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Article 783

Johnny Rabadilla vs Court of Appeals

334 SCRA 522 Civil Law Succession Transmissible Obligations
A certain Aleja Belleza died but he instituted in his will Dr. Jorge Rabadilla as a
devisee to a 511, 855 hectare land. A condition was however imposed to the effect
1. the naked ownership shall transfer to Dr. Rabadilla;
2. he shall deliver the fruits of said land to Maria Belleza, sister of Aleja, during the
lifetime of said Maria Belleza;
3. that in case Dr. Rabadilla shall die before Maria Belleza, the near descendants,
shall continue delivering the fruits to Maria Belleza;
4. that the said land may only be encumbered, mortgaged, or sold only to a relative
of Belleza.
In 1983, Dr. Rabadilla died. He was survived by Johnny Rabadilla.
In 1989, Maria Belleza sued Johnny Rabadilla in order to compel Johnny to reconvey
the said land to the estate of Aleja Belleza because it is alleged that Johnny failed to
comply with the terms of the will; that since 1985, Johnny failed to deliver the fruits;
and that the the land was mortgaged to the Philippine National Bank, which is a
violation of the will.
In his defense, Johnny avers that the term near descendants in the will of Aleja
pertains to the near descendants of Aleja and not to the near descendants of Dr.
Rabadilla, hence, since Aleja had no near descendants at the time of his death, no
can substitute Dr. Rabadilla on the obligation to deliver the fruits of the devised
ISSUE: Whether or not Johnny Rabadilla is not obliged to comply with the terms of
the Will left by Aleja Belleza.
HELD: No. The contention of Johnny Rabadilla is bereft of merit. The near
descendants being referred to in the will are the heirs of Dr. Rabadilla. Ownership
over the devised property was already transferred to Dr. Rabadilla when Aleja died.
Hence, when Dr. Rabadilla himself died, ownership over the same property was
transmitted to Johnny Rabadilla by virtue of succession.
Under Article 776 of the Civil Code, inheritance includes all the property, rights and
obligations of a person, not extinguished by his death. Conformably, whatever rights
Dr. Rabadilla had by virtue of the Will were transmitted to his forced heirs, at the

time of his death. And since obligations not extinguished by death also form part of
the estate of the decedent; corollarily, the obligations imposed by the Will on the
deceased Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, were likewise transmitted to his compulsory heirs
upon his death. It is clear therefore, that Johnny should have continued complying
with the terms of the Will. His failure to do so shall give rise to an obligation for him
to reconvey the property to the estate of Aleja.
Testate estate of CARLOS GIL, deceased. ISABEL HERRERO VDA. DE GIL,
PILAR GIL VDA. DE MURCIANO, oppositor-appellant.
Carlos Gil executed a last will and testament. After his death, it was
presented for probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila. This was opposed by
his nephew, Roberto Toledo y Gil and sister, Pilar Vda. de Murciano. Toledo was
eliminated from the case since he has no legal right to intervene.
The will was initially destroy and was reconstituted. The parties all agree that
the reconstituted will is a copy of the original will. In the said will, the attestation
clause does not state that the testator signed the will. It only declares that it was
signed by the witnesses. Despite this defect, the Court of First Instance admitted to
probate the will. Pilar opposed such probate and appealed the decision of CFI to the
Supreme Court. The latter, reversed the decision of the CFI. Not contended with
the decision, Isabel Herreros Vda. de Gil, the administratrix, filed a motion for
reconsideration to the Supreme Court.
Isabel Herreros Vda. de Gil, the administratrix, contends that defective
attestation clause may be cured by inferring in the other parts of the will and
inserting a missing phrase to complete the whole meaning of the attestation clause.
She also claims that the court may correct clerical errors in a will as evidence by the
earlier decisions of the Supreme Court.
Pilar, on the other hand, contends that the will should not be probated since
the will did not comply with the requirement of Section 618 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, as amended, which provides that "The attestation clause shall state the
number of sheets or pages used, upon which the will is written, and the fact that the
testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to
write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and
the latter witnessed and signed the will and all pages thereof in the presence of the
testator and of each other." Secondly, the earlier decision of the Supreme Court in
this case stated that the defect in the attestation clause is a fatal and not just a

mere clerical error for it affects the very essence of the clause. Thus, the defect
cannot be cured by inference to the will itself
Whether or not the will is valid despite its defective attestation clause?
The will is valid. It seems obvious that the missing phrase was left out from
the copy. The problem posed by the omission in question is governed, not by the
law of wills which require certain formalities to be fulfilled in the execution but by
the rules of construction applicable to statutes and documents in general. The
court may and should correct the error by supplying the omitted word or words.
It has been said, and experience has shown, that the mechanical system of
construction has operated more to defeat honest wills than prevent fraudulent ones.
That would be the effect in this case if the will under consideration were rejected for
the adverse party now concedes the genuineness of the document.
genuineness is super obvious, and there is not the slightest insinuation of undue
pressure, mental incapacity of the testator or fraud.
Coming to the execution of wills, the Supreme Court saw no legitimate,
practical reason for objecting to the testator instead of the witnesses certifying that
he signed the will in the presence of the latter. The will is of the testators own
making, the intervention of attesting witnesses being designed merely to protect his
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.

93 PHIL 142





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
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.
Vitug v. Court of Appeals
1. The case is a chapter in an earlier suit involving the issue on two (2) wills of the
late Dolores Vitug who died in New York, USA in Nov 1980. She named therein
private respondent Rowena Corona (Executrix) while Nenita Alonte was co-special
administrator together with petitioner Romarico pending probate.
2. In January 1985, Romarico filed a motion asking for authorization of the probate
court to sell shares of stocks and real property of the estate as reimbursements for
advances he made to the estate. The said amount was spent for payment of estate
tax from a savings account in the Bank of America.
3. Rowena Corona opposed the motion to sell contending that from the said account
are conjugal funds, hence part of the estate. Vitug insisted saying that the said
funds are his exclusive property acquired by virtue of a survivorship agreement

executed with his late wife and the bank previously. In the said agreement, they
agreed that in the event of death of either, the funds will become the sole property
of the survivor.
4. The lower court upheld the validity of the survivorship agreement and granted
Romarico's motion to sell. The Court of Appeals however held that said agreement
constituted a conveyance mortis causa which did not comply with the formalities of
a valid will. Further, assuming that it is donation inter vivos, it is a prohibited
donation. Vitug petitioned to the Court contending that the said agreement is an
aleatory contract.
Issue: Whether or not the conveyance is one of mortis causa hence should
conform to the form required of wills
NO. The survivorship agreement is a contract which imposed a mere obligation with
a term--being death. Such contracts are permitted under Article 2012 on aleatory
contracts. When Dolores predeceased her husbandm the latter acquired upon her
death a vested right over the funds in the account. The conveyance is therefore
not mortis causa.

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
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

3 PHIL 426





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
Article 788
MARINA DIZON-RIVERA, executrix-appellee,


ANGELINA DIZON and LILIA DIZON, oppositors-appellants.
33 SCRA 554 (1970)

The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression
some effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative. Of
the two projects of partition submitted by the contending parties, that project which
will give the greatest effect to the testamentary disposition should be adopted. Thus,
where the testatrix enumerated the specific properties to be given to each compulsory
heir and the testatrix repeatedly used the words "I bequeath" was interpreted to mean
a partition of the estate by an act mortis causa, rather than as an attempt on her part
to give such properties as devises to the designated beneficiaries. Accordingly, the
specific properties assigned to each compulsory heir were deemed to be in full or
partial payment of legitime, rather than a distribution in the nature of devises.

The tenor of the decision notwithstanding, it is important to note the provision of

Article 886 which reads: "Legitime is that part of the testator's property which he
cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for certain heirs who are, therefore,
called compulsory heirs." Article 886 is couched upon a negative prohibition "cannot
dispose of". In the will under consideration, the testatrix disposed of practically her
entire estate by designating a beneficiary for each property. Necessarily, the
testamentary dispositions included that portion of the estate called "legitime." It is
thus imperative to reconcile the tenor of Article 1080 (which is the basis of the
following decision) with Article 886.

FACTS: In 1961, Agripina Valdez (widow) died and was survived by seven compulsory
heirs: 6 legitimate children and 1 legitimate granddaughter. Marina is the appellee
while the others were the appellants
1. Valdez left a w ill executed in February 1960 and written in Pampango. The
beneficiaries were the 7 compulsory heirs and six grandchildren
2. In her will, Valdez distributed and disposed of her properties (assessed at P1.8
million) which included real and personal properties and shares of stocks at
Pampanga Sugar Central Devt Co
3. During the probate proceedings, Marina (appellee) was name the executor of
the deceaseds estate
4. In her will, Valdez commanded that her property be divided in accordance with
her testamentary disposition where she devised and bequeathed specific real
properties comprising almost her entire estate among her heirs. Based on the
partition, Marina and Tomas were to receive more than the other heirs
5. Subsequently, Marina filed her project of partition adjudicating the estate as
a. the legitime computed for each compulsory heir was P129,254.96, which
was comprised of cash and/or properties specifically given to them based on

the will
b. Marina and Tomas were adjudicated the properties that they received in the
will less the cash/properties to complete their respective legitime
6. The other heirs opposed the partition and proposed a counter-partition on the
estate where Marina and Tomas were to receive considerably less
7. The lower court approved the executors project of partition citing that Art 906
and 907 NCC specifically provide that when the legitime is impaired or
prejudiced, the same shall be completed. The court cited that if the proposition
of the oppositors was upheld, it will substantially result in a distribution of
intestacy which is a violation of Art 791 NCC
ISSUE: WON the last will of the deceased is to be considered controlling in this case

HELD: Yes. Art 788 and 791 NCC provide that "If a testamentary disposition admits
of different interpretations, in case of doubt, that interpretation by which the
disposition is to be operative shall be preferred" and "The words of a will are to receive
an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect, rather than one
which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting
a will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy." In Villanueva v. Juico, the SC
held that "the intentions and wishes of the testator, when clearly expressed
in his will, constitute the fixed law of interpretation, and all questions raised
at the trial, relative to its execution and fulfillment, must be settled in
accordance therewith, following the plain and literal meaning of the
testator's words, unless it clearly appears that his intention was otherwise."

The testator's wishes and intention constitute the first and principal law in the matter
of testaments, and to paraphrase an early decision of the Supreme Court of Spain,
when expressed clearly and precisely in his last will, amount to the only law whose
mandate must imperatively be faithfully obeyed and complied with by his executors,
heirs and devisees and legatees, and neither these interested parties nor the courts
may substitute their own criterion for the testator's will. Thus, the oppositors
proposition for partition cannot be given effect.

ON PARTITION: The testamentary disposition of the decedent was in the nature of a

partition. In her will, the decedent noted that after commanding that upon her death
all her obligations as well as the expenses of her last illness and funeral and the
expenses for the probate of her last will and for the administration of her property in
accordance with law, be paid, she expressly provided that "it is my wish and I
command that my property be divided" in accordance with the dispositions
immediately thereafter following, whereby she specified each real property in her
estate and designated the particular heir among her seven compulsory heirs and
seven other grandchildren to whom she bequeathed the same. This was a valid
partition of her estate, as contemplated and authorized in the first paragraph of Art
1080 NCC, providing that "Should a person make a partition of his estate by an act

inter vivos or by will, such partition shall be respected, insofar as it does not prejudice
the legitime of the compulsory heirs."

CAB: This was properly complied with in the executors project of partition as the
oppositors were adjudicated the properties respectively distributed and assigned to
them by the decedent in her will and the differential to complete their legitimes were
taken from the cash and/or properties of Marina and Tomas, who were obviously
favored by the decedent in her will.

Aside from the provisions of Art 906 and 907, other codal provisions support the
executrix-appellee's project of partition as approved by the lower court rather than the
counter-project of partition proposed by oppositors-appellants whereby they would
reduce the testamentary disposition or partition made by the testatrix to one-half and
limit the same, which they would consider as mere devises and legacies, to one-half of
the estate as the disposable free portion, and apply the other half of the estate to
payment of the legitimes of the seven compulsory heirs. Oppositors' proposal would
amount substantially to a distribution by intestacy and pro tanto nullify the testatrix's
will, contrary to Art 791 NCC.

EFFECT OF PARTITION: 'A partition legally made confers upon each heir the exclusive
ownership of the property adjudicated to him", from the death of her ancestors,
subject to rights and obligations of the latter, and, she cannot be deprived of her
rights thereto except by the methods provided for by law

DEVISES: The adjudication and assignments in the testatrix's will of specific properties
to specific heirs cannot be considered all devises, for it clearly appears from the whole
context of the will and the dispositions by the testatrix of her whole estate (save for
some small properties of little value already noted at the beginning of this opinion)
that her clear intention was to partition her whole estate through her will.
Furthermore, the testatrix's intent that her testamentary dispositions were by way of
adjudications to the beneficiaries as heirs and not as mere devisees, and that said
dispositions were therefore on account of the respective legitimes of the compulsory
heirs is expressly borne out in the fourth paragraph of her will, immediately following
her testamentary adjudications in the third paragraph in this wise: "FOURTH: I likewise
command that in case any of those I named as my heirs in this testament any of them
shall die before I do, his forced heirs under the law enforced at the time of my death
shall inherit the properties I bequeath to said deceased."

COLLATION: Collation is not applicable in this case because here, distribution and
partition of the entire estate was made by the testatrix, without her having made any
previous donations during her lifetime which would require collation to determine the

legitime of each heir nor having left merely some properties by will which would call
for the application of Art 1061 to 1063 of the Civil Code on collation.

merely to demand completion of their legitime under Article 906 of the Civil Code and
this has been complied with in the approved project of partition, and they can no
longer demand a further share from the remaining portion of the estate, as
bequeathed and partitioned by the testatrix principally to the executrix-appellee.
4 SCRA 550
Don Nicolas Villaflor executed a will in Spanish in his own handwriting,
devising and bequeathing in favor of his wife, Dona Faustina of all his real and
personal properties giving the other half to his brother Don Fausto.
Petitioner filed an action against the administrator contending that upon the
widows death, she became vested with the ownership of the properties bequeathed
under clause 7 pursuant to its 8th clause of the will.
WON the petitioner is entitled to the ownership of the properties upon the
death of Dona Faustina.
The intention of the testator here was to merely give usufructuary right to
his wife Doa Fausta because in his will he provided that Doa Fausta shall forfeit
the properties if she fails to bear a child and because she died without having
begotten any children with the deceased then it means that Doa Fausta never
acquired ownership over the property. Upon her death, because she never acquired
ownership over the property, the said properties are not included in her estate.
Those properties actually belong to Villaflor. That was the intention of the
testator. Otherwise, if the testator wanted to give the properties to Doa
Fausta then he should have specifically stated in his will that ownership
should belong to Doa Fausta without mentioning any condition.


64 SCRA 452
Leodegaria Julian died. She was survived by her husband, Felix Balanay, Sr., and six
legitimate children.

Felix Balanay, Jr. filed a petition for the probate of his mothers notarial
will, which was written in English. In thatwill, Leodegaria declared that it was her
desire her properties should not be divided among her heirs during her husband's
lifetime and that their legitimes should be satisfied out of the fruits of her
properties. She devised andpartitioned the conjugal lands as if they were all owned
by her. She disposed of in the will her husband's one-half share of the conjugal

Felix Balanay, Sr. and Avelina B. Antonio opposed the probate of the will.There
after, Felix Balanay, Sr. signed an instrument waiving and renouncing his right in
Leodegarias estate in favor
of their 6 children.
Whether or not the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of the
will, before ruling on itsallowance or formal validity, and in declaring it void.

The trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity
even before its formalvalidity had been established. The probate of a will
might become an idle ceremony if on its face it appears tobe intrinsically
.But the probate court erred in declaring that the will was void and in converting the
testate proceeding into anintestate proceeding.The will is intrinsically valid and the
partition therein may be given effect if it does not prejudice the creditors andimpair
the legitimes. The distribution and partition would become effective upon the
death of Felix Balanay, Sr. In themeantime, the net income should be equitably
divided among the children and the surviving spouse

G.R. No. L-45761 April 28, 1939

JULIA DEL ROSARIO, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. ANTONIO DEL
ROSARIO, ET AL., Defendants-Appellees.
M. H. de Joya and Fidel J. Silva for appellees.
AVANCEA, C. J.: chanrobles virtual law library
The complaint alleges: That Ramon del Rosario and Florencia Arcega were husband
and wife, the former having died in 1895 and the latter in 1933; that the plaintiffs
and the defendants are the heirs of both; that Ramon del Rosario died without a will,
leaving properties of the conjugal partnership valued at P19,000; that after the
death of Ramon del Rosario, his widow Florencia Arcega administered these
properties and with the products thereof acquired others, which are those described
in paragraph 9 of the complaint. It is, moreover, inferred from the complaint that
after the death of Ramon del Rosario, his intestate was not commenced and the
conjugal properties were not liquidated until Florencia Arcega died, after which the
progress.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The plaintiffs bring this action to recover their share not only in the conjugal
properties left by Ramon del Rosario but also in those acquired by Florencia Arcega
with the products of said properties.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library
A demurrer was interposed to the complaint on the ground that there is another
action pending between the same parties and for the same cause of action; that
there is a defect or party plaintiffs and party defendants, and that the complaint
action.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The court sustained this demurrer and dismissed the case. From this resolution an
appeal was taken.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Both in the Court of First Instance as well as in this court, the parties discuss
whether Act No. 3176, or the former law, is applicable to the case. Act No. 3176 only
amends the former law in the sense that upon the death of any of the spouses the
community property shall be liquidated in the testamentary or intestate
proceedings of the deceased spouse. But whatever law might be applicable, and
even assuming that it was that prior to Act No. 3176, the intestate of Ramon del
Rosario not having been commenced upon his death in 1895 until his widow
Florencia Arcega also died in 1933, and the testamentary proceedings of Florencia
Arcega having been subsequently initiated, wherein, among other things, the
liquidation of her conjugal properties with the deceased Ramon del Rosario should
be made, the pendency of these testamentary proceedings of the deceased wife
excludes any other proceeding aimed at the same purpose (Zaide vs. Concepcion
and Quintana, 32 Phil., 403). At the rate, the plaintiffs have a right to intervene in
these proceedings as parties interested in the liquidation and partition of the
conjugal properties of the deceased spouses Ramon del Rosario and Florencia
Arcega among their heirs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The appealed judgment is affirmed, with the costs to the appellant. So ordered.
Article 789


Father Rigor, the parish priest of Pulilan, Bulacan, left a will executed and was
probated by the Court of First Instance of Tarlac in its order of December 5, 1935.
Named as devisees in the will were the testators nearest relatives, his three sisters.
In addition, the will provided that it be adjudicated in favor of the legacy purported
to be given to the nearest male relative who shall take the priesthood.

Whether or not the bequest in question be declared inoperative.
In the law of contracts and statutory construction, the primary issue is the
determination of the testator's intention which is the law of the case. What is no
clear is on how long after the testator's death would it be determined that he had a
nephew who would pursue an ecclesiastical vocation. The SC held that the said
bequest refers to the testator's nearest male relative living at the time of his death
and not to any indefinite time thereafter. "In order to be capacitated to inherit, the
heir, devisee or legatee must be living at the moment the succession opens, except
in case of representation, when it is proper" (Art. 1025, Civil Code). Inasmuch as
the testator was not survived by any nephew who became a priest, the unavoidable
conclusion is that the bequest in question was ineffectual or inoperative. Therefore,
the administration of the ricelands by the parish priest of Victoria, as envisaged in
the wilt was likewise inoperative.
G.R. No. L-10763

April 29, 1961

YAMBAO, plaintiff-appellant,
ANGELINA GONZALES, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Onofre P. Guevara for defendants-appellees.




This is an action filed by Delfin Yambao against Angelina Gonzales and Maria Pablo
praying that the latter be ordered to appoint and employ him as tenant during his
lifetime on the parcels of land bequeathed to and inherited by them from Maria
Gonzales, as well as to deliver to him the value of the harvests belonging to him as
tenant of said parcels of land. In their answer, defendants averred that the

provisions of the will relied upon by plaintiff is not mandatory; that the
determination of who should be the tenant of the land is vested in a special court;
and that the present action is not the proper remedy.
After trial, the court dismissed the complaint for lack of sufficient cause of action. It
held that the provisions of the will relied upon by plaintiff merely amount to a
suggestion to the defendants who, though morally bound, are not legally compelled
to follow said suggestion, invoking as authority Article 797 of the old Civil Code.
Plaintiff has appealed.
The pertinent provisions of the will relied upon by appellant read as follows:
Dapat din naman malaman ng dalawa kong tagapagmana na sila MARIA PABLO at
mga sumusunod:



(2) Pahihintulutan nila na si Delfin Yambao ang makapagtrabajo ng bukid habang

panahon, at ang nasabing bukid ay isasailalim ng pamamahala ng Albasea
samantalang ang bukid ay nasa usapin at may utang pa.
It appears that on August 10, 1942, Maria Gonzales executed a will bequeathing to
appellees all her properties situated in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The will was probated in
1948. Immediately, thereafter, appellant went to appellees to request that he be
placed as tenant of the riceland which, by an express provision of said will, they
were directed to give to him for cultivation, as tenant, and when they refused
alleging that they had already given it to another tenant he filed the present action.
In holding that the provisions of the will relied upon by appellant imposes only
a moral but not a legal obligation, the trial court went on to consider the import of
the word "Pahihintulutan" employed with reference to appellant. In its opinion said
word only means to permit or to allow, but not to direct appellees to appoint
appellant as tenant. Rather, it opines, it merely contains a suggestion to employ
because the testatrix did not use the words "ipinaguutos ko" which she used in
connection with other provisions of the will, so that there is no clear indication that
it was her intention to make such provision compulsory.
We believe, however, that the trial court has not properly interpreted the real import
of the wish of the testatrix. Analyzing it carefully we will find that the same contains
a clear directive to employ appellant as may be seen from the words preceding the
word "pahihintulutan", which say: "Dapat din naman malaman ng dalawa kong
tagapagmana na sila MARIA PABLO at ANGELINA GONZALES na sila ay may dapat
TUNGKULIN O GANGPANAN GAYA ng mga sumusunod." The words 'dapat
TUNGKULIN O GANGPANAN" mean to do or to carry out as a mandate or directive,
and having reference to the word "pahihintulutan", can convey no other meaning

than to impose a duty upon appellees. To follow the interpretation given by the trial
court would be to devoid the wish of the testatrix of its real and true meaning.
Article 797 of the old Civil Code, invoked by the trial court, is inapplicable. That
refers to an institution of an heir intended to be conditional by providing that a
statement to the effect cannot be considered as a condition unless it appears
clearly that such is the intention of the testator. We are not faced here with any
conditional institution of heirship. What we have is a clear-cut mandate which the
heirs cannot fail to carry out.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed. Appellees are hereby ordered
to employ appellant as tenant immediately after this decision has become final.
Costs against appellees.
Article 795

The testator executed a will in 1908 in accordance with the laws enforced at that
time wherein there was no requirement of signing and attestation of the will. In
1917 the testator died wherein the laws enforced at that time already required that
the will must be signed by the testator and attested.

It does not matter that when he died, the laws required signing and attestation
because the extrinsic validity of his will should be measured by the laws enforced at
the time of the execution of the will not at the time of the death of the testator. So
the legislature by providing certain formalities CANNOT INVALIDATE A WILL VALIDLY
MADE at the time when the testator executed his will.
February 27, 1953
FACTS: Leonard died in June 1946 leaving his surviving spouse, Catalina, and some
minor children as his heirs. Catalina sold an entire parcel of land, which is a
conjugal property, to spouses Canoy. It was then sold to Ibarle. The Deeds of Sale
were not registered.

In 1948, Catalina sold of the said land to Po, which portion belongs to the

HELD: The moment of death is the determining factor when the heirs acquire a
definite right to the inheritance, whether such right be pure or contingent. It is
immaterial whether a short or long period of time lapses between the death of the
predecessor and the entry into possession of the property of the inheritance
because the right is always deemed to be retroactive from the moment of death.
When Catalina sold the entire parcel of land to the Canoy spouses, of it
already belongs to the children. Thus, the first sale was null and void in so far as it
included the childrens share.
On the other hand, the sale to the Po having been made by authority of the
competent court was undeniably legal and effective.
50 PHIL 867





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.

Maria Cristina Bellis vs Edward Bellis

November 5, 2010

20 SCRA 358 Civil Law Application of Laws Nationality Principle

Succession Nationality of the Decedent Legitimes
Amos Bellis was a citizen of the State of Texas, and of the United States. By his first
wife whom he divorced he had five legitimate children (Edward Bellis et al), by his
second wife, who survived him, he had three legitimate children. He, however, also
had three illegitimate children in the Philippines (Maria Cristina Bellis et al). Before
he died, he made two wills, one disposing of his Texas properties and the other
disposing his Philippine properties. In both wills, his illegitimate children were not
given anything. The illegitimate children opposed the will on the ground that they
have been deprived of their legitimes to which they should be entitled, if Philippine
law were to be applied.
ISSUE: Whether or not the national law of the deceased should determine the
successional rights of the illegitimate children.
HELD: No. The Supreme Court held that the said children, maria Kristina et al, are
not entitled to their legitimes under the Texas Law, being the national law of the
deceased, there are no legitimes.
GARCIA, G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the deceased,
Executor and
Heir-appellees, VS. HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant
January 31, 1963
Edward E. Christensen, though born in New York, migrated to California, where he
resided and consequently was considered a California citizen. In 1913, he came to
the Philippines where he became a domiciliary until his death. However, during the
entire period of his residence in this country he had always considered himself a
citizen of California. In his will executed on March 5, 1951, he instituted an
acknowledged natural daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen as his only heir, but left a
legacy of sum of money in favor of Helen Christensen Garcia who was rendered to
have been declared acknowledged natural daughter. Counsel for appellant claims
that California law should be applied; that under California law, the matter is
referred back to the law of the domicile; that therefore Philippine law is ultimately
applicable; that finally, the share of Helen must be increased in view of the success
ional rights of illegitimate children under Philippine law. On the other hand, counsel
for the heir of Christensen contends that inasmuch as it is clear that under Article
16 of our Civil Code, the national law of the deceased must apply, our courts must
immediately apply the internal law of California on the matter; that under California
law there are no compulsory heirs and consequently a testator could dispose of any

property possessed by him in absolute dominion and that finally, illegitimate

children not being entitled to anything and his will remain undisturbed.
Whether or not the Philippine law should prevail in administering the estate of
The court in deciding to grant more successional rights to Helen said in effect that
there are two rules in California on the matter: the internal law which should apply
to Californians domiciled in California; and the conflict rule which should apply to
Californians domiciled outside of California. The California conflict rule says: If
there is no law to the contrary in the place where personal property is situated, is
deemed to follow the person of its owner and is governed by the law of his
domicile. Christensen being domiciled outside California, the law of his domicile,
the Philippines, ought to be followed. Where it is referred back to California, it will
form a circular pattern referring to both country back and forth.
Cayetano vs. Leonidas
Cayetano vs. Leonidas


The decedent at the time of her death was an american citizen. Her father, being
the only compulsory heir adjudicated the entire estate to himself. However, the
sister of the decedent filed a petition for the reprobate of a will of the deceased
which was allegedly executed in the United States and for her appointment as
administratrix of the estate of the deceased testatrix. The reprobated will was


Whether or not the reprobation of the will is invalid for it divested the father of his
legitime which was reserved by the law for him and the same would work injustice
and injury to him.


No, the reprobation of the will is valid. Although on its face, the will appeared to
have preterited the petitioner and thus, the respondent judge should have denied
its reprobate outright, the private respondents have sufficiently established that
Adoracion was, at the time of her death, an American citizen and a permanent
resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic
validity of testamentary provisions shall be regulated by the national law of the
person whose succession is under consideration. It is therefore evident that
whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes,
Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign
PCIB V. ESCOLINShort Summary:
Mr. and Mrs Hodges both made in their wills provisions thatupon their deaths, their
whole estates should be inherited bythe surviving spouse and
that spouse could manage andalienate the said lands, with the exception of the
Texasproperty. Upon death of the latter spouse, the residue
of theestate inherited by the later spouse from the spouse whopredeceased him
would redound to the brothers and sisters.Mrs. Hodges died first then Mr. Hodges,
but since there wasno liquidation of Mrs. Hodges estate, the brothers and sistersof
Mrs. Hodges wanted to determine the extent of her estatethat they could inherit.
(believe me, this is a short summarycase is long)
-Charles & Linnie Hodges, both TEXAN nationals, provided intheir respective wills
bequeath remainder of estate to spouseduringlifetime
remainder goes to brothers and sis of survivingspouse-Mrs. Hodges died first. Mr.
Hodges appointed as EXECUTOR
in Financial Statements submitted before the court,he made statements that the
estate of Mrs. Hodgesis 1/2 of conjugal estate
that he allegedly renounced his inheritance in a taxdeclaration in US
for 5 years before his death, he failed to makeaccounting, failed to acquire final adju
dication of wife's estate-Charles died. Magno, initially administratrix of both
spouse'sestate, later replaced by PCIB for Charles' estate

WON Action is prescribed?

NO. 33 appeals were timely made-Court did not pass upon its timeliness
WON Certiorari and Prohibition is proper?
YES. Appeal insufficient remedy-many appeals, same facts, same issues =
multiplicity of suits
SOLE HEIR? NO.no final distribution to all parties concerned of the estate2. R90.1
(on RESIDUE):after residue assigned to parties entitled to it, S.P. deemedready for
FINAL CLOSURE:1. Order issued for distribution/assignment of estateamong those
2. Debts
Funeral expenses
Expenses of administration
Widow allowance
Etc.should be paid already3. Motion of party requesting the same (not motu
proprio)Would include distribution of residue of estate-Here:a.No final distribution of
residue of Linney's estateb.No special application made by
charles/PCIBc.Merely allowed advance or partialpayments/implementation of will bef
ore finalliquidationd.If charles already deemed sole heir, why PCIBneeded to file a
motion to declare that Charles isindeed the sole heir?3. ON ALLEGED INTENTION OF
MR. HODGESPCIB: He intended to adjudicate whole estate to himself (Thus,no
residue left, thus ulit, tapos na specialproceeding)BUT SC:1.Whatever was intended,
he can't deprive those whohave rights over the estate2.Order - motion filed merely
for exercise of ownershippending proceeding3.Mr. Hodges was aware that wife's
siblings had rights:
In FS, stated that 1/2 of conjugal estatebelonged to Estate of Linney
In Petition for will's probate, he listed thebros and sis as heirs
Lawyer of Magno was initially lawyer of Charles
when latter was still executor of Linney's estate so may know what

Charles admitted omitting a bro of Linney

He even allegedly renounced his share of the estate (but was not proven)
Charles had duty, as Surviving spouse, of trustee of wife's estate so had to act in
GF4. ON PROPERTIES FOR SIBLINGS: since there's still a residue,can't close SP
Magno should administera.It was Charles' fault why no administration of
estateyetb.Admin should both be
extent of interest
Executor (PCIB) of Executor (Charles, over Linney's)Can't administer estate of
decedent (Linney) _ R78.6
Liquidation of conjugal partnership may be done ineither spouse's probate
proceedings - R73.2
1.No simple or vulgar substitution (A859, NCC)
no provision for:i.Predecease of T for designated
heirii.Refusaliii.Incapacity of designated heir toaccept inheritance2.No
fideicomissary substitution
no obligation on Charles to preserve theestate3.There's
simultaneous institution of heirs subject toresolutory condition of Charles' death
Charles was to enjoy the whole estate
but he can't dispose of property mortiscausa (because it's already subject to thewill
made by his wife, which he agreed inthe provision of his will)4.Charles didn't get
mere usufruct: he exercises full ownership
No answer yet. RemandedArt 16, NCC > applies: law of nationalityIf we apply Texas
PRIL law:
Personal property: law of domicile

Llorente vs CA
GR 124371 November 23, 2000
Alicia( 2nd wife) Lorenzo N. Llorente --- Paula (1ST wife) --- Ceferino Llorente
Crisologo Llorente(son)

Lorenzo N. Llorente was an enlisted serviceman of the United States Navy

from March 10, 1927 to September 30, 1957

February 22, 1937: Lorenzo and Paula Llorente were married before a parish

priest, Roman Catholic Church, in Nabua, Camarines Sur

Before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Lorenzo departed for the United States

and Paula stayed in the conjugal home

November 30, 1943: Lorenzo was admitted to United States citizenship and

Certificate of Naturalization
1945: When Lorenzo was granted an accrued leave to visit his wife and he

visited the Philippines, He discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant and
was living in and having an adulterous relationship with his brother,
Ceferino Llorente
December 4, 1945: Paula gave birth to a boy registered in the Office of the

Registrar of Nabua as Crisologo Llorente with the certificate stating that the
child was not legitimate and the line for the fathers name was left blank
Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula and live with her
February 2, 1946: the couple drew and signed a written agreement which was

witnessed by Paulas father and stepmother to the effect that

1. all the family allowances allotted by the United States Navy as part of Lorenzos
salary and all other obligations for Paulas daily maintenance and support would be

they would dissolve their marital union in accordance with judicial proceedings


they would make a separate agreement regarding their conjugal property acquired
during their marital life; and


Lorenzo would not prosecute Paula for her adulterous act since she voluntarily
admitted her fault and agreed to separate from Lorenzo peacefully.

November 16, 1951: Lorenzo returned and filed for divorce with the Superior

Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego
December 4, 1952: the divorce decree became final
January 16, 1958: Lorenzo married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila and lived

together as husband and wife and bore 3 children: Raul, Luz and Beverly, all
surnamed Llorente
March 13, 1981: Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament where he

bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their three children

December 14, 1983: Lorenzo filed with the RTC, Iriga, Camarines Sur, a

petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and testament wherein
Lorenzo moved that Alicia be appointed Special Administratrix of his estate
January 18, 1984: RTC denied the motion for the reason that the Lorenzo was

still alive
January 24, 1984: RTC admitted finding that the will was duly executedthe will

to probate
June 11, 1985: before the proceedings could be terminated, Lorenzo died
RTC on the petition for letters of administration filed by Paula over Lorenzos

estate contending that she was the surviving spouse and WITHOUT
terminating the testate proceedings filed by Alicia, gave due course to Paulas
divorce decree granted to the late Lorenzo Llorente is void and

inapplicable in the Philippines, therefore the marriage he contracted with

Alicia Fortunato at Manila is void
Paula T. Llorente: 1/3 estate and conjugal estate
illegitimate children, Raul, Luz and Beverly: 1/3 estate
RTC denied Alicias motion for reconsideration but modified that Raul and Luz

Llorente are not children legitimate or otherwise of Lorenzo since they were
not legally adopted by him thus, Beverly Llorente as the only illegitimate child
of Lorenzo, entitles her to 1/3 of the estate and one-third (1/3) of the free
portion of the estate
CA: Affirmed with modification

ISSUE: W/N the divorce is valid and proven

HELD: YES. Petition is GRANTED. REVERSES the decision of the Regional Trial Court
and RECOGNIZES as VALID the decree of divorce granted in favor of the deceased
Lorenzo N. Llorente by the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the

County of San Diego, made final on December 4, 1952. REMANDS the cases to the
court of origin for determination of the intrinsic validity of Lorenzo N. Llorentes will
and determination of the parties successional rights allowing proof of foreign law
with instructions that the trial court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to
settle the estate of the deceased within the framework of the Rules of Court.

Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.:

nationality principle in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are
covered by the policy against absolute divorces, the same being considered
contrary to our concept of public policy and morality

Court ruled that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided they are valid
according to their national law

Quita v. Court of Appeals:

once proven that NO longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained the divorce, the
ruling in Van Dorn would become applicable

Divorce of Lorenzo H. Llorente from his first wife Paula was valid and

recognized in this jurisdiction as a matter of comity. Now, the effects of this

divorce (as to the succession to the estate of the decedent) are matters best
left to the determination of the trial court.
The clear intent of Lorenzo to bequeath his property to his second wife and

children by her is glaringly shown in the will he executed. We do not wish to

frustrate his wishes, since he was a foreigner, not covered by our laws on
family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity.
Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are

issues best proved by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved.
Whether the will was executed in accordance with the formalities required is

answered by referring to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.


Private respondents were the legitimate children of Alejandro and Aniceta.
Aniceta died in 1969 without her estate being settled. Alejandro died
thereafter. Lourdes, claiming to have taken care of Alejandro before he died,
filed a petition for probate of Alejandros will. In1981, the will was admitted to
probate but private respondents did not appeal from the said order. In 1983,
upon motion of the private respondents, the trial court ruled that the will was

intrinsically void and declared private respondents as the only heirs of the
late spouses.

Probate proceedings deal generally with the extrinsic validity of the will
sought to be probated particularly on these aspects:
Whether the will submitted is indeed the decedents last will and
Compliance with the prescribed formalities for the execution of wills
The testamentary capacity of the testator
And the due execution of the last will and testament
Under the Civil Code, due execution includes a determination of whether the
testator was of sound and disposing mind at the time of its execution. The
intrinsic validity is another matter and questions regarding the same may still
be raised even after the will has been authenticated. It does not necessarily
follow that an extrinsically valid last will and testaments is always intrinsically




1. Paciencia
was a 78 year old spinster when she made her last will and
testament entitledTauli Nang Bilin o Testamento Miss Paciencia Regala(Will) in the
Pampango dialect .
Antonio Baltazar is Pacencias nephew.
2. The Will, executed in the house of retired Judge Ernestino G. Limpin (Judge
Limpin), was read to Paciencia twice.
3. Paciencia expressed in the presence of the instrumental witnesses that the
document is her last will and testament. She thereafter affixed her
signature at the end of the said document on page s and then on the left margin of
pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof.
4. The witnesses to the Will were Dra. Maria Lioba A. Limpin (Dra. Limpin), Francisco
Garcia(Francisco) and Faustino R. Mercado (Faustino).
The three attested to the Wills due execution by affixing their signatures below its
attestation clause and on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof, in the

presence of Paciencia and of one another and of Judge Limpin who acted as notary
5. Childless and without any brothers or sisters, Paciencia bequeathed all her
properties to respondent Lorenzo R. Laxa (Lorenzo) and his wife Corazon F. Laxa
and their children Luna Lorella Laxa and Katherine Ross Laxa,
6. The filial relationship of Lorenzo with Paciencia remains undisputed.Lorenzo is
Paciencias nephew whom she treated as her own son. Conversely, Lorenzo came to
know and treated Paciencia as his own mother. Paciencia lived with Lorenzos family
in Sasmuan, Pampanga and it was she who raised and cared for Lorenzo since his
birth. Six days after the execution of the Will or on September 19, 1981,
Paciencia left for the United States of America (USA). There, she resided with
Lorenzo and his family until her death on January 4, 1996.
7. In the interim, the Will remained in the custody of Judge Limpin. More than four
years after the death of Paciencia , Lorenzo filed a petition with the RTC of Guagua,
Pampanga for the probate of the Will of Paciencia and for the issuance of Letters of
Administration in his favour.
8. Petitioners filed an Amended Opposition asking the RTC to deny the probate of
Paciencias Will on the following grounds:
a. the Will was not executed and attested to in accordance with the
requirements of the law;
b. b. Paciencia was mentally incapable to make a Will at the time of its
c. c. she was forced to execute the Will under duress or influence of fear or

d. the execution of the Will had been procured by undue and improper pressure and
influence by Lorenzo or by some other persons for his benefit;
e. signature of Paciencia on the Will was forged;

f. assuming the signature to be genuine, it was obtained through fraud or trickery;

g.that Paciencia did not intend the document to be her Will.

9. Simultaneously, petitioners filed an Opposition and Recommendation reiterating

their opposition to the appointment of Lorenzo as administrator of the properties
and requesting for the appointment of Antonio in his stead.
Whether Paciencia was not of sound mind at the time the will was allegedly
The state of being forgetful does not necessarily make a person mentally unsound
so as to render him unfit to execute a Will. 68 Forgetfulness is not equivalent to being
of unsound mind. Besides

Forgetfulness is not equivalent to being of unsound mind. Besides, Article 799 of the
New Civil Code states:
Art. 799. To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full
possession of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken,
unimpaired, or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause.
It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to know
the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of his bounty, and the
character of the testamentary act.
March 14, 1912

FACTS: Paguio suffered from paralysis of the left side of his body until his death. In
the probation of his will, it was contended that he was not in full enjoyment and use
of his mental faculties and was without the mental capacity necessary to execute a

HELD: In this jurisdiction, there is a presumption in favor of mental capacity of the

testator and the burden is upon the contestants of the will to prove the lack of the
testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of the will. In this case, the
testator has never been adjudged insane. Paralysis is not equivalent to mental
incapacity. It is not necessary that a person must be in full possession of his mental
and reasoning faculties to be able to be considered of sound mind. It is not
necessary that his mind be unbroken, unshattered by disease, injury or other cause.

BUGNAO v. Ubag
Issue: Execution of wills; while a number of a contradictions in the testimony of
alleged subscribing witnesses to will as to the circumstances under which it was
executed, or a single contradiction as to aparticular incident to which the attention
of such witnesses must have been directed, may in certaincases justify the
conclusion that the alleged witnesses were not present, together, at the time when
thealleged will was executed, a mere lapse of memory on the part of these
witnesses as to the precisedetails of an unimportant incident,to which his attention
was not directed, does not necessarily put indoubt the truth and veracity of
the testimony in support of the execution of the will.Testamentary capacity defined;
proof of the existence of all the elementsin the following definition oftestamentray
capacity, which was frequently been adopted in the U.S , held sufficient to establish

existence of such capacity in the absence of proof of very exceptional

circumstances: Testamentary
capacity is the capacity to comprehend the nature of the transaction in which the
testator is engaged atthat time, to recollect the property to be disposed of and the
persons who would naturally be supposedto have claims upon the testator,andto
comprehend the manner in which the instrument will distribute
his property among the objects of his bounty.


FACTS: It was contended that the testator lacked mental capacity because at the
time of the execution of the will, he had senile dementia and was under

HELD: The testator may have been of advanced years, may have been physically
decrepit, may have been weak in intellect, may have suffered a loss of memory,
may have had a guardian, and may have been extremely eccentric, but he still
possessed the spark of reason and of life, that strength of mind to form a fixed
intention and to summon his enfeebled thoughts to enforce that intention, which
the law terms testamentary capacity. Only compete senile dementia will result to
testamentary incapacity.


Idem; Effect of infirmity or disease.

Neither is physical infi rmity or disease inconsistent with testamentary capacity,

although there is no question that evidence of such fact is admissible on the issue
of testamentary capacity. Just as in the case of old age, the usual tests of
testamentary capacity must still have to be applied.31 Thus, it has been held that
the fact that the testator, at the time of the execution of the will, was suffering from
the last stages of tuberculosis and asthma,32 or from paralysis and loss of
speech,33 or from cholera,34 or from a combination of sleeping

sickness, insomnia, tuberculosis, and diabetes,35 will not affect his testamentary
capacity, so long as it cannot be proved by competent evidence that, at the time
when the will was executed, he was no longer in a position to know the nature of
the estate to be disposed
of, the proper objects of his bounty, and the character of the testamentary act. The
same rule can be applied even if, at the time
when the will was being executed, the testator was so sick that it was necessary for
somebody else to guide his hand in order that he could sign it,36 or even if a few
months before the execution of the will, the testator, who was 85 years old, had a
stroke of cerebral
hemorrhage, with hemiplegia, caused by high blood pressure.37 On the other hand,
it has also been held that the fact that the testator, at the time of the execution of
the will, was already in a comatose or semi-comatose condition, caused by cerebral
hemorrhage,38 or by
apoplexy,39 or by diarrhea and gastro-enteritis with complications of miocarditis,40
or by cerebral thrombosis,41 so that nothing around him could cause any
impression or reaction, would certainly destroy his testamentary capacity.
1. Sancho vs. Abella
Opponent alleged that the testators mental faculties were not functioning
normally anymore; that she had poor eyesight/hearing; that she urinated without
knowing; that she had very poor memory. SC ruled that senile debility, blindness,
deafness, or poor memory is not by itself sufficient to incapacitate a person from
making his/her will. In this case, the records showed that the testators mental
faculties were functioning well.
Also, the fact that the testator included in her dispositions property that she
had already donated does not indicate mental insanity. At most, it is merely
Francisca Alsua-Betts, Joseph O. Betts, Jose Madareta, Esteban P. Ramirez, And The
Register Of Deeds For Albay Province, Petitioners
Court Of Appeals, Amparo Alsua Buenviaje, Fernando Buenviaje, Fernando Alsua,
Represented By His Guardian, Clotilde S. Alsua And Pablo Alsua, Respondents

FACTS: A notarized Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial was entered on the

properties of spouses of Don Jesus Alsua, wife Doa Florentina, and all their
remaining four (4) living children, on November 25, 1949. On January 5, 1956, both
of the spouses made their holographic wills with the provisions conforming to the
implementation of the extrajudicial partition. Codicils amending and supplementing

the spouses respective holographic wills on 1956 and eventually admitted to

probate. Don Jesus became executor on the death of Doa Florentina and
cancelled his previous holographic will, appointed daughter Francisca as executrix,
and collated the properties to be donated to his four children. At the death of their
father, Francisca filed a petition of probate of the 1959 will and was opposed by
brother respondents.
February 21, 1912

FACTS: It was contended that the will should not have been validated because at
the time of the making of the will, the decedent was blind for a number of years
beforehand and thus was incompetent to make the will in question.

HELD: A blind testator may be competent to make a will. Mere fact of blindness
does not render him incompetent. No presumption of incapacity can arise from the
mere fact that he was blind. The only requirement of the law as to the capacity to
make a will is that the person shall be of age and of sound mind and memory. Blind
persons are prohibited from acting as witnesses in the execution of wills, but no
limitation is placed upon testamentary capacity, except age and soundness of mind.

ISSUE: Is the probate of the will acceptable?

HELD: Yes. The 1959 will amended the 1949 settlement and rendered latter as
void. "A will may be revoked by the testator at any time before his death. (Art. 828,
Civil Code) When it will not prejudice any heirs, he is not forced to follow any only
one will.