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Digested Cases in Wills and Succession

ATUN v. NUEZ GR No.L-8018, October 26, 1955 87 PHIL 762 FACTS: Estefania Atun died without any issue leaving in the possession of the plaintiffs, her neices and nephews, a parcel of land. Such land was delivered by plaintiff Gil Atun to Silvestra Nuez (sister of defendant-appellee Eusebio Nuez) for cultivation, for which Silvestra paid the Atuns a part of the harvest as rental. In 1940, Silvestra turned over the land to defendant Eusebio Nuez, who thereafter refused to recognize plaintiffs' ownership or to deliver their share of the produce. The defendant turn sold the land to his co-defendant Diego Belga, who took the property with the knowledge that it belonged, not to Nuez, but to plaintiffs. There was no prior judicial declaration, however, that the plaintiffs were the legal heirs of the decedent. ISSUE: Has plaintiffs the right to recover the property as a successor of the decedent? HELD: Yes. In the instant case, as the land in question still stands registered in the name of Estefania Atun, now deceased, the present owners thereof would be her legal heirs. It is of record that Estefania Atun died without any issue or ascendants and left as her only surviving heirs the children of her brother Nicolas, plaintiffs herein; and the rule is settled that the legal heirs of a deceased may file an action arising out of a right belonging to their ancestor, without a separate judicial declaration of their status as such, provided there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the decedent's estate.

LEDESMA GR 66 PHIL 547

No.L-44837,

v. November

23,

MCLACHLIN 1938

FACTS: Lorenzo Quitco, died in 1930, leaving defendant Mclachlin and her children as heirs. Plaintiff Ana Ledesma, spurious/illegitimate child of Lorenzo Quitco, and her mother, sued to declare her as compulsory heir which the court however denied. Two years later, Lorenzo's father Eusebio died, and because he left some personal and real properties without a will, an intestate proceeding was instituted and a court order declaring his compulsory heirs did not of course include Ana as one. Following such court action, the plaintiff proceeded to collect the sum payable on a promissory note then issued in favor of her by Lorenzo by filing a claim in the intestate proceedings of Eusebio's Estate claiming that the sum be paid out of the properties inherited by the defendants represents that of the successional rights of Lorenzo as a compulsory heir of his father Eusebio. ISSUE: Has plaintiff the right collect the sum promised by her father from her grandfather's estate? HELD: No. The properties inherited by the defendants from their deceased grandfather by representation are not subject to the payment of debts and obligations of their deceased father,

who died without leaving any property. While it is true that under the provisions of Articles 924 to 927 of the Civil Code, a child presents his father or mother who died before him in the properties of his grandfather or grandmother, this right of representation does not make the said child answerable for the obligations contracted by his deceased father or mother, because, as may be seen from the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure referring to partition of inheritances, the inheritance is received with the benefit of inventory, that is to say, the heirs only answer with the properties received from their predecessor. The herein defendants, as heirs of Eusebio Quitco, in representation of their father Lorenzo M. Quitco, are not bound to pay the indebtedness of their father from whom they did not inherit anything.

LIMJOCO GR 80 PHIL 776

v.

INTESTATE No.L-770,

ESTATE April

OF

PEDRO 27,

FRAGRANTE 1948

FACTS: Petitioner opposed the issuance by the Public Service Commission of a certificate of public convenience to install, maintain and operate an ice plant in San Juan to the respondent despite his demise, contending that the Commission erred in allowing the substitution of the legal representative of the estate of Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party applicant in the case then pending before the commission, and in subsequently granting to said estate the certificate applied for, which is said to be in contravention of law. ISSUE: Is the decision of the Commission correct and with basis? HELD: Yes. If the respondent had not died, there can be no question that he would have had the right to prosecute his application before the commission to its final conclusion. No one would have denied him that right... The aforesaid right of respondent to prosecute said application to its conclusion was one which by its nature did not lapse through his death. Hence, it constitutes a part of the assets of his estate, for which right was a property despite the possibility that in the end the commission might have denied his application, although under the facts of the case, the commission granted the application in view of the financial ability of the estate to maintain and operate the ice plant.

USON GR 92 PHIL 530

v. No.L-4963,

DEL January 29,

ROSARIO 1953

FACTS: Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 leaving as an only heir his estranged wife Maria Uson, the petitioner. The latter sued to recover the ownership and possession of five parcels of land occupied by defendant Maria del Rosario, decedent's common-law-spouse and her children. As a defense, defendant presented a deed of separation agreed upon and signed Faustino and Uson containing among others an statement giving a parcel of land to Uson as an alimony and the latter renouncing her rights to any inheritance from Faustino. The defendant also contends that while it is true that the four minor defendants are illegitimate children of the decedent and under the old Civil Code are not entitled to any successional rights,

however, under the new Civil Code they are given the status and rights of natural children and are entitled to the successional rights which the law accords to the latter (article 2264 and article 287, new Civil Code), and because these successional rights were declared for the first time in the new code, they shall be given retroactive effect even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation (Article 2253, new Civil Code). ISSUE: Are the contentions of the defendants correct? HELD: No. It is evident that when the decedent died in 1945 the five parcels of land he was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his only heir, his widow Maria Uson (Article 657, old Civil Code). As this Court aptly said, "The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his death" (Ilustre vs. Alaras Frondosa, 17 Phil., 321). From that moment, therefore, the rights of inheritance of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested. The claim of the defendants that Uson had relinquished her right over the lands in question in view of her expressed renunciation to inherit any future property that her husband may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed of separation they had entered into cannot be entertained for the simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the subject of a contract nor can it be renounced. Nor does the contention that the provisions of the New Civil Code shall apply and be given retroactive effect. Article 2253 above referred to provides indeed that rights which are declared for the first time shall have retroactive effect even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the former legislation, but this is so only when the new rights do not prejudice any vested or acquired right of the same origin... As already stated in the early part of this decision, the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested in 1945 upon the death of her late husband and this is so because of the imperative provision of the law which commands that the rights to succession are transmitted from the moment of death (Article 657, old Civil Code). The new right recognized by the new Civil Code in favor of the illegitimate children of the deceased cannot, therefore, be asserted to the impairment of the vested right of Maria Uson over the lands in dispute.

LITONJUA GR No.L-4170, 90 PHIL 757

v. January 31, 1952,

MONTILLA 90PHIL757

FACTS: Pedro Litonjua obtained a judgment against Claudio Montilla for the payment of a sum of P4,039. Failing to find or identify a property of Claudio to be levied, petitioner then proceeded to file a claim in the intestate proceeding of the estate of Agustin Montilla Sr, father of the deceased. The estate has not yet been properly probated. ISSUE: Could the petitioner succeed in collecting the debt as against the estate of the debtor's deceased parent?

HELD: No. In the case of Ortiga Brothers and Co. vs. Enage and Yap Tico, 18 Phil. 345, it was held that the creditor of the heirs of a deceased person is entitled to collect his claim out of the property which pertains by inheritance to said heirs, only after the debts of the testate or intestate have been paid and when the net assets that are divisible among the heirs are known, because the debts of the deceased must first be paid before his heirs can inherit. It was therein also held that a person who is not a creditor of a deceased, testate or intestate, has no right to intervene either in the proceedings brought in connection with the estate or in the settlement of the succession. The foregoing pronouncements are perfectly applicable to the case at bar, because the appellant is not a creditor of the deceased Agustin Montilla, Sr. and he seeks to collect his claim out of the inheritance of Claudio Montilla, an heir, before the net assets of the intestate estate have been determined.

DE GUZMAN vda. GR No.L-4133, 91 PHIL 265

DE

CARRILLO May

v. 13,

DE

PAZ 1952

FACTS: A lot had been mortgaged by spouses Severino Salak and Petra Garcia to Pedro Magat; the latter then assigned the mortgage to Honoria Salak. After the death Petra, Severino transferred 1/2 of his rights to the property to Honoria for the sum representing 1/2 of the consideratioin paid by her to the mortgagees Magat. Severino later died leaving the defendants as heirs. Honoria also died, with the plaintiff as heir. Intestate proceedings were instituted for the settlement and distribution of the estate of the deceased Severino and Petra, including the lot in question which was adjudicated, after proper proceedings in favor of the defendants. Plaintiff sued for reconveyance of the 1/2 of the portion of the lot in her favor as heir of Honoria. ISSUE: May the petition prosper? HELD: No. The property now sought to be recovered from the defendants was adjudicated in their favor after all claims, indebtedness and obligations chargeable against the intestate estate of the deceased Severino Salak and Petra Garcia had been all paid and accounted for out of the estate of the deceased; so that, in the eyes of the law, the properties now in the hands of the defendants are presumed to be free from all claims whatsoever. The claim of the plaintiff set up in the complaint should have been interposed during the pendency and progress of Special Proceeding No. 3; but plaintiff not having done so, she cannot now bring this action against the defendants, for it is clear that there exists no privity of contract between plaintiff and defendants upon which plaintiff can predicate her action against the present defendants.

IBARLE GR 92 PHIL 721

No.L-5064,

v. February

27,

PO 1953

FACTS: Leonardo Winstanley died leaving a parcel of land to his surviving spouse Catalina Navarro and some minor children. Catalina sold the entire parcel of land to Maria Canoy who later sold the same land to the plaintiff Bienvenido Ibarle. After some time, after her appointment

as guardian of her minor children, Catalina again sold 1/2 of the land in question, which portion now belonged to the children as heirs, to herein defendant Esperanza Po. ISSUE: Which sale was valid, and who has the rightful claim to the property? HELD: The sale to defendant is valid. Article 657 of the old Civil Code provides: "The rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death." in a slightly different language, this article is incorporated in the new Civil Code as article 777. The above provision and comment make it clear that when Catalina Navarro Vda. de Winstanley sold the entire parcel to the Canoy spouses, one-half of it already belonged to the seller's children. No formal or judicial declaration being needed to confirm the children's title, it follows that the first sale was null and void in so far as it included the children's share. On the other hand, the sale to the defendant having been made by authority of the competent court was undeniably legal and effective. The fact that it has not been recorded is of no consequence. If registration were necessary, still the non-registration would not avail the plaintiff because it was due to no other cause than his own opposition.

OSORIO GR 41 PHIL 531

No.L-10474,

v. March

29,

OSORIO 1916

FACTS: Francisco Osorio y Garcia filed a written complaint alleging that he is a natural son of one Francisco Osorio y Reyes who died in 1896; and that he had been in continuous possession of the status of natural son of said Osorio y Reyes, as proven by direct acts of the latter and of his family; that the defendant Soledad Osorio, lawful daughter and lawful heir of said Osorio y Reyes, be ordered to recognize the plaintiff as a natural son of said Osorio y Reyes, and is entitled to share in his father's estate; and, furthermore, that said defendant be ordered to furnish subsistence to plaintiff in such amount as the court might deem proper to fix. The evidence offered relating to the fact of filiation of Osorio y Garcia to Osorio Reyes is strong and unimpeachable, so that the court found the legitimacy of claim of Osorio y Garcia to be properly established. ISSUE: Has the plaintiff the right to be recognized as co-heir and be entitled to the rights appertaining to his deceased father's estate? HELD: Yes. Recognition of the child as a natural child must be made if he has been in continuous possession of his filiation, proven by the attendance of his father at his baptism, in the certificate in which his name and that of his mother appear, though the document contains errors, and by his father's statement to various friends that the boy was his natural son, and by his father's always having attended to the care, education and support of his son. So that the plaintiff, Francisco Osorio y Garcia, according to the facts proven in this case and the law on the subject, is entitled to have his half sister Soledad Osorio, a legitimate daughter of the father of both of them, recognize him as being the natural, recognized son of Francisco Osorio y Reyes and as entitled to the rights granted him by law in respect to his deceased father's estate, all of which is in possession of the defendant spouses.

RAMIREZ GR 22 SCRA 918

v. No.L-25049, August 30,

BALTAZAR 1968

FACTS: Victoriana Eguaras, single, mortgaged a real estate to spouses Baltazar, defendants in this case. Upon demise of Victoriana, the mortgagees, as creditors of the deceased, filed a petition for the intestate proceedings of Victoriana's estate, alleging further that plaintiffs Felimon and Monica Ramirez are heirs of the deceased. Felimon was later appointed as adminstrator but did not qualify so that Artemio Diawan was appointed as judicial administrator of the estate. The mortgagees then filed a foreclosure of the property in question and succeeded, after Diawan failed to file an answer against the petition. The foreclosure sale ensued, the property was bought by the mortgagees themselves and the sale was confirmed by the court. Felimon sued for the annulment of the entire foreclosure proceedings, alleging among others the failure of the judicial administrator to protect their interests. Defendants contended that plaintiffs have no legal capacity to sue and hava no cause of action. ISSUE: Have the plaintiffs the cause of action against the defendant? HELD: Yes. There is no question that the rights to succession are automatically transmitted to the heirs from the moment of the death of the decedent. While, as a rule, the formal declaration or recognition to such successional rights needs judicial confirmation, this Court has, under special circumstances, protected these rights from encroachments made or attempted before the judicial declaration. In Pascual vs. Pascual, it was ruled that although heirs have no legal standing in court upon the commencement of testate or intestate proceedings, this rule admits of an exception as "when the administrator fails or refuses to act in which event the heirs may act in his place."

DE GR 21 SCRA 1133

BORJA No.L-20609,

v. September 29,

MENCIAS 1966

FACTS: Petitioners Juan De Borja et al. petitioned for the reversal of the order of Judge Mencias, denying their petition cause the sale of the properties levied upon to satisfy the money judgment in a civil case rendered in favor of petitioners against respondent Crisanto de Borja. Petitioners levied aganst the rights, interest and participation which Crisanto de Borja had in certain real properties, as an heir of the decedents Josefa Tangco and Francisco de Borja, whose estates were then pending settlement in Special Proceedings Nos. F-7866 and 1955 of the aforementioned court, respectively. this Court hereby holds that whatever interest, claim or right which Crisanto de Borja may have in the testate estate of Josefa Tangco and in the intestate estate of Francisco de Borja are subject to attachment and execution for the purpose of satisfying the money judgment rendered against the said heir ISSUE: May the sale of the property levied for execution proceed?

HELD: The above question must be answered in the affirmative, provided it is understood that the sale shall be only of whatever rights, interest and participation may be adjudicated to said heir as a result of the final settlement of the estates, and that delivery thereof to the judgment creditor or to the purchaser at the public sale thereof shall be made only after the final settlement of the estates and in the manner provided by the legal provision mentioned above.

RODRIGUEZ GR 17 SCRA 418

v. No.L-21993, June

DE 21,

BORJA 1966

FACTS: Private respondents Apolonia Pangilinan and Adelaida Jacalan delivered to the Clerk of Court of Bulacan a purported last will and testament of Fr. Rodriguez, meanwhile the petitioners filed a petition before the court to examine the purported will but which was later withdrawn, and a petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of Fr. Rodriguez was subsequently field in a another court in Rizal. The petitioners now sought the dismissal of the special proceeding on the settlement of the decedent's estate based on the purported will, questioning therefore the jurisdiction of CFI Bulacan. ISSUE: Does CFI Bulacan have jurisdiction to proceed with the testate proceedings? HELD: Yes. The jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan became vested upon the delivery thereto of the will of the late Father Rodriguez, even if no petition for its allowance was filed until later, because upon the will being deposited the court could, motu proprio, have taken steps to fix the time and place for proving the will, and issued the corresponding notices conformably to what is prescribed by section 3, Rule 76, of the Revised Rules of Court. Moreover, aside from the rule that the Court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts, intestate succession is only subsidiary or subordinate to the testate, since intestacy only takes place in the absence of a valid operative will.

CHAVEZ GR No. L-68282, November 8, 1990

v.

IAC

FACTS: Manuela Buenavista assigned her paraphernal property in equal pro-diviso among her 6 children, while possession of such property still remains with her. Three of her children sold each their share to private respondent Concepcion, consolidating 4/6 portion thereof. Deeds of sale were therefor executed with the conformity of Manuela. Despite such transfers, the latter sold the entire property to one of the siblings, herein petitioner Raquel Chavez. Respondent sued for the annulment of the later sale to Raquel which was denied by the trail court but which later decision overturned by the Court of Appeals. On appeal, petitioner also contends that their mother has left a last will and this will supercedes the earlier transfers.

ISSUE: Is partition inter-vivos, and sale based on such partition valid? Does a last will supercede that of the partition inter-vivos? HELD: Yes. When a person makes a partition by will, it is imperative that such partition must be executed in accordance with the provisions of the law on wills; however, when a person makes the partition of his estate by an act inter vivos, such partition may even be oral or written, and need not be in the form of a will, provided that the partition does not prejudice the legitime of compulsory heirs. xxx The Deeds of Sale are not contracts entered into with respect to future inheritance but a contract perfected and consummated during the lifetime of Manuela Buenavista who signed the same and gave her consent thereto. Such partition inter vivos, executed by the property owner herself, is valid. It would be unjust and inequitable to allow Manuela Buenavista Vda. de Chavez to revoke the sales she herself authorized as well as the sale she herself executed in favor of her son only to execute a simulated sale in favor of her daughter Raquel who had already profited from the sale she made of the property she had received in the partition inter vivos.

NERI GR 74 PHIL 185

v. No.L-47799, May 21,

AKUTIN 1943

FACTS: This is a case where the testator Agripino Neri in his will left all his property by universal title to the children by his second marriage, the herein respondents, with omission of the children by his first marriage, the herein petitioner. The omission of the heirs in the will was contemplated by the testator with the belief that he had already given each of the children portion of the inheritance, particularly a land he had abandoned was occupied by the respondents over which registration was denied for it turned out to be a public land, and an aggregate amount of money which the respondents were indebted to their father. ISSUE: Should there be cancellation of the will, in view of the omission of heirs? Is there disinheritance in this case? HELD: Yes. The Court annulled the institution of heirs and declared a total intestacy on the ground that testator left all his property by universal title to the children by his second marriage, without expressly disinheriting the children by his first marriage but upon the erroneous belief that he had given them already more shares in his property than those given to the children by his second marriage. Disinheritance made without a statement of the cause, if contested, shall annul the institution of heirs in so far as it is prejudicial to the disinherited person. This is but a case of preterition which annuls the institution of heirs.

BARANDA GR No.73275 May 20, 1987

v.

BARANDA

FACTS: Paulina Baranda died without issue, but before her demise, two of her supposed heirs, the herein respondents Evangelina and Elisa Baranda, have already taken possession of 6 parcels

of land and caused the transfer of such by virtue of questionable sales which the late widow had also sought the reconveyance which did not however materialized. The petitioners, siblings of the decedent, now sought the annulment of the supposed sale or transfers. Respondents question the petitioners legal standing, them being not a party-in-interest in the deed of sale. ISSUE: Can the petitioners impugn the validity of the sales? HELD: This Court has repeatedly held that "the legal heirs of a decedent are the parties in interest to commence ordinary actions arising out of the rights belonging to the deceased, without separate judicial declaration as to their being heirs of said decedent, provided that there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the decedent's estate. There being no pending special proceeding for the settlement of Paulina Baranda's estate, the petitioners, as her intestate heirs, had the right to sue for the reconveyance of the disputed properties, not to them, but to the estate itself of the decedent, for distribution later in accordance with law. Otherwise, no one else could question the simulated sales and the subjects thereof would remain in the name of the alleged vendees, who would thus have been permitted to benefit from their deception, In fact, even if it were assumed that those suing through attorneys-in-fact were not properly represented, the remaining petitioners would still have sufficed to impugn the validity of the deeds of sale.

BALAIS GR 159 SCRA 47

No.L-33924,

v. March

18,

BALAIS 1988

FACTS: On an action for recovery of real property filed by the respondents, spurious children of the late Escolastico Balais who died in 1948, against the petitioners, legitimate children of the deceased, the trial court decreed reconveyance of the portion of the property belonging to the legitime and further declaring partition that sent 1/4 portion of the legitime to the respondents. Petitioners come now questioning the partition and seeking the reconveyance of the 1/4 share that went to the spurious children, relying on the provisions of the old civil code, and thereby questioning the competence and jurisdiction of the trial court, ISSUE: Is the court competent to decree the partition, without it being asked in the complaint? Could the provisions of the new civil code be applied over a case which occurs prior to its effectivity? HELD: 1. Yes. The court acquired jurisdiction by estoppel. It must be noted that, in spite of the broad challenge the appellants present against the jurisdiction of the trial court to order the distribution of the property, they, in reality, question only that part of the decision awarding a one-fourth part of the property to the illegitimate children of the deceased, upon the ground that under the old Civil Code illegitimate children other than natural enjoyed no successionary rights. They do not contest the delivery of the estate to the deceased's widow or to themselves in the proportions decreed by the court. 2. No. The court erred in applying the provisions of the new code. But as stated, the error of the court notwithstanding, the case is a closed chapter, the decision having been rendered by a court

of competent jurisdiction, have become final and executory. A decision, no matter how erroneous, becomes the law of the case between the parties upon attaining finality.

CONDE GR 13 PHIL 249

No.L-4275,

v. March

23,

ABAYA 1909

FACTS: Casiano Abaya died unmarried however leaving two unaknowledged children by herein plaintiff-appellee Paula Conde. The latter, as a ascendant heir of her children, sued for the settlement of the intestate estate of Casiano along with the acknowledgment of the two as natural children of the deceased. The trial court, with the opposition of the defendant-appellant Roman Abaya, brother of the deceased, rendered judgment bestowing the estate of Casiano to Conde as legitimate heir of the decedent's natural children. ISSUE: May the mother of a natural child now deceased, bring an action for the acknowledgment of the natural filiation in favor of such child in order to appear in his behalf to receive the inheritance from the deceased natural father. HELD: The right of action that devolves upon the child to claim his legitimacy lasts during his whole life, while the right to claim the acknowledgment of a natural child lasts only during the life of his presumed parents. An action for the acknowledgment of a natural child may, as an exception, be exercised against the heirs of the presumed parents in two cases: first, in the event of the death of the latter during the minority of the child, and second, upon the discovery of some instrument of express acknowledgment of the child, executed by the father or mother, the existence of which was unknown during the life of the latter. But such action for the acknowledgment of a natural child can only be exercised by him. It cannot be transmitted to his descendants, or his ascendants.

REIRA GR 40 PHIL 105

v. No.14851, September 13,

PALMAROLI 1919

FACTS: Antonia Reira, widow of Juan Pons who was at the time of the latter's death residing at Palma de Mallorca, sought the annulment of the order of the trial court admitting the probate of a purported will of her husband. The purported will was submitted to be admitted to probate by respondent Consul General Palmaroli. The petitioner contends that the probate of the will, in view of her absence, deprived her of her right to contest the original application. ISSUE: Should the probated will yield to the rights of the decedent's heir? HELD: Yes. A will is nothing more than a species of conveyance whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control in a certain degree the disposition of his property after his death. Out of consideration for the important interests involved the execution and proof of wills has been surrounded by numerous safeguards, among which is the provision

that after death of the testator his will may be judicially established in court. xxx The probate of a will, while conclusive as to its due execution, in no wise involves the intrinsic validity of its provisions. If, therefore, upon the distribution of the estate of the decedent, it should appear that any provision of his will is contrary to the law applicable to his case, the will must necessarily yield upon that point and the disposition made by law must prevail.

MONTINOLA v. HERBOSA FACTS: Montinola filed an action against the heirs of Dr. Jose Rizal for recovery of possession of personal property (the RIZAL RELICS) allegedly sold to him by Doa Trinidad Rizal. The trial court held that neither party is entitled to the possession of such property, relying principally on the fact that in Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios, there is a line where Rizal bequeathed all his property to the Filipino people. The court argued that the handwritten work of Rizal constitutes a holographic will giving the State all his property. ISSUE: Does Mi Ultimo Adios constitute a last will? HELD: No. An instrument which merely expresses a last wish as a thought or advice but does not contain a disposition of property, and executed without Animus Standi cannot be legally considered a will. Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios is but a literary piece of work, and was so intended. It may be considered a will in a grammatical sense but not in a legal or juridical sense. Moreover, it also lacks the requirements of a holographic will such as a statement of the year month and day of its execution and his signature.

MERZA GR 93 PHIL 142

v. No.L-4888, May 25,

PORRAS 1953

FACTS: Pilar Montealegre died leaving a will (Exhibit A) and a so-called codicil (Exhibit B), disinheriting her husband Pedro Porras and some of her relatives. The two documents were submitted to probate but were denied by the trial court, upon the grounds such as the defect of the attestation clause on Exh. A and that Exh. cannot be considered a codicil for it was executed by the testator a day before Exhibit A, thus it cannot be included in the probate proceedings. ISSUE: Should a document, expressly disinheriting certain heirs, executed by the testator prior to a supposed last will, be probated? HELD: Yes. The trial court and the CA is correct that Exhibit B having been executed one day before Exhibit A could not be considered as a codicil "because a codicil, as the word implies, is only an addition to, or modification of, the will." The Court of Appeals added that "the contents of Exhibit B are couched in the language ordinarily used in a simple affidavit and as such, may not have the legal effect and force to a testamentary disposition." However, Exhibit B does partake of the nature of a will. A will is defined in article 667 of the Civil code of Spain as "the act by which a person dispose of all his property or a portion of it,"

and in article 783 of the new Civil Code as "an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death. Exhibit B comes within this definition.

CASTAEDA GR 3 PHIL 426

No.1439,

v. March

19,

ALEMANY 1904

FACTS: Appellant constested the validity of the will of Doa Juana Moreno upon the ground that although the attestation clause in the will states that the testator signed the will in the presence of three witnesses who also each signed in each presence, the will was not actually written by the testator. ISSUE: Is it necessary that a will be written by the testator herself? HELD: No. Section 618 of the Civil Code requires (1) that the will be in writing and (2) either that the testator sign it himself or, if he does not sign it, that it be signed by some one in his presence and by his express direction. Who does the mechanical work of writing the will is a matter of indifference. The fact, therefore, that in this case the will was typewritten in the office of the lawyer for the testratrix is of no consequence.

MICIANO GR 50 PHIL 867

No.L-22595,

v. November

1,

BRIMO 1927

FACTS: Joseph Brimo, a Turkish national, died leaving a will which one of the clauses states that the law of the Philippines shall govern the partition and not the law of his nationality, and that legatees have to respect the will, otherwise the dispositions accruing to them shall be annulled. By virtue of such condition, his brother, Andre Brimo, an instituted heir was thus excluded because, by his action of having opposed the partition scheme, he did not respect the will. Andre sued contending that the conditions are void being contrary to law which provides that the will shall be probated according to the laws of the nationality of the decedent. ISSUE: Is the condition as set by the testator valid? HELD: No. A foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10 of the Civil Code states said national law should govern. Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein oppositor.

BELLIS GR 20 SCRA 358

v. No.L-23678, June 6,

BELLIS 1967

FACTS: Amos G. Bellis, a native of Texas and US national, executed a will in the Philippines that specifies legacies for his first wife and three illegitimate children, and the residue estate be divided among his legitimate children. When he died, the executor administered the will but his illegitimate children opposed the partition claiming that aside from the legacies, they should still have a share from the legitime as complusory heirs of the decedent. Texas law, however, does not provide for the legitime. ISSUE: Are the decedent's illegitimate children entitled to such portion of the legitime? What law shall govern the decendent's will? HELD: No. The parties admit that the decedent was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis. Hence, the illegitimate children of the decedent has no claim to the inheritance aside from those expressly provided legacies. ATUN v. NUEZ GR No.L-8018, October 26, 1955 87 PHIL 762 FACTS: Estefania Atun died without any issue leaving in the possession of the plaintiffs, her neices and nephews, a parcel of land. Such land was delivered by plaintiff Gil Atun to Silvestra Nuez (sister of defendant-appellee Eusebio Nuez) for cultivation, for which Silvestra paid the Atuns a part of the harvest as rental. In 1940, Silvestra turned over the land to defendant Eusebio Nuez, who thereafter refused to recognize plaintiffs' ownership or to deliver their share of the produce. The defendant turn sold the land to his co-defendant Diego Belga, who took the property with the knowledge that it belonged, not to Nuez, but to plaintiffs. There was no prior judicial declaration, however, that the plaintiffs were the legal heirs of the decedent. ISSUE: Has plaintiffs the right to recover the property as a successor of the decedent? HELD: Yes. In the instant case, as the land in question still stands registered in the name of Estefania Atun, now deceased, the present owners thereof would be her legal heirs. It is of record that Estefania Atun died without any issue or ascendants and left as her only surviving heirs the children of her brother Nicolas, plaintiffs herein; and the rule is settled that the legal heirs of a deceased may file an action arising out of a right belonging to their ancestor, without a separate judicial declaration of their status as such, provided there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the decedent's estate.

LEDESMA

v.

MCLACHLIN

GR 66 PHIL 547

No.L-44837,

November

23,

1938

FACTS: Lorenzo Quitco, died in 1930, leaving defendant Mclachlin and her children as heirs. Plaintiff Ana Ledesma, spurious/illegitimate child of Lorenzo Quitco, and her mother, sued to declare her as compulsory heir which the court however denied. Two years later, Lorenzo's father Eusebio died, and because he left some personal and real properties without a will, an intestate proceeding was instituted and a court order declaring his compulsory heirs did not of course include Ana as one. Following such court action, the plaintiff proceeded to collect the sum payable on a promissory note then issued in favor of her by Lorenzo by filing a claim in the intestate proceedings of Eusebio's Estate claiming that the sum be paid out of the properties inherited by the defendants represents that of the successional rights of Lorenzo as a compulsory heir of his father Eusebio. ISSUE: Has plaintiff the right collect the sum promised by her father from her grandfather's estate? HELD: No. The properties inherited by the defendants from their deceased grandfather by representation are not subject to the payment of debts and obligations of their deceased father, who died without leaving any property. While it is true that under the provisions of Articles 924 to 927 of the Civil Code, a child presents his father or mother who died before him in the properties of his grandfather or grandmother, this right of representation does not make the said child answerable for the obligations contracted by his deceased father or mother, because, as may be seen from the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure referring to partition of inheritances, the inheritance is received with the benefit of inventory, that is to say, the heirs only answer with the properties received from their predecessor. The herein defendants, as heirs of Eusebio Quitco, in representation of their father Lorenzo M. Quitco, are not bound to pay the indebtedness of their father from whom they did not inherit anything.

LIMJOCO GR 80 PHIL 776

v.

INTESTATE No.L-770,

ESTATE April

OF

PEDRO 27,

FRAGRANTE 1948

FACTS: Petitioner opposed the issuance by the Public Service Commission of a certificate of public convenience to install, maintain and operate an ice plant in San Juan to the respondent despite his demise, contending that the Commission erred in allowing the substitution of the legal representative of the estate of Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party applicant in the case then pending before the commission, and in subsequently granting to said estate the certificate applied for, which is said to be in contravention of law. ISSUE: Is the decision of the Commission correct and with basis? HELD: Yes. If the respondent had not died, there can be no question that he would have had the right to prosecute his application before the commission to its final conclusion. No one would have denied him that right... The aforesaid right of respondent to prosecute said application to its

conclusion was one which by its nature did not lapse through his death. Hence, it constitutes a part of the assets of his estate, for which right was a property despite the possibility that in the end the commission might have denied his application, although under the facts of the case, the commission granted the application in view of the financial ability of the estate to maintain and operate the ice plant.

USON GR 92 PHIL 530

v. No.L-4963,

DEL January 29,

ROSARIO 1953

FACTS: Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 leaving as an only heir his estranged wife Maria Uson, the petitioner. The latter sued to recover the ownership and possession of five parcels of land occupied by defendant Maria del Rosario, decedent's common-law-spouse and her children. As a defense, defendant presented a deed of separation agreed upon and signed Faustino and Uson containing among others an statement giving a parcel of land to Uson as an alimony and the latter renouncing her rights to any inheritance from Faustino. The defendant also contends that while it is true that the four minor defendants are illegitimate children of the decedent and under the old Civil Code are not entitled to any successional rights, however, under the new Civil Code they are given the status and rights of natural children and are entitled to the successional rights which the law accords to the latter (article 2264 and article 287, new Civil Code), and because these successional rights were declared for the first time in the new code, they shall be given retroactive effect even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation (Article 2253, new Civil Code). ISSUE: Are the contentions of the defendants correct? HELD: No. It is evident that when the decedent died in 1945 the five parcels of land he was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his only heir, his widow Maria Uson (Article 657, old Civil Code). As this Court aptly said, "The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his death" (Ilustre vs. Alaras Frondosa, 17 Phil., 321). From that moment, therefore, the rights of inheritance of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested. The claim of the defendants that Uson had relinquished her right over the lands in question in view of her expressed renunciation to inherit any future property that her husband may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed of separation they had entered into cannot be entertained for the simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the subject of a contract nor can it be renounced. Nor does the contention that the provisions of the New Civil Code shall apply and be given retroactive effect. Article 2253 above referred to provides indeed that rights which are declared for the first time shall have retroactive effect even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the former legislation, but this is so only when the new rights do not prejudice any vested or acquired right of the same origin... As already stated in the early part of this decision, the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested in 1945 upon the death of her late husband and this is so because of the imperative provision of the

law which commands that the rights to succession are transmitted from the moment of death (Article 657, old Civil Code). The new right recognized by the new Civil Code in favor of the illegitimate children of the deceased cannot, therefore, be asserted to the impairment of the vested right of Maria Uson over the lands in dispute.

LITONJUA GR No.L-4170, 90 PHIL 757

v. January 31, 1952,

MONTILLA 90PHIL757

FACTS: Pedro Litonjua obtained a judgment against Claudio Montilla for the payment of a sum of P4,039. Failing to find or identify a property of Claudio to be levied, petitioner then proceeded to file a claim in the intestate proceeding of the estate of Agustin Montilla Sr, father of the deceased. The estate has not yet been properly probated. ISSUE: Could the petitioner succeed in collecting the debt as against the estate of the debtor's deceased parent? HELD: No. In the case of Ortiga Brothers and Co. vs. Enage and Yap Tico, 18 Phil. 345, it was held that the creditor of the heirs of a deceased person is entitled to collect his claim out of the property which pertains by inheritance to said heirs, only after the debts of the testate or intestate have been paid and when the net assets that are divisible among the heirs are known, because the debts of the deceased must first be paid before his heirs can inherit. It was therein also held that a person who is not a creditor of a deceased, testate or intestate, has no right to intervene either in the proceedings brought in connection with the estate or in the settlement of the succession. The foregoing pronouncements are perfectly applicable to the case at bar, because the appellant is not a creditor of the deceased Agustin Montilla, Sr. and he seeks to collect his claim out of the inheritance of Claudio Montilla, an heir, before the net assets of the intestate estate have been determined.

DE GUZMAN vda. GR No.L-4133, 91 PHIL 265

DE

CARRILLO May

v. 13,

DE

PAZ 1952

FACTS: A lot had been mortgaged by spouses Severino Salak and Petra Garcia to Pedro Magat; the latter then assigned the mortgage to Honoria Salak. After the death Petra, Severino transferred 1/2 of his rights to the property to Honoria for the sum representing 1/2 of the consideratioin paid by her to the mortgagees Magat. Severino later died leaving the defendants as heirs. Honoria also died, with the plaintiff as heir. Intestate proceedings were instituted for the settlement and distribution of the estate of the deceased Severino and Petra, including the lot in question which was adjudicated, after proper proceedings in favor of the defendants. Plaintiff sued for reconveyance of the 1/2 of the portion of the lot in her favor as heir of Honoria. ISSUE: May the petition prosper?

HELD: No. The property now sought to be recovered from the defendants was adjudicated in their favor after all claims, indebtedness and obligations chargeable against the intestate estate of the deceased Severino Salak and Petra Garcia had been all paid and accounted for out of the estate of the deceased; so that, in the eyes of the law, the properties now in the hands of the defendants are presumed to be free from all claims whatsoever. The claim of the plaintiff set up in the complaint should have been interposed during the pendency and progress of Special Proceeding No. 3; but plaintiff not having done so, she cannot now bring this action against the defendants, for it is clear that there exists no privity of contract between plaintiff and defendants upon which plaintiff can predicate her action against the present defendants.

IBARLE GR 92 PHIL 721

No.L-5064,

v. February

27,

PO 1953

FACTS: Leonardo Winstanley died leaving a parcel of land to his surviving spouse Catalina Navarro and some minor children. Catalina sold the entire parcel of land to Maria Canoy who later sold the same land to the plaintiff Bienvenido Ibarle. After some time, after her appointment as guardian of her minor children, Catalina again sold 1/2 of the land in question, which portion now belonged to the children as heirs, to herein defendant Esperanza Po. ISSUE: Which sale was valid, and who has the rightful claim to the property? HELD: The sale to defendant is valid. Article 657 of the old Civil Code provides: "The rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death." in a slightly different language, this article is incorporated in the new Civil Code as article 777. The above provision and comment make it clear that when Catalina Navarro Vda. de Winstanley sold the entire parcel to the Canoy spouses, one-half of it already belonged to the seller's children. No formal or judicial declaration being needed to confirm the children's title, it follows that the first sale was null and void in so far as it included the children's share. On the other hand, the sale to the defendant having been made by authority of the competent court was undeniably legal and effective. The fact that it has not been recorded is of no consequence. If registration were necessary, still the non-registration would not avail the plaintiff because it was due to no other cause than his own opposition.

OSORIO GR 41 PHIL 531

No.L-10474,

v. March

29,

OSORIO 1916

FACTS: Francisco Osorio y Garcia filed a written complaint alleging that he is a natural son of one Francisco Osorio y Reyes who died in 1896; and that he had been in continuous possession of the status of natural son of said Osorio y Reyes, as proven by direct acts of the latter and of his family; that the defendant Soledad Osorio, lawful daughter and lawful heir of said Osorio y Reyes, be ordered to recognize the plaintiff as a natural son of said Osorio y Reyes, and is entitled to share in his father's estate; and, furthermore, that said defendant be ordered to furnish

subsistence to plaintiff in such amount as the court might deem proper to fix. The evidence offered relating to the fact of filiation of Osorio y Garcia to Osorio Reyes is strong and unimpeachable, so that the court found the legitimacy of claim of Osorio y Garcia to be properly established. ISSUE: Has plaintiff the right to be recognized as co-heir and be entitled to the rights appertaining to his deceased father's estate? HELD: Yes. Recognition of the child as a natural child must be made if he has been in continuous possession of his filiation, proven by the attendance of his father at his baptism, in the certificate in which his name and that of his mother appear, though the document contains errors, and by his father's statement to various friends that the boy was his natural son, and by his father's always having attended to the care, education and support of his son. So that the plaintiff, Francisco Osorio y Garcia, according to the facts proven in this case and the law on the subject, is entitled to have his half sister Soledad Osorio, a legitimate daughter of the father of both of them, recognize him as being the natural, recognized son of Francisco Osorio y Reyes and as entitled to the rights granted him by law in respect to his deceased father's estate, all of which is in possession of the defendant spouses.

RAMIREZ GR 22 SCRA 918

v. No.L-25049, August 30,

BALTAZAR 1968

FACTS: Victoriana Eguaras, single, mortgaged a real estate to spouses Baltazar, defendants in this case. Upon demise of Victoriana, the mortgagees, as creditors of the deceased, filed a petition for the intestate proceedings of Victoriana's estate, alleging further that plaintiffs Felimon and Monica Ramirez are heirs of the deceased. Felimon was later appointed as adminstrator but did not qualify so that Artemio Diawan was appointed as judicial administrator of the estate. The mortgagees then filed a foreclosure of the property in question and succeeded, after Diawan failed to file an answer against the petition. The foreclosure sale ensued, the property was bought by the mortgagees themselves and the sale was confirmed by the court. Felimon sued for the annulment of the entire foreclosure proceedings, alleging among others the failure of the judicial administrator to protect their interests. Defendants contended that plaintiffs have no legal capacity to sue and hava no cause of action. ISSUE: Have plaintiffs the cause of action against the defendant? HELD: Yes. There is no question that the rights to succession are automatically transmitted to the heirs from the moment of the death of the decedent. While, as a rule, the formal declaration or recognition to such successional rights needs judicial confirmation, this Court has, under special circumstances, protected these rights from encroachments made or attempted before the judicial declaration. In Pascual vs. Pascual, it was ruled that although heirs have no legal standing in court upon the commencement of testate or intestate proceedings, this rule admits of an exception as "when the administrator fails or refuses to act in which event the heirs may act in his place."

DE GR 21 SCRA 1133

BORJA No.L-20609,

v. September 29,

MENCIAS 1966

FACTS: Petitioners Juan De Borja et al. petitioned for the reversal of the order of Judge Mencias, denying their petition cause the sale of the properties levied upon to satisfy the money judgment in a civil case rendered in favor of petitioners against respondent Crisanto de Borja. Petitioners levied aganst the rights, interest and participation which Crisanto de Borja had in certain real properties, as an heir of the decedents Josefa Tangco and Francisco de Borja, whose estates were then pending settlement in Special Proceedings Nos. F-7866 and 1955 of the aforementioned court, respectively. this Court hereby holds that whatever interest, claim or right which Crisanto de Borja may have in the testate estate of Josefa Tangco and in the intestate estate of Francisco de Borja are subject to attachment and execution for the purpose of satisfying the money judgment rendered against the said heir ISSUE: May the sale of the property levied for execution proceed? HELD: The above question must be answered in the affirmative, provided it is understood that the sale shall be only of whatever rights, interest and participation may be adjudicated to said heir as a result of the final settlement of the estates, and that delivery thereof to the judgment creditor or to the purchaser at the public sale thereof shall be made only after the final settlement of the estates and in the manner provided by the legal provision mentioned above.

RODRIGUEZ GR 17 SCRA 418

v. No.L-21993, June

DE 21,

BORJA 1966

FACTS: Private respondents Apolonia Pangilinan and Adelaida Jacalan delivered to the Clerk of Court of Bulacan a purported last will and testament of Fr. Rodriguez, meanwhile the petitioners filed a petition before the court to examine the purported will but which was later withdrawn, and a petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of Fr. Rodriguez was subsequently field in a another court in Rizal. The petitioners now sought the dismissal of the special proceeding on the settlement of the decedent's estate based on the purported will, questioning therefore the jurisdiction of CFI Bulacan. ISSUE: Does CFI Bulacan have jurisdiction to proceed with the testate proceedings? HELD: Yes. The jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan became vested upon the delivery thereto of the will of the late Father Rodriguez, even if no petition for its allowance was filed until later, because upon the will being deposited the court could, motu proprio, have taken steps to fix the time and place for proving the will, and issued the corresponding notices conformably to what is prescribed by section 3, Rule 76, of the Revised Rules of Court. Moreover, aside from the rule that the Court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the

estate of a decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts, intestate succession is only subsidiary or subordinate to the testate, since intestacy only takes place in the absence of a valid operative will.

CHAVEZ GR No. L-68282, November 8, 1990

v.

IAC

FACTS: Manuela Buenavista assigned her paraphernal property in equal pro-diviso among her 6 children, while possession of such property still remains with her. Three of her children sold each their share to private respondent Concepcion, consolidating 4/6 portion thereof. Deeds of sale were therefor executed with the conformity of Manuela. Despite such transfers, the latter sold the entire property to one of the siblings, herein petitioner Raquel Chavez. Respondent sued for the annulment of the later sale to Raquel which was denied by the trail court but which later decision overturned by the Court of Appeals. On appeal, petitioner also contends that their mother has left a last will and this will supercedes the earlier transfers. ISSUE: Is partition inter-vivos, and sale based on such partition valid? Does a last will supercede that of the partition inter-vivos? HELD: Yes. When a person makes a partition by will, it is imperative that such partition must be executed in accordance with the provisions of the law on wills; however, when a person makes the partition of his estate by an act inter vivos, such partition may even be oral or written, and need not be in the form of a will, provided that the partition does not prejudice the legitime of compulsory heirs. xxx The Deeds of Sale are not contracts entered into with respect to future inheritance but a contract perfected and consummated during the lifetime of Manuela Buenavista who signed the same and gave her consent thereto. Such partition inter vivos, executed by the property owner herself, is valid. It would be unjust and inequitable to allow Manuela Buenavista Vda. de Chavez to revoke the sales she herself authorized as well as the sale she herself executed in favor of her son only to execute a simulated sale in favor of her daughter Raquel who had already profited from the sale she made of the property she had received in the partition inter vivos.

NERI GR 74 PHIL 185

v. No.L-47799, May 21,

AKUTIN 1943

FACTS: This is a case where the testator Agripino Neri in his will left all his property by universal title to the children by his second marriage, the herein respondents, with omission of the children by his first marriage, the herein petitioner. The omission of the heirs in the will was contemplated by the testator with the belief that he had already given each of the children portion of the inheritance, particularly a land he had abandoned was occupied by the respondents over which registration was denied for it turned out to be a public land, and an aggregate amount of money which the respondents were indebted to their father.

ISSUE: Should there be cancellation of the will, in view of the omission of heirs? Is there disinheritance in this case? HELD: Yes. The Court annulled the institution of heirs and declared a total intestacy on the ground that testator left all his property by universal title to the children by his second marriage, without expressly disinheriting the children by his first marriage but upon the erroneous belief that he had given them already more shares in his property than those given to the children by his second marriage. Disinheritance made without a statement of the cause, if contested, shall annul the institution of heirs in so far as it is prejudicial to the disinherited person. This is but a case of preterition which annuls the institution of heirs.

BARANDA GR No.73275 May 20, 1987

v.

BARANDA

FACTS: Paulina Baranda died without issue, but before her demise, two of her supposed heirs, the herein respondents Evangelina and Elisa Baranda, have already taken possession of 6 parcels of land and caused the transfer of such by virtue of questionable sales which the late widow had also sought the reconveyance which did not however materialized. The petitioners, siblings of the decedent, now sought the annulment of the supposed sale or transfers. Respondents question the petitioners legal standing, them being not a party-in-interest in the deed of sale. ISSUE: Can the petitioners impugn the validity of the sales? HELD: This Court has repeatedly held that "the legal heirs of a decedent are the parties in interest to commence ordinary actions arising out of the rights belonging to the deceased, without separate judicial declaration as to their being heirs of said decedent, provided that there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the decedent's estate. There being no pending special proceeding for the settlement of Paulina Baranda's estate, the petitioners, as her intestate heirs, had the right to sue for the reconveyance of the disputed properties, not to them, but to the estate itself of the decedent, for distribution later in accordance with law. Otherwise, no one else could question the simulated sales and the subjects thereof would remain in the name of the alleged vendees, who would thus have been permitted to benefit from their deception, In fact, even if it were assumed that those suing through attorneys-in-fact were not properly represented, the remaining petitioners would still have sufficed to impugn the validity of the deeds of sale.

BALAIS GR 159 SCRA 47

No.L-33924,

v. March

18,

BALAIS 1988

FACTS: On an action for recovery of real property filed by the respondents, spurious children of the late Escolastico Balais who died in 1948, against the petitioners, legitimate children of the deceased, the trial court decreed reconveyance of the portion of the property belonging to the legitime and further declaring partition that sent 1/4 portion of the legitime to the respondents.

Petitioners come now questioning the partition and seeking the reconveyance of the 1/4 share that went to the spurious children, relying on the provisions of the old civil code, and thereby questioning the competence and jurisdiction of the trial court, ISSUE: Is the court competent to decree the partition, without it being asked in the complaint? Could the provisions of the new civil code be applied over a case which occurs prior to its effectivity? HELD: 1. Yes. The court acquired jurisdiction by estoppel. It must be noted that, in spite of the broad challenge the appellants present against the jurisdiction of the trial court to order the distribution of the property, they, in reality, question only that part of the decision awarding a one-fourth part of the property to the illegitimate children of the deceased, upon the ground that under the old Civil Code illegitimate children other than natural enjoyed no successionary rights. They do not contest the delivery of the estate to the deceased's widow or to themselves in the proportions decreed by the court. 2. No. The court erred in applying the provisions of the new code. But as stated, the error of the court notwithstanding, the case is a closed chapter, the decision having been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, have become final and executory. A decision, no matter how erroneous, becomes the law of the case between the parties upon attaining finality.

CONDE GR 13 PHIL 249

No.L-4275,

v. March

23,

ABAYA 1909

FACTS: Casiano Abaya died unmarried however leaving two unaknowledged children by herein plaintiff-appellee Paula Conde. The latter, as a ascendant heir of her children, sued for the settlement of the intestate estate of Casiano along with the acknowledgment of the two as natural children of the deceased. The trial court, with the opposition of the defendant-appellant Roman Abaya, brother of the deceased, rendered judgment bestowing the estate of Casiano to Conde as legitimate heir of the decedent's natural children. ISSUE: May the mother of a natural child now deceased, bring an action for the acknowledgment of the natural filiation in favor of such child in order to appear in his behalf to receive the inheritance from the deceased natural father. HELD: The right of action that devolves upon the child to claim his legitimacy lasts during his whole life, while the right to claim the acknowledgment of a natural child lasts only during the life of his presumed parents. An action for the acknowledgment of a natural child may, as an exception, be exercised against the heirs of the presumed parents in two cases: first, in the event of the death of the latter during the minority of the child, and second, upon the discovery of some instrument of express acknowledgment of the child, executed by the father or mother, the existence of which was unknown during the life of the latter. But such action for the acknowledgment of a natural child can only be exercised by him. It cannot be transmitted to his descendants, or his ascendants.

REIRA GR 40 PHIL 105

v. No.14851, September 13,

PALMAROLI 1919

FACTS: Antonia Reira, widow of Juan Pons who was at the time of the latter's death residing at Palma de Mallorca, sought the annulment of the order of the trial court admitting the probate of a purported will of her husband. The purported will was submitted to be admitted to probate by respondent Consul General Palmaroli. The petitioner contends that the probate of the will, in view of her absence, deprived her of her right to contest the original application. ISSUE: Should the probated will yield to the rights of the decedent's heir? HELD: Yes. A will is nothing more than a species of conveyance whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control in a certain degree the disposition of his property after his death. Out of consideration for the important interests involved the execution and proof of wills has been surrounded by numerous safeguards, among which is the provision that after death of the testator his will may be judicially established in court. xxx The probate of a will, while conclusive as to its due execution, in no wise involves the intrinsic validity of its provisions. If, therefore, upon the distribution of the estate of the decedent, it should appear that any provision of his will is contrary to the law applicable to his case, the will must necessarily yield upon that point and the disposition made by law must prevail.

MONTINOLA v. HERBOSA FACTS: Montinola filed an action against the heirs of Dr. Jose Rizal for recovery of possession of personal property (the RIZAL RELICS) allegedly sold to him by Doa Trinidad Rizal. The trial court held that neither party is entitled to the possession of such property, relying principally on the fact that in Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios, there is a line where Rizal bequeathed all his property to the Filipino people. The court argued that the handwritten work of Rizal constitutes a holographic will giving the State all his property. ISSUE: Does Mi Ultimo Adios constitute a last will? HELD: No. An instrument which merely expresses a last wish as a thought or advice but does not contain a disposition of property, and executed without Animus Standi cannot be legally considered a will. Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios is but a literary piece of work, and was so intended. It may be considered a will in a grammatical sense but not in a legal or juridical sense. Moreover, it also lacks the requirements of a holographic will such as a statement of the year month and day of its execution and his signature.

MERZA GR 93 PHIL 142

v. No.L-4888, May 25,

PORRAS 1953

FACTS: Pilar Montealegre died leaving a will (Exhibit A) and a so-called codicil (Exhibit B), disinheriting her husband Pedro Porras and some of her relatives. The two documents were submitted to probate but were denied by the trial court, upon the grounds such as the defect of the attestation clause on Exh. A and that Exh. cannot be considered a codicil for it was executed by the testator a day before Exhibit A, thus it cannot be included in the probate proceedings. ISSUE: Should a document, expressly disinheriting certain heirs, executed by the testator prior to a supposed last will, be probated? HELD: Yes. The trial court and the CA is correct that Exhibit B having been executed one day before Exhibit A could not be considered as a codicil "because a codicil, as the word implies, is only an addition to, or modification of, the will." The Court of Appeals added that "the contents of Exhibit B are couched in the language ordinarily used in a simple affidavit and as such, may not have the legal effect and force to a testamentary disposition." However, Exhibit B does partake of the nature of a will. A will is defined in article 667 of the Civil code of Spain as "the act by which a person dispose of all his property or a portion of it," and in article 783 of the new Civil Code as "an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death. Exhibit B comes within this definition.

CASTAEDA GR 3 PHIL 426

No.1439,

v. March

19,

ALEMANY 1904

FACTS: Appellant constested the validity of the will of Doa Juana Moreno upon the ground that although the attestation clause in the will states that the testator signed the will in the presence of three witnesses who also each signed in each presence, the will was not actually written by the testator. ISSUE: Is it necessary that a will be written by the testator herself? HELD: No. Section 618 of the Civil Code requires (1) that the will be in writing and (2) either that the testator sign it himself or, if he does not sign it, that it be signed by some one in his presence and by his express direction. Who does the mechanical work of writing the will is a matter of indifference. The fact, therefore, that in this case the will was typewritten in the office of the lawyer for the testratrix is of no consequence.

MICIANO GR 50 PHIL 867

No.L-22595,

v. November

1,

BRIMO 1927

FACTS: Joseph Brimo, a Turkish national, died leaving a will which one of the clauses states that the law of the Philippines shall govern the partition and not the law of his nationality, and

that legatees have to respect the will, otherwise the dispositions accruing to them shall be annulled. By virtue of such condition, his brother, Andre Brimo, an instituted heir was thus excluded because, by his action of having opposed the partition scheme, he did not respect the will. Andre sued contending that the conditions are void being contrary to law which provides that the will shall be probated according to the laws of the nationality of the decedent. ISSUE: Is the condition as set by the testator valid? HELD: No. A foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10 of the Civil Code states said national law should govern. Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein oppositor.

Miciano vs Brimo
TITLE: Juan Miciano v Andre Brimo CITATION: GR No.22595, November 1, 1927| 50 Phil 867 FACTS: Juan Miciano, judicial administrator of the estate in question, filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased (Joseph Brimo) opposed Micianos participation in the inheritance. Joseph Brimo is a Turkish citizen. ISSUE: Whether Turkish law or Philippine law will be the basis on the distribution of Joseph Brimos estates. HELD: Though the last part of the second clause of the will expressly said that it be made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine Island, this condition, described as impossible conditions, shall be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator otherwise provide. Impossible conditions are further defined as those contrary to law or good morals. Thus, national law of the testator shall govern in his testamentary dispositions. The court approved the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator, in such manner as to include Andre Brimo, as one of the legatees. Minciano vs. Brimo 50 Phil. 867, November 1, 1924 Facts:

Joseph G. Brimo, a citizen of Turkey, died and left a partition of the estate. Juan Miciano, the judicial administrator of the estate left filed a scheme of partition. However, Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. Brimos opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the provisions of Joseph Brimos will which are not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality, for which reason they are void as being in violation of Article 10 of the Civil Code. Issue: Whether or not the national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary disposition. Held: Joseph Brimo, a Turkish citizen , though he declared in his will that Philippine laws must govern the disposition of his estate; however, it must not prejudice the heir or legatee of the testator. Therefore, the testators national law must govern in accordance with Article 10 of the Civil Code

Bellis vs. Bellis [20 SCRA 358]


Post under case digests, Civil Law at Saturday, February 25, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind

Facts: Amos G. Bellis, a citizen of the State of Texas, died a resident of Texas. The will he had executed in the Philippines directed that his distributable Philippine estate should be divided in trusts. In the project of partition, the executor of the will pursuant to the Twelfth clause of the testators Last Will and Testament- divided the residuary estate into 7 equal portions for the benefit of the testators seven legitimate children. Maria Christina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children, and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased. Issue: Whether or not the Texas law or the Philippine Law should be applied in the case at bar.

Held: The Court held that since decedent is a citizen of the State of Texas and is domiciled therein at the time of his death, Texas law should apply. Article 16 (2) and Art 1039 render applicable the national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to 4 items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights ; (c)intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed. Under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes.
Garcia v. Lacuesta G.R. L-4067 November 29, 1951 Ponente: Paras, C.J. Facts: 1. The CA disallowed the probate of the will of Antero Mercado dated Jan 1943. The said will was written in Ilocano dialect. 2. The will appears to have been signed by Atty. Florentino Javier who wrote the name of the testator followed below by 'A ruego del testador' and the name of Florentino Javier. In effect, it was signed by another although under the express direction of the testator. This fact however was not recited in the attestation clause. Mercado also affixed a cross on the will. 3. The lower court admitted the will to probate but this order was reversed by the Court of Appeals on the ground that the attestation failed to recite the facts surrounding the signing of the testator and the witnesses. Issue: Whether or not the attestation clause in the will is valid HELD: NO the attestation is fatally defective for its failure to state that Antero or the testator caused Atty. Javier to write the former's name under his express direction as required by Sec. 618 of the Civil Procedure. Finally, on the cross affixed on the will by the testator, the Court held that it is not prepared to liken the mere sign of a cross to a thumbmark for obvious reasons- the cross does not have the trustworthiness of a thumbmark so it is not considered as a valid signature.
ANDALIS VS. PULGUERAS 59 Phil 643

FACTS: 1. The alleged will of Victor Pulgueras was admitted to probate. 2. The testimony of only one to the attesting witnesses was taken.

3. The testimony was: a) that the 6 pages of the will were signed on the margin by the testator and two of the witnesses on January 4, 1931; b) the remaining three pages were signed by the testator and the three attesting witnesses on January 11, 1931, and that the third attesting witness then signed the first six pages. ISSUE: Was the will executed properly? HELD: Such an execution of the will was not in conformity with the law. Under our statute, the execution of a will is supposed to be one act and cannot be legally effective if the various participants sign on various days and in various combinations of those present. Reply With Quote Jul 20, 2002 09:53 AM #237 PUGSLEY

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SUCCESSION
BAGTAS VS. PAGUIO 22 Phil 227

FACTS: 1. Pioquinto Paguio died on September 28, 1909. 2. For some 14 or 15 years prior to the time of his death, he suffered from a paralysis of the left side of his body; that a few years prior to his death his hearing became impaired and that he lost the power of speech. 3. He retained the use of his right hand and was able to write fairly well. 4. Through the medium of signs he was able to indicate his wishes to his wife and to other members of

his family. 5. The testator wrote out on several pieces of paper the disposition of his property. 6. The same was in turn delivered to one Seor Marco who transcribed and put them in form. 7. The pieces of paper were then delivered to a lawyer who read them to the testator asking if they were his dispositions. 8. The testator assented each time with an affirmative movement of his head. 9. The widow of the decedent Juliana Bagtas then sought the probate of the purported last will and testament of Pioquinto. 10. The CFI of Bataan admitted the same for probate. 11. Isidoro Paguio, a son of the decedent by a former marriage, opposed the probation on the ground that the testator was not n full enjoyment and use of his mental faculties and was without mental capacity necessary to execute a valid will. ISSUE: Was the will was validly executed? HELD: The rule of law relating to the presumption of mental soundness is well-established, and the testator in the case at bar never having been adjudged insane by the court of competent jurisdiction , this presumption continues, and it is therefore incumbent upon the opponents to overcome this legal presumption by proper evidence. The opponents failed to do this. The courts have repeatedly held that mere weakness of mind and body , induced by age and disease does not render a person incapable of making a will. The law does not require that a person shall continue in the full enjoyment and use of his pristine physical and mental powers in order to execute a valid will. If such were the legal standard , few indeed would be the number of wills that could meet such exacting requirements. The authorities, both medical and legal, are universal in the statement that the question of mental capacity is one of degree, and that there are many gradations from the highest degree of mental soundness to the lowest conditions of diseased mentality which are denominated insanity or idiocy. Reply With Quote Jul 20, 2002 09:58 AM #238 PUGSLEY

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SUCCESSION
ACOP VS. PIRASO 52 Phil 660

FACTS: 1. The CFI of Benguet denied the probate of the last will and testament of the deceased Piraso because the will sought to be probated was written in English. 2. Evidence showed that Piraso knew how to speak the Ilocano dialect, although imperfectly, and could make himself understood in that dialect. 3. Proponent-appellant Sixto Acop alleged that the lower court erred in not holding that the testator did not know the Ilocano dialect well enough to understand a will drawn up in said dialect. ISSUE: Should the will be probated? HELD: The testator is presumed to know the dialect of the locality where he resides, unless there is proof to the contrary. In the instant case, not only is it not proven the English is the language of the City of Baguio where the deceased Piraso lived and where the will was drawn, but the record contains positive proof that said Piraso knew no other language than the Igorotte dialect, with a smattering of Ilocano; that is, he did not know the English language in which the will is written. Reply With Quote Jul 20, 2002 09:59 AM #239 PUGSLEY

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SUCCESSION
LEANO VS. LEANO 30 Phil 612

FACTS: 1. Cristina Valdes executed a will. 2. She then placed a cross against her name, attached by some other person, in the presence of the three witnesses whose name are attached to the attesting clause, and that they attested and subscribed the instrument in her presence and in the presence of each other. 3. Mariano Leao sought the probate of the will. 4. Arcadio Leao objected on the ground that the execution of the last will and testament was not in the manner and form prescribed by law. 5. The trial court denied the probate of the will. 6. Hence this appeal ISSUE: Was the will was executed in the manner and form prescribed by law? HELD: The placing of the cross opposite her name at the conclusion of the instrument was sufficient compliance with the requirements of the law, which prescribes that except where wills are signed by some other person than the testator in the manner and form therein indicated, a valid will must be signed by the testator. It is the right of a testator to sign his will by mark, executed anima testandi. Reply With Quote Jul 20, 2002 10:01 AM #240 PUGSLEY

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SUCCESSION
IN RE WILL OF TAN DIUCO 45 Phil 807

FACTS: 1. Mamerta Base instituted an action for the probate of the will of Chinaman Tan Duico. 2. The court denied the probate of the will on the ground that said will was not signed by three instrumental witnesses. 3. The document was signed by Simplicia Sala by order of the testator, whose name is before the said signature, by reason of the latters incapacity on account of his weakness and the trembling of his hand. 4. The testator also stated that he directed Simplicio Sala to sign it in his name and in the presence of three witnesses who also signed with him at the bottom of said document, and on the left margin of each of its three pages correlatively numbered in letter by Simplicio Sala in the name of the testator Tan Duico and by the three other witnesses. ISSUE: Was the will not signed by three instrumental witnesses? HELD: In dealing with attestation, the law does not say that the instrumental witnesses must be different from those who signed the attestation clause, for in the first part of said section, after speaking of the signature of the testator or the person signing in his place, it adds and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other, from which it clearly follows that the same witnesses who signed on the left margin of each page of the document presented by the testator to them as his will, must be the ones who should sign the attestation clause, inasmuch as they alone can certify the facts to be stated in said clause, for having taken a direct part therein, as they saw the testator sign the will, or the person requested by him to sign all the sheets of the will and affirm that it was signed under his express direction in the presence of said witnesses and that all the sheets thereof had also been signed by them in the presence of said testator and of each of them.

Testate Estate of Cagro v. Cagro Digest


Testate Estate of Cagro vs. Cagro G.R. L-5826 Facts: 1. The case is an appeal interposed by the oppositors from a decision of the CFI of Samar which admitted to probate a will allegedly executed by Vicente Cagro who died in Pambujan, Samar on Feb. 14, 1949.

2. The appellants insisted that the will is defective because the attestation was not signed by the witnesses at the bottom although the page containing the same was signed by the witnesses on the left hand margin. 3. Petitioner contended that the signatures of the 3 witnesses on the left hand margin conform substantially to law and may be deemed as their signatures to the attestation clause. Issue: Whether or not the will is valid HELD: Will is not valid. The attestation clause is a memorandum of the facts attending the execution of the will. It is required by law to be made by the attesting witnesses and it must necessarily bear their signatures. An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of the witnesses since the omission of their signatures at the bottom negatives their participation. Moreover, the signatures affixed on the let hand margin is not substantial conformance to the law. The said signatures were merely in conformance with the requirement that the will must be signed on the left-hand margin of all its pages. If the attestation clause is unsigned by the 3 witnesses at the bottom, it would be easier to add clauses to a will on a subsequent occasion and in the absence of the testator and any or all of the witnesses. The probate of the will is denied.

Javellana v. Ledesma Digest


Javellana vs. Ledesma G.R. No. L-7179

Facts: 1. The CFI of Iloilo admitted to probate a will and codicil executed by the deceased Apolinaria Ledesma in July 1953. This testament was deemed executed on May 1950 and May 1952. The contestant was the sister and nearest surviving relative of the deceased. She appealed from this decision alleging that the will were not executed in accordance with law.

2. The testament was executed at the house of the testatrix. One the other hand, the codicil was executed after the enactment of the New Civil Code (NCC), and therefore had to be acknowledged before a notary public. Now, the contestant, who happens to be one of the instrumental witnesses asserted that after the codicil was signed and attested at the San Pablo hospital, that Gimotea (the

notary) signed and sealed it on the same occasion. Gimotea, however, said that he did not do so, and that the act of signing and sealing was done afterwards.

2. One of the allegations was that the certificate of acknowledgement to the codicil was signed somewhere else or in the office of the notary. The ix and the witnesses at the hospital, was signed and sealed by the notary only when he brought it in his office.

Issue: Whether or not the signing and sealing of the will or codicil in the absence of the testator and witnesses affects the validity of the will

RULING: NO. Unlike in the Old Civil Code of 1899, the NCC does not require that the signing of the testator, the witnesses and the notary be accomplished in one single act. All that is required is that every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and witnesses. The subsequent signing and sealing is not part of the acknowledgement itself nor of the testamentary act. Their separate execution out of the presence of the testator and the witnesses cannot be a violation of the rule that testaments should be completed without interruption.

JOSE RIVERA, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ADELAIDO J.RIVERA, respondents February 15, 1990 FACTS: On May 30, 1975, a prominent and wealthy resident of that town named Venancio Rivera died. On July 28, 1975, Jose Rivera, claiming to be the only surviving legitimate son of the deceased, filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration over Venancios estate. Docketed as SP No. 1076, this petition was opposed by Adelaido J. Rivera. Who denied that Jose was the son of the decedent. Adelaido averred that Venancio was his father and did not die interstate but in fact left two holographic wills

ISSUE: Whether or not Jose Rivera was the legitimate son of the deceased Venancio Rivera. RULING: In case of doubt, all presumptions favor the solidarity of the family. Thus every intendment of the law or fact leans toward the validity of marriage the legitimacy of children. Even in the absence of any certificate of marriage or other documentary proof

of the existence of marriage, the law presumes a man and woman cohabiting with each other as being married, in the absence of proof to the contrary. Based on this unrefuted legal presumption, Jose Rivera is not the son of the deceased Venancio Rivera whose estate is in question. Hence, being a mere stranger, he had no personality to contest the wills and his opposition thereto did not have the legal effect of requiring the three witnesses. The testimony of Zenaida and Venancio Rivera, Jr. who authenticated the wills as having been written and signed by their father, was sufficient.

Rodelas v. Aranza Digest


Rodelas v. Aranza G.R. No. L-58509 December 7, 1982 Relova, J. (Ponente)

Facts: 1. The appellant filed a petition for the probate of the holographic will of Ricardo Bonilla in 1977. The petition was opposed by the appellees on the ground that the deceased did not leave any will, holographic or otherwise.

2. The lower court dismissed the petition for probate and held that since the original will was lost, a photostatic copy cannot stand in the place of the original.

Issue: Whether or not a holographic will can be proved by means of a photocopy

RULING: Yes. A photocopy of the lost or destroyed holographic will may be admitted because the authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased can be determined by the probate court with the standard writings of the testator.

Kalaw v. Relova Digest


Kalaw v. Relova G.R. No. L-40207 September 28, 1984 Melencio-Herrera, J. (Ponente)

Facts:

1. Gregorio Kalaw, the private respondent, claiming to be the sole heir of sister Natividad, filed a peition for probate of the latter's holographic will in 1968. The will contained 2 alterations: a) Rosa's name, designated as the sole heir was crossed out and instead "Rosario" was written above it. Such was not initialed, b) Rosa's name was crossed out as sole executrix and Gregorio's ma,e was written above it. This alteration was initialed by the testator.

2. Rosa contended that the will as first written should be given effect so that she would be the sole heir. The lower court denied the probate due to the unauthenticated alterations and additions.

Issue: Whether or not the will is valid

RULING: No, the will is voided or revoked since nothing remains in the will which could remain valid as there was only one disposition in it. Such was altered by the substitution of the original heir with another. To rule that the first will should be given effect is to disregard the testatrix' change of mind. However, this change of mind cannot be given effect either as she failed to authenticate it in accordance with Art. 814, or by affixing her full signature.

Cruz v. Villasor G.R. L-32213 November 26, 1973 Ponente: Esguerra, J.: Facts: 1. The CFI of Cebu allowed the probate of the last will and testament of the late Valenti Cruz. However, the petitioner opposed the allowance of the will alleging that it was executed through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and undue influence. He further alleged that the instrument was executed without the testator having been informed of its contents and finally, that it was not executed in accordance with law. 2. One of the witnesses, Angel Tevel Jr. was also the notary before whom the will was acknowledged. Despite the objection, the lower court admitted the will to probate on the ground that there is substantial compliance with the legal requirements of having at least 3 witnesses even if the notary public was one of them. Issue: Whether or not the will is valid in accordance with Art. 805 and 806 of the NCC

HELD: NO. The will is not valid. The notary public cannot be considered as the third instrumental witness since he cannot acknowledge before himself his having signed the said will. An acknowledging officer cannot serve as witness at the same time. To acknowledge before means to avow, or to own as genuine, to assent, admit, and 'before' means in front of or preceding in space or ahead of. The notary cannot split his personality into two so that one will appear before the other to acknowledge his participation int he making of the will. To permit such situation would be absurd. Finally, the function of a notary among others is to guard against any illegal or immoral arrangements, a function defeated if he were to be one of the attesting or instrumental witnesses. He would be interested in sustaining the validity of the will as it directly involves himself and the validity of his own act. he would be in an inconsistent position, thwarting the very purpose of the acknowledgment, which is to minimize fraud.

Gonzales v. Court of Appeals (CA) Digest


Gonzales v. CA G.R. No. Guerrero, J. (Ponente) L-37453 May 25, 1979

Facts: 1. Petitioner Rizalina Gonzales and Lutgarda Santiago (Private respondent) are the nieces of the deceased Isabel Gabriel who died a widow. A will was thereafter submitted to probate. The said will was typewritten, in Tagalog and appeared to have been executed in April 1961 or two months prior to the death of Isabel. It consisted of 5 pages including the attestation and acknowledgment, with the signature of testatrix on page 4 and the left margin of all the pages.

2. Lutgarda was named as the universal heir and executor. The petitioner opposed the probate.

3. The lower court denied the probate on the ground that the will was not executed and attested in accordance with law on the issue of the competency and credibility of the witnesses.

Issue: Whether or not the credibility of the subscribing witnesses is material to the validity of a will

RULING: No. The law requires only that witnesses posses the qualifications under Art. 820 (NCC) and none of the disqualifications of Art. 802. There is no requirement that they are of good standing or reputation in the community, for trustworthiness, honesty and uprightness in order that his testimony is believed and accepted in court. For the testimony to be credible, it is not mandatory that evidence be established on record that the witnesses have good standing in the the community. Competency is distinguished from credibility, the former being determined by Art. 820 while the latter does not require evidence of such good standing. Credibility depends on the convincing weight of his testimony in court.

Dela Cerna v. Potot Digest


Dela Cerna v. Potot Digest

Facts: 1. The spouses Bernabe Dela Serna and Gerasisa Rebabca executed a joint will where they gave two (2) parcels of land to manuela Rebaca, a niece, as they didn't have their own child. When Bernabe died, the said will was probated in 1939.

2. Another petition for probate of the same will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed in 1952 but due to the failure of the petitioner (Manuela) to appears, the same was dismissed in 1954.

3. The CFI held the petition (Bernabe probate) to be null and void as it is contrary to law. While the Court of Appeals reversed and held that the decree of probate in 1939 was issued by a court of probate jurisdiction and conclusive as to the due execution of the will. Hence this appeal.

Issue: Whether or not the will is valid

RULING: The Supreme Court affirmed the CA decision and held that Once a decree of probate becomes final in accordance with the rules of procedure, it is res judicata. THe final decree of probate entered in 1939 in the CFI of Cebu is conclusive as to the last will of Bernabe despite the fact that even then the Civil Code already decreed the invalidity of joint wills. (There was an error on the court but the decree has now become final.)

The probate court committed an error of law which should have been corrected on appeals but which did not affect the jurisdiction of the probate court, nor the conclusive effect of its final decision. A decision which is binding upon the whole world.

Nevertheless, the probate in 1939 only affected the share of Bernabe and could not include the disposition of the share of his wife which was still alive then, her properties were still not within the jurisdiction of the court. Hence, the validity of the will with respect to her, must be on her death, be reexamined and adjudicated de novo -- since a joint will is considered a separate will of each testator.

ADDITIONAL 24 CASES WILLS!!!


SICAD V. CA
294 SCRA 183

FACTS:
Aurora executed a deed entitled donation inter vivos in favor of her grandchildren. There was reservation of right of disposition in her favor and the property may not be disposed of after 10 years from her death. Thereafter, the title were registered in the donees name yet the owners duplicate is with Aurora. Thereafter, the grandchildren sold the land to Sicad and Aurora sought to reinstate TCT in her name.

HELD:
If there is reservation of disposition with donor, then the donation is of mortis causa and not inter vivos. A document is what the law defines it to be and not what the parties call it.

NOCEDA V. CA
313 SCRA 504

FACTS:
Directo together with her nephew and another, extrajudicially partitioned the land donated to them. On the same date, she donated in favor of Noceda a part of her land. On her share of the

land, she fenced it and constructed three huts therein. On a later date, Noceda removed the fence, entered the premises and used the three lots. Despite demands for him to vacate, he refused to do so, prompting Directo to file a case against him and revoke the donation made by her.

HELD:
The acts of Noceda are acts of usurpation which is an offense against the property of Directo and considered an act of ingratitude of a donee against a donor. The law doesnt require conviction of the donee, it is enough that his offense is proved in the action for revocation. NOCEDA vs CA [G.R. No. 119730. September 2, 1999] FACTS: Plaintiff Aurora Directo, defendant Rodolfo Noceda, and Maria Arbizo, the daughter, grandson, and widow, respectively, of the late Celestino Arbizo extrajudicially settled a parcel of land located at Bitaog, San Isidro, Cabangan, Zambales, which was said to have an area of 66,530 square meters. Plaintiff Directos share was 11,426 square meters, defendant Noceda got 13,294 square meters, and the remaining 41,810 square meters went to Maria Arbizo. Plaintiff Directo donated 625 square meters of her share to defendant Noceda, who is her nephew being the son of her deceased sister, Carolina. However, another extrajudicial settlement-partition of Lot 1121 was executed by plaintiff Directo, defendant Noceda, and Maria Arbizo. Three fifths of the said land went to Maria Arbizo while plaintiff Directo and defendant Noceda got only onefifth each. In said extrajudicial settlement-partition as well as in the Tax Declaration 16-0032 over Lot 1121 in the name of the late Celestino Arbizo, the said parcel of land was said to have an area of only 29,845 square meters. Sometime in 1981, defendant Noceda constructed his house on the land donated to him by plaintiff Directo. Plaintiff Directo fenced the portion allotted to her in the extrajudicial settlement, excluding the donated portion, and constructed thereon three huts. But in 1985, defendant Noceda removed the fence earlier constructed by plaintiff Directo, occupied the three huts (3) and fenced the entire land of plaintiff Directo without her consent. Plaintiff Directo demanded from defendant Noceda to vacate her land, but the latter refused. Hence, plaintiff Directo filed the present suit, a complaint for the recovery of possession and ownership and rescission/annulment of donation, against defendant Noceda before the lower court. Trial court ruled in favor of plaintiff Directo ordering the revocation of the donation. ISSUE: W/N petitioner Nocedas acts of usurpation constitute an act of ingratitude sufficient to grant the revocation of the donation? HELD: YES. It was established that petitioner Noceda occupied not only the portion donated to him by private respondent Aurora Arbizo-Directo but he also fenced the whole area of Lot C which belongs to private respondent Directo, thus petitioners act of occupying the portion

pertaining to private respondent Directo without the latters knowledge and consent is an act of usurpation which is an offense against the property of the donor and considered as an act of ingratitude of a donee against the donor.[31] The law does not require conviction of the donee; it is enough that the offense be proved in the action for revocation.

Blas et al vs Santos et al
On July 2, 2012

1 SCRA 899 Succession Promise Sometime before 1898, Simeon Blas married Marta Cruz with whom he had three children. He also had grandchildren from his children with Marta Cruz. In 1898, Marta Cruz died. In 1899, Blas married Maxima Santos (they had no children) but the properties he and his former wife acquired during the first marriage were not liquidated. In 1936, Simeon Blas executed a will disposing half of his properties in favor of Maxima the other half for payment of debts, Blas also named a few devisees and legatees therein. In lieu of this, Maxima executed a document whereby she intimated that she understands the will of her husband; that she promises that shell be giving, upon her death, one-half of the properties shell be acquiring to the heirs and legatees named in the will of his husband; that she can select or choose any of them depending upon the respect, service, and treatment accorded to her by said legatees/heirs/devisees. In 1937, Simeon Blas died. In 1956, Maxima died and Rosalina Santos became administratrix of her estate. In the same year, Maria Gervacio Blas, child of Simeon Blas in his first marriage, together with three other grandchildren of Simeon Blas (heirs of Simeon Blas), learned that Maxima did not fulfill her promise as it was learned that Maxima only disposed not even onetenth of the properties she acquired from Simeon Blas. The heirs are now contending that they did not partition Simeon Blas property precisely because Maxima promised that theyll be receiving properties upon her death. ISSUE: Whether or not the heirs should receive properties based on the promise of Maxima. HELD: Yes. The promise is valid and enforceable upon her death. Though it is not a will (it lacks the formality) nor a donation, it is still enforceable because said promise was actually executed to avoid litigation (partition of Simeon Blas estate) hence it is a compromise. It is not disputed that this document was prepared at the instance of Simeon Blas for the reason that the conjugal properties of his first marriage had not been liquidated. It is an obligation or promise made by the maker to transmit one-half of her share in the conjugal properties acquired

with her husband, which properties are stated or declared to be conjugal properties in the will of the husband.

SUCCESSION SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE


In Dy Yieng Seangio, et al. v. Hon. Amor Reyes, et al., G.R. No. 140371-72, November 27, 2006, there was a petition for the probate of an alleged holographic will which was denominated as Kasulatan sa pag-aalis ng mana. The private respondents moved for the dismissal of the probate proceedings primarily on the ground that the document purporting to be the holographic will of Segundo did not contain any disposition of the estate of the deceased and thus did not meet the definition of a will under Article 783 of the Civil Code. According to private respondents, the will only showed an alleged act of disinheritance by the decedent of his eldest son, Alfredo, and nothing else; that all other compulsory heirs were not named nor instituted as heir, devisee or legatee, hence there was preterition which would result to intestacy. Such being the case, private respondents maintained that while procedurally the court is called upon to rule only on the extrinsic validity of the will, it is not barred from delving into the intrinsic validity of the same, and ordering the dismissal of the petition for probate when on the face of the will it is clear that it contains no testamentary disposition of the property of the decedent. Petitioners filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss contending that: (1) generally, the authority of the probate court is limited only to a determination of the extrinsic validity of the will; (2) private respondents question the intrinsic and not the extrinsic validity of the will; (3) disinheritance constitutes a disposition of the estate of a decedent; and (4) the rule on preterition did not apply because Segundos will did not constitute a universal heir or heirs to the exclusion of one or more compulsory heirs. The RTC issued an order dismissing the petition for probate proceedings, hence, a petition for certiorari was filed where petitioners argued as follows: First, respondent judge did not comply with Sections 3 and 4 of the Rule 76 of the Rules of Court which respectively mandate the court to: (a) fix the time and place for proving the will when all concerned may appear to contest the allowance thereof, and cause notice of such time and place to be published three weeks successively previous to the appointed time in a newspaper of general circulation; and (b) cause the mailing of said notice to the heirs, legatee and devisees of the testator Segundo; Second, the holographic will does not contain any institution of an heir, but rather, as its title clearly states, Kasulatan ng Pag-alis ng Mana, simply contains a disinheritance of a compulsory heir. Thus, there is no preterition in the decedents will and the holographic will on its face is not intrinsically void; Third, the testator intended all his compulsory heirs, petitioners and private respondents alike, with the sole exception of Alfredo, to inherit his estate. None of the compulsory heirs in the

direct line of Segundo were preterited in the holographic will since there was no institution of an heir; Fourth, as it clearly appears from the face of the holographic will that it is both intrinsically and extrinsically valid, respondent judge was mandated to proceed with the hearing of the testate case; and, Lastly, the continuation of the proceedings in the intestate case will work injustice to petitioners, and will render nugatory the disinheritance of Alfredo. Now, the critical issue to be determined is whether the document executed by Segundo can be considered as a holographic will. Held: A holographic will, as provided under Article 810 of the Civil Code, must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed. The document, although it may initially come across as a mere disinheritance instrument, conforms to the formalities of a holographic will prescribed by law. It is written, dated and signed by the hand of the testator himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa (Article 783) can be clearly deduced from the terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative disposition of the latters property, the disinheritance of the son nonetheless, is an act of disposition in itself. In other words, the disinheritance results in the disposition of the property of the testator in favor of those who would succeed in the absence of the eldest son. Moreover, it is a fundamental principle that the intent or the will of the testator, expressed in the form and within the limits prescribed by law, must be recognized as the supreme law in succession. All rules of construction are designed to ascertain and give effect to that intention. It is only when the intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public policy that it cannot be given effect. Holographic wills, therefore, being usually prepared by one who is not learned in the law should be construed more liberally than the ones drawn by an expert, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the execution of the instrument and the intention of the testator. In this regard, the document, even if captioned as Kasulatan ng Pag-alis ng Mana, was intended by the testator to be his last testamentary act and was executed by him in accordance with law in the form of a holographic will. Unless the will is probated, the disinheritance cannot be given effect.

Gago vs. Mamuyac G.R. No. L-26317 January 29, 1927 Johnson, J. (Ponente) Facts:

1. Previously, Francisco Gago filed a petition for the probate of a will of Miguel Mamuyac executed on July 27, 1918. The oppositors alleged that the said will was already annulled and revoked. It appeared that on April 16, 1919, the deceased executed another will. The lower court denied the probate of the first will on the ground of the existence of the second will. 2. Another petition was filed to seek the probate of the second will. The oppositors alleged that the second will presented was merely a copy. According to the witnesses, the said will was allegedly revoked as per the testimony of Jose Tenoy, one of the witnesses who typed the document. Another witness testified that on December 1920 the original will was actually cancelled by the testator. 3. The lower court denied the probate and held that the same has been annulled and revoked. Issue: Whether or not there was a valid revocation of the will RULING: Yes. The will was already cancelled in 1920. This was inferred when after due search, the original will cannot be found. When the will which cannot be found in shown to be in the possession of the testator when last seen, the presumption is that in the absence of other competent evidence, the same was deemed cancelled or destroyed. The same presumption applies when it is shown that the testator has ready access to the will and it can no longer be found after his death.