What is reserva troncal?
Reserva troncal – The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. (Art. 891)
To prevent persons who are outsiders to the family from acquiring, by chance or accident, property which otherwise would have remained with the said family. In short, to put back the property to the line from which it originally came.
Note: Other terms used to refer to reserva troncal:
What are the requisites that must exist in order that a property may be impressed with a reservable character?
1. That the property was acquired by a descendant (called “praepositus” or propositus) from an ascendant or from a brother or sister by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return;
2. That said descendant (praepositus) died without an issue;
3. That the same property (called “reserva”) is inherited by another ascendant (called “reservista”) by operation of law (either through intestate or compulsory succession) from the praepositus; and
4. That there are living relatives within the third degree counted from the praepositus and belonging to the same line from where the property originally came (called “reservatarios”). (Art. 891; Chua v. CFI of Negros Occidental, Branch V, 78 SCRA 412; Rabuya, Civil Law Reviewer, pp. 634-‐635)
Does the reservista own the reservable property?
The reservista is an absolute or full owner, subject to a resolutory condition. If the resolutory condition is fulfilled, the reservista’s ownership of the property is terminated.
Resolutory condition: If at the time of the reservista’s death, there should still exist relatives within the third degree (reservatarios) of the propositus and belonging to the line from which the property came.
Note: The reservable property is not part of the estate of the reservista.
When does the reservatario acquire the right over the reservable property?
Upon the death of the reservista, the reservatario nearest the decedent propositus becomes, automatically and by operation of law, the absolute owner of the reservable property. (Cano v. Director of Lands)
Is there right of representation in reserva troncal?
Yes. There is representation in reserva troncal, but the representative must also be within the third degree from the propositus. (Florentino v. Florentino)