Buying property from someone who has already died.

Estate Settlement 4 min read , January 21, 2022

Are you in the process of buying property from someone, only to find out... wait wait wait... It’s still in the name of their parents or worse... their grandparents? OR are you trying to sell the property that you inherited but the title is still in the name of your great grandfather?

Buying property plays such an important part in our day-to-day lives. For some, it can mean fulfilling a life-long dream to provide shelter for your family. For some, it can mean the next step to take in starting a business where the possibilities are endless. Many times, it involves a relatively big investment on the part of the buyer, which is why it’s very important that the transaction is as risk-free as possible.

So what happens now if the property we are about to buy...or sell is still in the name of someone who died long ago? Is this a deal-breaker? Is there something fishy going on? If not, how much additional effort is involved when dealing with this situation?

So our question for today comes from Bernadette, and she writes:

“Attorney, my husband and I are finally ready to buy a Property for our young family. We found a house and lot which fits our needs and our budget. But when we started talking to the sellers, we found oyut that the property is not in their name. It’s still in the name of their parents. This raised so many red flags for me. Sayang naman because we really like the property. How difficult is this situation? What should I look out for?”

If you or anyone in your family is in a similar situation as this stay tuned...

This episode is brought to you by the Estate Settlement Guide. The fastest way to orient surviving family members when a loved one passes away. You will learn the basics of succession to know who can inherit and how much. It will guide you through the next steps your family needs to take so you don't incur penalties and you transfer the property to the heirs properly.

Protect your family legacy! Avoid unnecessary penalties! Go to to learn more.

Welcome to Legal Guide Philippines where we simplify the law to help you make better choices. I'm Atty. Erwin Zagala and I’m with my partner, Atty. Ramon Ramirez.


So today, we're talking about buying properties where the owner on the title is someone who passed away...

CONTEXT SETTING... Yes, this is a very typical situation...


2. WHY DOES THE SITUATION HAPPEN? Many reasons... Heirs don’t know they need to settle an estate, they neglected, or life gets in the way or they did not have the budget.

So if this situation happens, is it a deal-breaker automatically? Not necessarily. We need to weigh carefully what are the real risks involved. We cannot weigh the risks by looking at some basic things.

So what should we look out for?

  1. Are we transacting with the proper heirs?
  2. Why was the property not transferred in the name of the heirs or current owners?
  3. Are there any more obligations attached to the property?


For most of you, this lesson was more than enough, and if it makes your life easier, then you're welcome. But there are some of you who will watch this episode and end up asking more questions, such as, Attorney, how do I know who are the heirs? Or Attorney, what if there are other properties involved? Or, Attorney, how do we compute the estate tax?

If that's you, then we invite you to check out the "Estate Settlement Guide" workshop (NOT A BOOK) wherein as little as 1 hour, we give you a CRASH COURSE ON SUCCESSION LAW and a GENERAL ROADMAP OF THE ENTIRE ESTATE SETTLEMENT FRAMEWORK.

With this guide, you will know exactly where you are in the process regardless of whether you are doing it on your own or if you have hired someone to assist you. You can access this workshop at today.

Now, to add to that, if you want us to tackle your question in our show, as we did for BERNADETTE, go to and click the submit topic button. Next, we'd like to know what's your biggest takeaway from today's video, so please write it down in the comments and let's talk about it. Last, if you feel we've earned a good rating, please give us a like and subscribe because it gives us feedback that we're doing a good job, and it encourages us to do more videos.

One last thing, there will always be legal risks to buying this kind of property. but they are not automatic hindrances or deal-breakers. There are also a lot of other factors to consider as well. Is this the perfect property for your business? Is it your dream property? Having a framework to understand these risks will be very important. Then weigh those against the possible benefits to you. And in case of doubt, you can always reach out and consult someone.

So wasn’t that simple? Now go make better choices!

Estate Settlement