Friday, March 30, 2018

How can you correct clerical errors in your birth certificate?

Photo by Rene Asmussen on

If there are wrong entries in your birth certificate, such as a misspelled first name, birthday or birthplace, there are legal steps to correct these.

Some people have tried to correct their birth certificate by hand, believing that it's the right thing to do, but that is certainly not the way. That would be tampering with an official document, which is punishable by law, even if done with good intention.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

You can settle your deceased parent's estate without going to court

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Has your parent passed away and left a house and lot, vehicle, bank account or shares of stock in his/her name and you as well as your siblings don't know what to do?

These properties form part of your deceased parent's estate which you cannot transact on unless the estate is settled. By "settled", I mean the distribution of the properties to the heirs. As a child of the deceased, your co-heirs would be your surviving parent and your brothers and sisters.

Friday, March 09, 2018

You can handwrite your Last Will and Testament

Your Last Will and Testament contains your final wishes about your family, funds, properties, last rites and whatever else you would like to say to your loved ones and others. If it is handwritten, it is called a Holographic Will. If typewritten, it is  known as a Notarial Will in the Philippines, or simply a Typewritten Will in other countries and states, which we will discuss in another post.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Critical illness insurance - for your peace of mind

When I had a heart attack two years ago, the first question on my mind was - what will happen to my children? They were ages 20 and 18 at that time, still in college, and since I was then a widow, I asked God to please let me stay for many more years for my sons, and to let me see my future grandchildren and great grandchildren, by His grace. My heart doctor told me to prepare for angioplasty and possibly a heart bypass depending on what they see when an angiogram is done.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Three tips on how to know if it's legally safe to buy a house, lot or condominium unit

Having your own home - this is almost everyone's dream, whether you're thinking of a house and lot, a condominium unit or a more novel living space.

You may be a young professional, single or married, an overseas worker, or perhaps in the middle of growing your career, or even looking towards retirement. Your desire is to have your own space.

How do you legally protect yourself when buying a home?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Your Peace of Mind

You'd like to have peace of mind. You'd like to keep your children safe, secure and well-provided for, that's why you work so hard to give them a home, send them to good schools to equip them for well-paying jobs or profitable businesses, and  give them the best in life that you can possibly afford.

Having worked hard all these years, you have acquired some properties, perhaps a car, a house and lot, life insurance policies, shares of stock, and saved up some funds  for your future use. You would like these funds and properties to be protected, and passed onto your children, your spouse and chosen persons, organizations or institutions when you pass away. 

You would like to have peace of mind about your family, funds and properties instead of worrying about them. You'd like to put everything in order.

That is why I put up this blog, Your Family Matters, with the goal of providing legal tips on how to take care of your family, funds and property so that you can enjoy peace of mind.

The first step is to keep your important personal and legal documents in order, which means listing these down, and keeping these in a safe place. To help you get started, I wrote a free ebook entitled YOUR TOP 15 PERSONAL & LEGAL DOCUMENTS: KEEP THEM SAFE AND FIND THEM EASILY. The top 15 documents include family registry papers such as birth and marriage certificates, passports and travel documents, real estate documents, financial documents, and vehicle registration documents. There are detailed checklists for every type of document to make sure you cover the most important ones. Get your free soft copy by clicking on this link.

Do you have any question or suggested topics about family matters? Post these in the comments section below. Just keep in mind that these should come within the purpose of this blog, which is, as just mentioned, to provide “legal tips on how to take care of your family, funds and property so that you can enjoy peace of mind.”

I’m eager to hear from you soon. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

22-year-old JJ just started investing in a condominium unit

JJ, age 22, set aside a big  chunk of his salary since he started working a year ago. Last month, learning of a condominium project in Paranaque, he visited the site and did some online research. Shortly after that, he paid the reservation fee of PHP20,000 (USD400) for a studio-type unit and signed the contract to pay PHP4,555 (USD91) a month for 27 months to cover the staggered downpayment. Two years from now, he expects the unit to be completed and delivered to him.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

7 reasons why you should write your Last Will


During your lifetime, as owner, the law gives you the right to use and dispose of your property in any way you want. If you own a car, you are free to sell it, donate it, rent it out or use it. These are legally known as "acts of ownership."

When you pass away, without a will, the law will dictate how your properties will be distributed. Depending on your state or national law, your properties may go to your children, spouse, parents, siblings in proportions dictated by the laws that govern succession.

If you have a Last Will and Testament,  you will have the final say about your properties. It is your way of controlling how you will dispose of these after you pass away. Portions would go to your compulsory heirs, such as your children and spouse, but you may also give shares to your favorite charities or specific persons as gifts from that part of your estate known as the "free portion".

I mentioned compulsory heirs. These are persons who, according to law, are entitled to specific shares from your estate. Without a will, they will all receive these shares. However, if a compulsory heir committed an act which may be a ground for disinheritance under the law, the only way he or she can be disinherited is through a Last Will and Testament. In other words, if you have no Last Will, that compulsory heir will receive a share even if he or she should be disinherited.


This is your way of letting your loved ones know how you want your final rites to be. You can decide on the religious ceremony that should be followed, if you would like to be cremated or not, if you would like people to give donations to a foundation or charity instead of sending flowers, and other desires you may have. This will also make it easier for your relatives who, in their time of grief, may not have a clear idea of what you would like to happen. Sometimes, they may have different thoughts about your religious preferences or other matters, which might cause confusion. A Last Will would be your way of avoiding such confusion.


In your Last Will, you can name the person who will execute its provisions and administer your estate. You can choose a person you trust, who will faithfully carry out its provisions. Without any will, anyone might administer your estate. Court proceedings for the appointment of an administrator may be filed, which will require evidence, will take time, and may even lead to disputes when your heirs have different preferred administrators.


Charitable institutions are not going to receive anything from your estate if you have no Last Will. Therefore, if you would like to leave something for your chosen charities, churches, or organizations, you must do this through your Last Will.  This would also allow you to give to persons of your choice even if they are not related to you.


Facebook has what is called memorialized accounts, "a way for people on Facebook to remember and celebrate those who've passed away." Facebook memorializes an account when it learns that a person has passed away. Relatives also have the option of requesting that the account be removed.

According to Facebook, you can tell them in advance if you would like your account to be memorialized or permanently deleted when you pass away.

You can also appoint a legacy contact for your FB account, who will manage your memorialized account. He or she can update your profile photo, write a final message, or request the removal of your account.

Linkedin will delete a deceased person's account after an online form is submitted together with an obituary, relevant article or other attachment.  In Instagram, the account may either be memorialized or deleted pursuant to a request. There is also a procedure for Twitter accounts.

You might want to include a provision in your Last Will about memorializing your FB and Instagram accounts, or if you would rather have these deleted permanently.


Some of your things may not have much monetary value, so your heirs may not consider them important. However, these may have much sentimental value for you and certain people whom you know would treasure and care for them.

My mom, a dentist, had certain dental gadgets that she kept for decades when she ran a dental clinic with her good friend from dentistry school. When my mom passed away, the gadgets had been replaced by modern high-tech ones but she had entrusted her old gadgets to her good friend who has a small clinic at home and who kept them in a special corner for friendship's sake.


You may have someone who is not your heir whom you would like to provide for financially, to take care of that person's day-to-day needs, including medical needs, when you are no longer around. This can hold true for those who would like to provide for persons with disability, or a scholarship fund for a deserving student, for instance. You can include this in your Last Will.

Make sure that when you make your Last Will, you have the advice of a lawyer who has authority to practice within your state or country. This is because, as mentioned earlier, national or state laws have specific provisions about inheritance and succession. There are also strict legal requirements on the forms of a Last Will and Testament to make it valid. You would like your most important document to comply with these.


Have you heard of a Living Will?  This is different from a Last Will and Testament which takes effect after you pass away. A Living Will is also known as a "health care directive", "advance medical directive" or "advance directive". It is your way of instructing doctors and medical professionals on what to do when you are under "end-of-life medical care" and you could no longer communicate your instructions because of your condition.

Through this document, you can give instructions on whether you would like palliative care to prevent and relieve suffering, and whether you would no longer like "heroic or extraordinary measures" to be resorted to under certain circumstances. Heroic or extraordinary measures are defined as "any medical procedure or measure which, when administered to a terminally ill patient, will only prolong the process of dying when death is imminent, but excludes palliative care."

Also known as "extraordinary life-sustaining treatment", these are "extraordinary medical procedures to temporarily replace or supplement failing essential bodily functions."

These decisions are very difficult for relatives, especially when they see their loved one suffering. They would desire to prolong your life, but at the back of their minds, this might only prolong your suffering. If you have a living will, you would have made the decision for your relatives and they would simply carry it out.


You might have seen some movies when a person passes away and is buried, then the next scene would be that of his heirs together with a lawyer who reads out a will and divides the estate. It happens only in the movies.

There is an intervening step between the death of the person who made the will (known as the testator) and the distribution of his estate. This step is the probate proceeding, which is a court process where the will must first be proven to be genuine and authentic, and that the testator wrote it when he or she was mentally sound and knew exactly what was going on. Legally, we say that the person must be "of sound and disposing mind."

The best time to file a petition for probate is when you are still around, and you yourself will be the petitioner. You will appear before the court, and you will testify to prove to the judge that your signature and your witnesses' signatures as well as that of the notary public are valid and genuine. This is if you are proving a notarial will. If it is a holographic will, which is completely handwritten, you do not need any witness and so you are to prove that the handwriting and signature are yours. The judge can observe you and listen to your testimony to show that you freely and voluntarily made the will, and you understand everything that is written there and its effects.

It's never too early to set your life in order by making a Last Will, and the sooner you do it, the better.

Until next time!

Friday, January 05, 2018

A new start for women professionals... who've been dreaming of taking a vacation

Hello everyone! A happy new year to you all! It's time to begin something you've always wanted to do. Let's declare that 2018 will be an extraordinarily organized and wonderful year for you in many ways.

Several topics have been lined up for you this year, mostly designed to help you, the woman professional, set your life in order. You've been working so hard all these years, making sure that your family, property and funds are well protected, always thinking of others and putting them ahead of yourself. Now, it's time to think of yourself and your goal of taking a vacation with peace of mind, without worrying about your children, your funds or property. Let's see how that can be done.

If you haven't done so already, you might want to download my free ebook on "Your Top 15 Personal and Legal Documents: Keep Them Safe and Find Them Easily". Just click on this link which will take you there. This will be a good starting point for you on how you can set your affairs in order.

In a short while, I will post my article entitled  "7 important reasons  why you should write your Last Will and Testament". This will have a bonus portion on preparing your Living Will, also known as Advanced Medical Directive, and an extra discussion on why you should have your will probated in court while you are still around. 

By the way, thanks to those who downloaded my ebook on Access to Justice for Persons with Disability. We made it as number 1 bestseller for a time, in the category of disability law for Kindle ebooks. 

Will get in touch soon!