Wills and Relatives

Philippines
March 18, 2010 11:58pm CST
Hi everyone, My great great great grandfather was a wealthy merchant and landowner during the Spanish colonial period in this country, He had 3 daughters and all of them got married. Unfortunately my great great grandfather died when his daughters were still studying and his wife had passed away before him. He left all of his estate to his daughters but since they were still considered minors at that time, he appointed his relatives and some of his trusted servants to take care of his vast estate. His daughters then married wealthy men however they were not able to get the bulk of their inheritance because some of these relatives and servants never gave it back. My great grandmother was the youngest child of one of the daughters I mentioned. Her father was a wealthy merchant and owned a vast land in the region. He used to travel by boat to get sell his merchandise to other places. During one of his trips he met an untimely death. He was killed by the men on board because he would not let them borrow money because his wife was going to give birth and that was my great grandmother. So, they threw him into the ocean and declared that he fell off on board because of a storm. Years later one witness came out and testified that my great great grandfather was murdered and it was no accident. But too late the men who murdered him were either dead or nobody knew where they went. When my great great grandfather died his family suffered financially. His wife did not know who were the people who owed him money, and the money that he kept with him in his last travel was stolen. His relatives were greedy and took over his vast lands. My poor great great grandmother was left penniless and died shortly. My great grandmother survived all that but she was no longer born with privileges unlike her siblings. She was taken care of by an old relative since her siblings went off their own way and lived in different parts of the country. She grew up simple, poor but determined. She gave birth to 4 children and raised all 4 on her own since her husband died during the world war 2 in the barracks (he was a U.S Army soldier). Life was not easy, no relatives would help them. Grandpa worked odd jobs at an early age to help out his mother. While their relatives were enjoying the good things in life that was not supposed to be theirs in the first place. Years later we found the last will and testament of our 2 patriarchs, but we were engaged in a fierce battle against our relatives and their descendants. The court has awarded us the land which was 200 hectares, and this just one part of the said testament. Although we won we could not take over the land because our relative's descendants barricaded the land area with goons. we have an ongoing case right now with another 300 hectares land but we have to contend with the people who built their homes in our property and they have been living there for years. Plus we also have some trouble with illegitimate children of my grandpa's brother claiming for their part. We have never seen them before and my grandpa's brother did not acknowledge paternity, those other children outside his marriage that he acknowledged was included in the land division. Thing is we are the only ones shouldering the expenses for the case and the rest are just riders, waiting to get their part without any form of contribution. What would you do then if you were in this particular situation? would you include illegitimate children whose paternity was never acknowledged? What about other family relatives who do not contribute should they be included when dividing the land? What I proposed was whatever we have spent we will deduct from the total land area. Then what is left will be divided equally among each family and each family will decide how they will divide it among themselves. Whether they would share it with their illegitimate siblings or not is up to them. Do you think it is fair? Actually the new land policy is that if their parents did not sign any will or left instructions about his share, his family will have no claim of any piece of land. Our grandpa left an instruction about his part be given to his family, but the others have not. Technically our family and our grandpa's only sister will have the claim over those properties. Everybody else is excluded, but for the sake of equality and fairness we decided to split it with them even when they do not contribute provided that all that we have spent will be compensated in terms of land. The rest will be divided equally among each family.
1 person likes this
3 responses
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
19 Mar 10
You have a history more like mine. It is always the case of one generation worked hard to bring in the wealth while another generation is benefiting from all the wealth accumulated. My grandparents were hard working people and they have bought many landed properties and had lots of money during their time. They wealth stretched as far down to our present generation. Since my grandparents were divorced mom was raised by her wealthy grandparents while an uncle was taken away by her father and so both my mother and uncle were separated for years. When my uncle was old enough my grandfather brainwashed him to sue his grandparents for his rightful share. That infuriated my great grandparents. Even though my uncle is still their grandchild, they refused to have anything with him since he was forcefully taken away after the divorce. Of course this is no fault of my uncle as he was still young when it happened. For the next couple of years the battle goes unending in court. In the end my uncle did managed to acquire some pieces of property while the big chunks remained with my mother. Now mom is aging and she has proportionately divided her properties to her 10 children of which I am one of the lucky one to have inherited few pieces of land and two units of houses. When it comes to the division of properties it will tear apart the blood ties if there is no compromise among the beneficiaries.
• Philippines
19 Mar 10
You are right zandi, all these things we inherit from our forefathers in the end brings division to the next generation. At one point when I was 14 I asked my grandpa why he did not pursue the case, well he said that we have so many relatives and even if they are far off and not entitled to it they will tray to claim a portion of the lands that we own, so it's better not to win them back. At that time I did not understand why my grandpa said that but now I do. My grandpa was a peaceful man and as much as possible he does not like quarrel among relatives and members of the family. He has a point but I always wonder if we should always let other people take advantage of us just to keep the peace?
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
19 Mar 10
The law is clear regarding properties. You should fight for what ever are rightfully yours. This world is full of opportunists and keeping quiet means you are surrendering to their manipulation. Who else will fight for your rights if not yourself. Your grandparents should be happy in his resting place if his wealth fall to the rightful owners, his great grandchildren and not those who claimed to be relatives.
• India
24 Apr 10
Hello friend, i am not aware of the rules in your country, but as i am in india, i have seen people fighting over paternal property, well we are 2 brothers, one day we sat together, discussed and divided all amonst our kids, all are happy.. Thank you so much for this nice discussion,I am late in respondig, cheers God bless you. Prof
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
21 Mar 10
The short answer to this is that I agree with what you all have decided as far as how to deal with the division of the land. It is only fair that when everything is said and done that your branch of the family tree should be compensated in some way for all of the financial burden that you've shouldered and since they aren't willing to fork out the cash the only fair way to do it would be to do it in terms of land.