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Partition of Estate- Effects of Partition By JSY JUANITA LOPEZ GUILAS vs.

JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF PAMPANGA AND ALEJANDRO LOPEZ Facts : Jacinta Limson de Lopez was married to Alejandro Lopez y Siongco. They had no children. llOn April 28, 1936, Jacinta executed a will instituting her husband Alejandro as her sole heir and executor. On October 26, 1953, herein petitioner Juanita Lopez, then single and now married to Federico Guilas, was declared legally adopted daughter and legal heir of the spouses Jacinta and Alejandro. After adopting legally herein petitioner Juanita Lopez, the testatrix Doa Jacinta did not execute another will or codicil so as to include Juanita Lopez as one of her heirs. In an order dated March 5, 1959 in Testate Proceedings No. 1426, the will was admitted to probate and the surviving husband, Alejandro Lopez y Siongco, was appointed executor without bond by the Court of First Instance of Pampanga. Neverthless, both Alejandro and Juanita executed a project partition, approved by the lower court on April 23, 1960 and directed that the records of the case be sent to the archives, upon payment of the estate and inheritance taxes On April 10, 1964, herein petitioner Juanita Lopez-Guilas filed a separate ordinary action to set aside and annul the project of partition, on the ground of lesion, perpetration and fraud, and pray further that Alejandro Lopez be ordered to submit a statement of accounts of all the crops and to deliver immediately to Juanita the lots allocated to her. Meanwhile, in the Testate Proceedings, Juanita filed a petition dated July 20, 1964 praying that Alejandro Lopez be directed to deliver to her the actual possession of said lots and its produce. Alejandro opposed the separate petition alleging the testate proceedings had already been closed and terminated; and that he ceased as a consequence to be the executor of the estate of the deceased; and that Juanita Lopez is guilty of laches and negligence in filing the petition of the delivery of her share 4 years after such closure of the estate. The parties have agreed to suspend action or resolution upon the said petition for the delivery of shares until; after the civil action aforementioned has been finally settled and decided. TC denied Juanita's petition on the ground that the parties themselves agreed to suspend resolution of her petition for the delivery of her shares until after the civil action for annulment of the project of partition has been finally settled and decided. Hence this petition for certiorari and mandamus. Issue : WON the project partition approved by the TC ordering it closed and terminated terminated the Probate proceeding. Ruling : No. The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same. The finality of the approval of the project of partition by itself alone does not terminate the probate proceeding. As long as the order of the distribution of the estate has not been complied with, the probate proceedings cannot be deemed closed and terminated Siguiong vs. Tecson, ); because a judicial partition is not final and conclusive and does not prevent the heir from bringing an action to obtain his share, provided the prescriptive period has not elapsed. The better practice, for the heir who has not received his share, is to demand his share through a proper motion in the same probate or administration proceedings, or for re-opening of the probate or administrative proceedings if it had already been closed, and not through an independent action, which would be tried by another court or Judge which may thus reverse a decision or order of the probate on intestate court already final and executed and re-shuffle properties long ago distributed and disposed of. Sec. 1 of Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964 as, which secures for the heirs or legatees the right to "demand and recover their respective shares from the executor or administrator, or any other person having the same in his possession", re-states the doctrines. In the case at bar, the motion filed by petitioner for the delivery of her share was filed on July 20, 1964, which is just more than 3 years from August 28, 1961 when the amended project of partition was approve and within 5 years from April 23, 1960 when the original project of partition was approved. Clearly, her right to claim the two lots allocated to her under the project of partition had not yet expired. The position of Juanita should be sustained and the writs prayed for granted.