A sibling sold an inherited parcel of land from his/her deceased parents, without his/her siblings knowledge and consent. Is the sale valid?
The Supreme Court, in the case of Heirs of Gregorio Lopez, represented by Rogelia Lopez et al., v. Development Bank of the Philippines, GR 193551, Nov. 19, 2014, penned by Senior Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, held that the heirs cannot alienate the shares in the estate that do not belong to them, to wit:
"We have consistently upheld the principle that 'no one can give what one does not have.' A seller can only sell what he or she owns, or that which he or she does not own but has authority to transfer, and a buyer can only acquire what the seller can legally transfer.
"Title or rights to a deceased person's property are immediately passed to his or her heirs upon death. The heirs' rights become vested without need for them to be declared 'heirs'. Before the property is partitioned, the heirs are co-owners of the property.
"The heirs cannot alienate the shares that do not belong to them. Article 493 of the Civil Code provides:
"Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.
"Since Enrique's right to the property was limited to his one-fourth share, he had no right to sell the undivided portions that belonged to his siblings or their respective heirs. Any sale by one heir of the rest of the property will not affect the rights of the other heirs who did not consent to the sale. Such sale is void with respect to the shares of the other heirs.
"Regardless of their agreement, Enrique could only convey to Marietta his undivided one-fourth share of the property, and Marietta could only acquire that share. This is because Marietta obtained her rights from Enrique who, in the first place, had no title or interest over the rest of the property that he could convey."
Applying the foregoing, a sibling can only sell his/her share of the property. Accordingly, he/she has no right to sell the undivided portions that belong to the other siblings.
Hence, considering that there was no consent, the sale will not affect the other siblings' rights over the subject property.
At most, the buyer could only claim the seller's share, nothing more.