Good day Attorney. I would like to request for your legal advice regarding settlement of our parentsí estate.
My father died in 1983 and my mother died in 1990 without leaving any Last Will and Testament. One of their 5 children was among the missing passengers of the ship that sunk in 1983 just about 20 days before my father died. Our missing brother who has been presumed dead is survived by his wife and 3 children. Considering that we (the heirs) are living far away from each other, itís only now that we have decided to finally subdivide our parentsí estate consisting only of few lot properties located in our barrio in the Visayas.
My questions are:
1. Legally, what should be considered as the official date of death of our missing brother considering that no death certificate has been issued?
2. Are the children and surviving spouse of our missing brother considered as compulsory heirs?
3. In case the answer to #2 above is ďnoĒ, can the remaining compulsory heirs just give them as consideration a portion of the estate or allow them to participate in the sharing of properties without violating any law on succession? Shall we then be required to pay Donorís tax?
4. Shall we encounter legal problems with any Estate Tax regulations considering that itís only now that we will be paying this tax after more than 20 years from the death of our parents?
5. Do we need to pay 2 separate estate taxes and execute 2 separate deeds of extra-judicial settlement considering that our parents died 7 years apart?
We eagerly wait for your legal advice Sir before we proceed with the settlement of our inheritance.
Thank you very much.