RIGHT OF AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD AS BENEFICIARY OF INSURANCE PROCEEDS
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@ manilatimes.net
The Manila Times
Dear PAO, I am an illegitimate child. My father passed away last month, and I found out that I am one of his beneficiaries in his insurance policy. His wife strongly objects to this and wants me to be removed as a beneficiary because of my status as an illegitimate child. Is that possible? Larry Dear Larry, Please be informed that Section 53 of Presidential Decree 612, as amended by Republic Act 10607, otherwise known as “Insurance Code of the Philippines,” and Article 739 of Republic Act 386, otherwise known as “Civil Code of the Philippines” provide, viz.: “Section 53. The insurance proceeds shall be applied exclusively to the proper interest of the person in whose name or for whose benefit it is made unless otherwise specified in the policy” x x x “Article 739. The following donations shall be void: “(1) Those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation; “(2) Those made between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense, in consideration thereof; “(3) Those made to a public officer or his wife, descendants and ascendants, by reason of his office.” Relatedly, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Maramag v. Maramag (GR 181132, June 5, 2009, Ponente: Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura): “…the only persons entitled to claim the insurance proceeds are either the insured, if still alive; or the beneficiary, if the insured is already deceased, upon the maturation of the policy. The exception to this rule is a situation where the insurance contract was intended to benefit third persons who are not parties to the same in the form of favorable stipulations or indemnity. In such a case, third parties may directly sue and claim from the insurer. “Petitioners are third parties to the insurance contracts with Insular and Grepalife and, thus, are not entitled to the proceeds thereof. Accordingly, respondents Insular and Grepalife have no legal obligation to turn over the insurance proceeds to petitioners. The revocation of Eva as a beneficiary in one policy and her disqualification as such in another are of no moment considering that the designation of the illegitimate children as beneficiaries in loreto’s insurance policies remains valid. Because no legal proscription exists in naming as beneficiaries the children of illicit relationships by the insured, the shares of Eva in the insurance proceeds, whether forfeited by the court in view of the prohibition on donations under Article 739 of the Civil Code or by the insurers themselves for reasons based on the insurance contracts, must be awarded to the said illegitimate children, the designated beneficiaries, to the exclusion of petitioners. It is only in cases where the insured has not designated any beneficiary, or when the designated beneficiary is disqualified by law to receive the proceeds, that the insurance policy proceeds shall redound to the benefit of the estate of the insured.” (Emphasis supplied) Pursuant to the aforementioned provisions of the law and the pertinent Supreme Court decision, the insurance proceeds will go to whoever is designated in the insurance policy, unless it is illegal. Accepting insurance proceeds is comparable to accepting a donation. As such, anyone who is prohibited by law from accepting a donation cannot accept insurance proceeds either. It is clear from the aforementioned provision that an illegitimate child is not prohibited by law from receiving a donation. Therefore, being an illegitimate child is not a reason to deny you the insurance proceeds, considering that you are designated in the insurance policy as a beneficiary. We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated on.