A Widower’s Tale

Baslayan Creek In The Morning

Yesterday, I blogged about a widower who “owns” a property which we found out later to be double titled. It appears that his property was sold for a second time to another guy.

The old man’s title is authentic, but unfortunately, he was a victim of an elaborate scam , and that the survey returns (or documents) was never registered with the Land Management Bureau (LMB) by the surveyor (the signature of the officials was just forged).

When the said lot was sold for the second time – it was now properly surveyed, registered with the LMB,  and titled by the Register of Deeds (RD). Subsequently it was purchased by another guy who is now occupying it.

This is the sequel to that story, and one which concerns his Property No.2 – where his old dilapidated house is now standing.

The property is a four bedroom house located in a well-known subdivision of the city. He wants to sell it for P 2 Million, and then to retire to the Ilocos where was born. In fact, someone has already offered to buy it for P 1.8 Million – but it was declined by his children as being too low!

Upon closer scrutiny however, we found out the following:

1. The Owner’s Copy of the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) was already lost !

According to the old man – he gave it to the colurum broker, who now denies ever receiving it. I advice him that next time (if there is a next time!) never to part with this very important document – except to trusted friends and relatives.

Result? My favorite lawyer is asking for P 25,000 as professional fee to handle this case in court (purpose: to ask the court for a judicial cognizance of the loss, and to compel the Register Of Deeds to reconstruct the lost copy). Estimated total cost is P 50,000 plus for all expenses – and no one of his children is willing to foot the bill ! They simply want to pass on the burden to the buyer.

2. The property is over priced!

My evaluation based on the recent sales of a similar property in the area is that the fair market value is only around P 1.6 Million – since the house is very old and dilapidated. The problem is that the children wants to sell it for P 2 Million (and it seems that they are really in no hurry to dispose of the property).

Also the ever enterprising colurum broker again marked up the price to an even higher P 2.5 Million, hoping to make a killing of P 500,000 for the deal. Whew!

No wonder that no one is now making any inquiries about the house since last year!

My advice? Have the property appraised by a real estate appraiser, and if proven to be only P 1.6 Million – to sell it to the one offering to buy at P 1.8 Million – as is where is!

3. The widower has no Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to sell the house and lot!

Upon reading the extrajudicial settlement signed by all his children, it appears that they have agreed to divide the share of his now-deceased wife in the property equally among themselves (Pro indiviso).

Therefore, since they are also co-owners of the said property, then it is important that they should all sign my authority to offer for sale (or listing) of the property. Problem! Some of them are no longer in the Philippines, or have passed away, or estranged from the old man, and cannot be located.

I advised him to secure first an SPA from his children authorizing him to sell the house  – otherwise all our efforts and expenses would be in vain – if even one of them will decline to sign the deed of sale later on!

Whoa! Why should an owner now get permission from his children to sell the house he built? Well, simple, the property is either a conjugal, or a community property – and co-owned with his now deceased wife. His children (and him of course!) are the heirs of his now deceased wife, ergo – the children  now also co-owns the property – and he therefore, cannot just do anything he wants with it without the signature of his children!

This is a reality that an old and authoritarian parent (used to having his way with his children) is hard to swallow: loss of financial power sometimes means loss of respect, clout, and what have you. It is also devastating to the ego!

Bottom line? The old man cannot sell his house and lot at this time despite the fact that  he is in dire need of funds to pay for his medicine and upkeep.

My suggestion? Call for a meeting of all his children –  and discuss the problem as a family. I suggested that they should be realistic with their pricing to be able to sell the property as soon as possible.

I also declined to insinuate myself any further into this ticklish situation – to avoid suspicion of any ulterior motives on my part by his children.

I also assured the old man that I am willing to help him (even financially up to a certain extent) – if first his children will not really share in the burden of financing his legal problems, and second, that the request must also come from them. Also that an exclusive authority to sell is necessary in this situation!

Latin Motto: Crudelius est quam mori semper timere mortem (It is more cruel to always fear death than to die).


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