine the answer to your question. If your aunt died before November 28, 2020, her estate is subject to the Puerto Rico Civil Code of 1930. After November 28, 2020, her estate is subject to the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: The lawyer in Puerto Rico has stated that the Island Gov't. will take 20% of the funds for taxes. I am on S.S.Disability

I pay no taxes in the states. Will that make any difference on the 20% Tax?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Nov 18, 2022

At this time, Puerto Rico does not have an inheritance tax. Nevertheless, if an heir residing in the states sells his/her share in a real estate property located in Puerto Rico, the proceeds of the sale are subject to a 15%-20% retention pursuant to the Puerto Rico Tax Code, so as to force the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: My father's will/estate has been settled in Puerto Rico and we all know what we're recieving, but the lawyer said I

Have to travel to the island to get my funds. Is this correct?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Nov 18, 2022

As a rule, banks prefer to personally deliver in hand checks to each of the heirs, unless an heir living abroad grants a special power of attorney authorizing someone else to physically appear to collect the funds. If you already have an attorney working the case and you cannot travel to Puerto... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: I live in Tennessee as did my father when he passed away in 2020. He owned a residence in Puerto Rico and a will distrib

Assets. Do I have to go to Puerto Rico to receive my money?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Nov 18, 2022

Certain steps must first be addressed before determining who can collect.

With a copy of your late father's death certificate, a certification of Will must be procured from the Puerto Rico Office of Notary Inspections (I'm assuming that his Will was signed and subscribed in Puerto...
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