Home > Inheritance Law > Declaration of Heirs – Time as Your Enemy

Declaration of Heirs – Time as Your Enemy

September 20, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

As a real estate lawyer, I am regularly presented with a scenario that looks somewhat like this:  “My grandmother passed away many years ago.  She had 6 children, one of which was my father who recently passed away.  Of my 5 uncles,  only one is alive.  Some of my deceased uncles had children.  What do I need to do to claim my inheritance?”  Another question could be:  What do the heirs need to do to sell the property?

The simple answer is:  “You are going to sit tight and wait, because we (the lawyers) have to do a lot of work!”

In example above, there are a total of 6 estates which would need to be worked on.  This will normally take time for many reasons.  First, there are a lot of documents to be gathered.  Second, coordinating with a large amount of heirs is usually (not always) difficult.  If the heirs reside outside of Puerto Rico and are not in tight communication, further complications would be present.  As a final note, money normally becomes an issue since more money would need to be disbursed in a shorter period of time.

Time then is an enemy under such circumstances.  Hence, the contrary is also true:  Time is an ally when heirs act promptly.

The situation I described above is easily avoidable.  Indeed I totally understand that heirs need to care for the family; but all considerations aside, they should act promptly to place all estate matters in order.


Santiago F. Lampón
Lawyer and Notary Public


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