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7, 2012 DATE

NR # 2672

Bill creates special court for estate settlements

A lawmaker has filed a bill designating specific Regional Trial Courts in the country to act as a special court to attend to estate settlement cases. The proposed Estate Settlement Court (ESC) shall focus on and specialize in all cases of settlement of the estate of deceased persons. Thus, all estate settlement cases shall be concentrated in one RTC branch, Rep. Arthur Defensor, Jr. (3rd district, Iloilo). Defensor said the bill would achieve the needed undivided attention and focused expertise for the speedy and efficient disposition of estate settlement cases. House Bill 5705, to be known as an An Act Establishing Estate Settlement Courts, granting them exclusive original jurisdiction over cases for settlement of the Estate of deceased persons, seeks to amend Batas Pambansa 129, otherwise known as an Act Reorganizing the Judiciary, which was enacted into law on August 14, 1981. Capital in the form of property are tied-up in long winding estate settlement cases, during which period of pending resolution becomes a dormant asset which otherwise could have been used to generate income and employment, Defensor said. Defensor said the bill seeks the immediate release of property to commercial circulation, making them available for business transaction, with the ultimate intent of generating income, which, in turn, would be subject to taxation and help stimulate economic activity. Early settlement would also spur business activities and employment and generate more income for government in the form of taxes, Defensor said. In cases where the city is the capital of the province, the Estate Settlement Court shall be established in the municipality, which has the highest population, the bill provides. Defensor said the ESCs shall exercise original jurisdiction to hear and decide all cases of settlement of estates of deceased persons, regardless of the gross value of the estate. The bill provides that decisions and orders of the ESCs shall be appealed in the same manner as appeals from the ordinary Regional Trial Courts. Furthermore, the Supreme Court shall promulgate the necessary rules for the transfer of cases to the ESCs during the transition period, and for the effective implementation of the proposed law. Defensor said the bill will complement with another measure entitled, An Act granting Amnesty in Estate Tax, which is intended to encourage the settlement of estates, by the grant of amnesty in estate tax. (30) dpt