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3C SUCCESSION CASE DIGESTS

Arts. 774 777 1. Bonilla v. Barcena

are adults and when there are no debts against the estate. 4. Heirs of the Late Domingo N. Nicolas v. Metrobank

In this case, the action to quiet title instituted by the late Barcena while she was still alive was dismissed by the lower court saying that the heirs had no legal capacity to sue. The SC held that the deceased can be substituted by his heirs in pursuing the case at bar. The records of this case show that the complaint was filed while Barcena while still alive and therefore, the court had acquired jurisdiction over her person. Art. 777 provides that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the testator. When Barcena died, her claim or right to the parcels of land in litigation was not extinguished by her death but was transmitted to heir heirs upon her death. 2. Limjoco v. Intestate of Fragante

Surviving spouse Josefa mortagaged their conjugal property to Metrobank which was later foreclosed. The SC held that petitioners, as children and therefore compulsory heirs of deceased Domingo, acquired ownership of portions of the lots as their legitime upon the death of their father or prior to the foreclosure of mortgage and the filing by the respondent bank of its petition for the issuance of a writ of possession. They should not be deprived of their legitime by the enforcement of the writ of possession thus such should not include parts of the two lots pertaining to petitioners. Note that in this case, as shown by the records, the estate of Domingo has not been judicially or extra-judicially settled. Arts. 778 - 782 5. Austria v. Reyes

In this case, Fragante applied for a certificate of public convenience. After his death, the certificate was issued to his intestate estate, to which petitioner opposed contending that substitution of the legal representative of the estate should not have been allowed. The SC held that such certificate would be certainly be property, and the right to acquire such a certificate, by complying with the requisites of the law, belonged to the decedent in his lifetime, and survived to his estate and judicial administrator after his death. 3. Fule v. Fule

The heirs Fule in this case opposes the appointment of an administrator upon the ground that the deceased left no debts and that his property had already been partitioned among his children during his lifetime. The SC held that in the absence of debts existing against the estate, the heirs may enter upon the administration of the property immediately. If they desire to administer it jointly, they may do so. If they desire to partition it among themselves and can do this by mutual agreement, they also have that privilege. The rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death; in other words, the heirs succeed immediately to all of the property of the deceased ancestor. The administrator has no right to intervene in any way whatsoever in the division of the estate among the heirs when they

Petitioners in this case pray for the annulment of the will of the deceased alleging its intrinsic validity. They are contending that had the deceased known that the adoption of Perfecto was spurious and was thus not a compulsory heir, she would not have instituted him. The SC held that the will, which alone should provide the answer, is mute on this point or at best is vague and uncertain. The Civil Code provides that the words of the will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect, rather than once which will render any of the expressions inperative. Testacy is favoured and doubts are resolved on its side, especially where the will evinces an intention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his whole estate, as was done in this case. 6. DKC Holdings v. CA

The question in this case is whether or not the Contract of Lease with Option to Buy entered into by the late Bartolome with petitioner was terminated upon her death or w/n it binds her sole heir even after her demise. The SC held that as a general rule, heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their predecessors-in-terest except when the rights and obligations arising therefrom are not transmissible by 1) their nature, 2) stipulation or 3) provisions of law. In the case at bar, there is neither contractual stipulation nor legal provision making the rights and obligations under the contract intransmissible. There

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is no personal act required from the deceased Bartolome apart from the obligation to deliver possession of the subject property to petitioner upon the exercise by the latter of its option to lease the same which may very well be performed by her heir. Articles 788-795 7. Dionisio vs. Dionisio

from his mouth. However, he retained the use of his right hand and was able to write fairly well. The question is whether or not the testator was of sound mind. SC ruled that the presumption of a sound mind was not rebutted. Witnesses testified that the testator wrote the disposition in pieces of paper; he was asked whether they were indeed dispositions to which he nodded his head in affirmation; and the will was read to him out loud. 11. Yap Tua v. Yap Ca Kuan It was shown that from the bed in which Tomasa was lying, it was possible for her to see the table on which the witnesses signed the will. While the rule is absolute that one who makes a will must sign the same in the presence of the witnesses and that the witnesses must sign in the presence of each other, as well as in the presence of the one making the will, yet, nevertheless, the actual seeing of the signatures made is not necessary. It is sufficient if the signatures are made where it is possible for each of the necessary parties, if they desire to see, may see the signatures placed upon the will. 12. 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 forgetfulness. 13. Gonzales vs. Gonzales de Carungcong Two alleged wills were presented for probate to which the petitioner opposed presenting an instrument revoking the said wills allegedly executed by the testator. The family physician who attended to the testator during her last illness and saw her on the day the said instrument was allegedly executed, testified that during that time the testator was in a comatose and unconscious state. SC upheld this testimony as against the testimony of attesting witnesses tending to imply that the testator was of sound mind. Arts. 805 - 806

The will was in Tagalog and was translated in Spanish by the oppositor as well as by the official court interpreter. If the oppositors translation was correct then the attestation clause would not have been made in accordance with the law. The members of the court held that the interpretation of the court interpreter is correct and in conformity with the idiomatic usage of the Tagalog language. 788 in case of doubt, interpretation that will make the disposition operative shall be preferred. 791 2 modes of interpreting, the one that will prevent intestacy will be preferred. 8. In re will of Riosa

The will was executed prior to the enactment of an act which required additional formalities. The question is which law will govern? SC ruled that the law at the time the will was executed will govern. Hence the additional formalities need not be complied with. 795 validity of a will as to its form depends on the law in force at the time of execution 9. Enriquez, et al. vs. Abadia, et al.

Holographic will was executed before the enactment of the New Civil Code. Prior to the said code, holographic wills were not allowed. SC ruled using 795. Rationale for 795 although the will operates after the death, the wishes of the testator was nevertheless given solemn expression at the time the will was executed (provided of course it complied with the formalities then required) Also, SC added that if a will was void under the law during its execution and a subsequent law is passed which does away with certain formalities, the will does not become valid. Articles 796-803 10. Bagtas vs. Paguio Testators body was paralyzed on the left side, his hearing was impaired, he had lost his power of speech, his head fell to one side, and saliva ran

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14. Payad v. Tolentino Deceased placed her thumb mark on every page of the will. Her lawyer wrote her name under it. Nothing was noted on the attestation clause that the deceased directed the lawyer to write her name. Held: Valid. not necessary that the attestation clause in question should state that the testatrix requested the lawyer to sign her name inasmuch as the testatrix signed the will by her thumb mark. 15. Tabaoada v. Rosal (1982)

clause establish that the witnesses are referring to the statements contained in the attestation clause itself. the attestation clause is separate and apart from the disposition of the will. They should sign below it. Issue of not properly acknowledged: contrary to Art 806. Acknowledgement is the act of one who has executed a deed in going before some competent officer and declaring it to be his act or deed. Moreover, will must be acknowledged and not merely subscribed and sworn to. A notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses is fatally defective, even if it is subscribed and sworn to before a notary public. 17. Guerrero v. Bihis (2007)

On the first page (which contained the entire testamentary dispositions), the testatrix signed at the bottom, while the witnesses signed at the left-hand margin. On the second page which contained the attestation clause, the testatrix signed at the left hand margin, and the witnesses signed below the attestation clause. The attestation clause also did not state the number of pages. Held: Valid. The signatures of the instrumental witnesses on the left margin of the first page of the will attested not only to the genuineness of the signature of the testatrix but also the due execution of the will as embodied in the attestation clause. The objects of attestation and of subscription were fully met and satisfied when the witnesses signed at the left margin of the sole page which contained all the testamentary dispositions. The failure to state the number of pages would have been a fatal defect were it not for the fact that, in this case, it is discernible from the entire will that it is really composed of only 2 pages duly signed by the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses. 16. Azuela v. CA (2006) Will was two pages long. The number of pages were also not stated in the attestation, only a blank was there. The will was not properly acknowledged. (Nilagdaan ko at ninotario ko ngayong 10 Hunyo, dito sa Manila.) The witnesses also did not sign under the attestation clause but on the left hand margin of the page. Held: Invalid will. Issue of number of pages: no substantial compliance in this case because no statement in the attestation clause or anywhere else in the will itself as to the number of pages which comprise the will. Issue of witnesses not signing under the attestation clause: the signatures to the attestation

The will was acknowledged by the testatrix and the witnesses at the testatrixs witnesses in QC before a notary public who was commissioned for and in Caloocan City. Held: Invalid. Notary public was acting outside the place of his commission, and this did not satisfy Art 806. No notary shall possess authority to do any notarial act beyond the limits of his jurisdiction. 18. De Gala v. Gonzales Testatrix signed using a thumb mark. In the attestation clause, it is not mentioned that the testatrix signed by thumb mark. But, in the last paragraph of the will, she mentioned that she signed it using her thumb mark. Held: Valid. It appeared in the attestation clause that the signature was affixed in the presence of the witnesses, and the form of the signature is sufficiently described and explained in the last clause of the body of the will. It may be conceded that the attestation clause does not, standing alone, quite meet the requirements of the statute, but taken in connection with the last clause of the body of the will, it is fairly clear and sufficiently carries out the legislative intent. 19. Cuevas v. Achacoso The attestation clause in this case was signed by the testator, but signed below his name by the witnesses. The clause was made by the testator himself more than by the instrumental witnesses. Held: Valid. It substantially complies with the statue. The apparent anomaly is not serious to invalidate the will, it appearing that right under the signature of the testator, there appear the signatures of the 3 witnesses. Arts. 807 - 809

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20. Testate of the Late Abada vs. Abaja Although the attestation clause does not indicate the number of witnesses a close inspection of the will shows that three witnesses signed it. The question of the number of the witnesses is answered by an examination of the will itself and without the need for presentation of evidence aliunde. Arts. 810 - 819 21. Ajero vs. CA Requirements under Art 813 and 814 on the authentication of changes and signing and dating of dispositions refer only to the validity of the dispositions, but not its probate. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions, the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such failure, however, does not render the whole testament void. Arts. 820 - 827 22. Unson vs. Abella A will can be admitted to probate, notwithstanding that one or more witnesses do not remember having attested it, provided the court is satisfied upon the evidence adduced that the will has been executed and signed in the manner prescribed by law. As a general rule, the attesting witnesses must be produced when there is opposition to the probate. But there are exceptions to this rule, for instance, when the witness is dead, cannot be served with process of the court, or his reputation for the truth has been questioned, or he appears hostile to the proponent. Arts. 828 837 23. Molo vs. Molo A subsequent will, containing a clause revoking a previous will, having been disallowed, for the reason that it was not executed in conformity with the formal requirements as to the making of wills, cannot produce the effect of annulling the previous will, inasmuch as said revocatory clause is void. Doctrine of Dependent Relative Revocation . It is the intention of the testator that the revocation of previous will is dependent upon the validity of a subsequent will. The failure of the new testamentary disposition, upon whose validity the revocation depends, is equivalent to the non-fulfillment of a suspensive condition, and hence prevents the

revocation of the original will. The operation of the doctrine depends upon the intention of the testator at the time of the revocation of the first will. 24. Gago vs. Mamuyac The law does not require any evidence of the revocation or cancellation of a will to be preserved. Where a will which can not be found is shown to be in the possession of the testator, when last seen, the presumption is, in the absence of other competent evidence, that it was cancelled or destroyed. The same presumption arises where it is shown that the testator had ready access to the will and it cannot be found after his death. 25. Heirs of Rosendo Lasam vs. Umengan The purported last will and testament of testator could not properly be relied upon to establish petitioners right to posess the subject lot because, without having been probated, the said last will and testament could not be the source of any right. Before any will can have force or validity it must be probated. Art 838 is explicit when it says no will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court. Arts. 839 - 839

26.

Reyes v. CA

The natural children of the deceased in this case are questioning the intrinsic validity of the will on the ground that his compulsory heir cannot be one, as theirs was an illicit relationship. SC held that as a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated. There are, however, notable circumstances wherein the intrinsic validity was first determined as when the defect of the will is apparent on its face and the probate of the will may become a useless ceremony if it is intrinsically invalid. The intrinsic validity of a will may be passed upon because practical considerations demanded it as when there is preterition of heirs or the testamentary provisions are doubtful legality. In this case however, There was never an open admission of any illicit relationship. Thus, there was no need to go beyond the face of the will.

27.

Balanay v. Martinez

The basic issue in this case was whether the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic

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validity of the will, before ruling on its allowance or formal validity, and in declaring it void. The SC held that in view of the unusual provisions of the will, which are of dubious legality, the trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had been established. The probate of a will might become an idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically void. But the probate court erred in declaring, that the will was void and in converting the testate proceeding into an intestate proceeding notwithstanding the fact that it previously gave effect to the surviving husband's conformity to the will and to his renunciation of his hereditary rights which presumably included his one-half share of the conjugal estate. The rule is that "the invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions, unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made".

allegedly convert paraphernal property into conjugal). What is more decisive is that duress being merely a vice or defect of consent, an action based upon it must be brought within four years after it has ceased; and the present action was instituted only after 28 years after the intimidation is claimed to have occurred, and no less than 9 years after the supposed culprit died. On top of it, appellant entered into a series of subsequent transactions with appellees that confirmed the contracts that she now tries to set aside. Therefore, this cause of action is clearly barred. Arts. 840 - 853

30.

Pecson v. Coronel

28.

Macam v. Gatmaitan

Leonarda and Juana reciprocally assigned their respective property to one another conditioned upon who might die first, the time of death determining the event upon which the acquisition of such right by the one or the other depended. This contract, as any other contract, is binding upon the parties thereto. Inasmuch as Leonarda had died before Juana the latter thereupon acquired the ownership of the house, in the same manner as Leonarda would have acquired the ownership of the automobile and of the furniture if Juana had died first. (In this case, the court essentially sustained the validity of survivorship agreements.)

Oppositors essentially question that validity of the will on the ground that it would have been too impossible that they, as relatives, would be left with nothing as this was not normal in Philippine customs. The SC held that there is nothing strange in the preterition made by Dolores Coronel of her blood relatives, nor in the designation of Lorenzo Pecson as her sole beneficiary. Furthermore, although the institution of the beneficiary here would not seem the most usual and customary, still this would not be null per se. In the absence of any statutory restriction every person possesses absolute dominion over his property, and may bestow it upon whomsoever he pleases without regard to natural or legal claim upon his bounty. If the testator possesses the requisite capacity to make a will, and the disposition of his property is not affected by fraud of undue influence, the will is not rendered invalid by the fact that it is unnatural, unreasonable, or unjust. Arts. 854 - 856

29.

Rodriguez v. Rodriguez

When Domingo Rodriguez died intestate, he was survived by his widow, Concepcion Felix, his children grandchildren. The widow, children and grandchildren of the deceased entered into an extrajudicial settlement of his estate, consisting of onehalf of the properties allegedly belonging to the conjugal partnership. The widow later on questioned the validity of this extrajudicial partition, saying that she entered such contract under duress, violence and intimidation. The SC agreed with the trial Court that the evidence was not convincing that the contracts of transfer from the widow to her daughter, and from the latter to her mother and stepfather were executed through violence or intimidation (this was done to

31.

Non v. CA

Petitioners in this case are asserting coownership of the property while respondents claim that they are the absolute owners by virtue of a deed of donation executed in their favor. The SC ruled for respondents. When Virginia P. Viado died intestate in 1982, her part of the conjugal property was transmitted to her heirs her husband Julian and their children.. The inheritance, which vested from the moment of death of the decedent, remained under a co-ownership regime among the heirs until partition. Every act intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees would be a partition although it would purport to be a

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sale, an exchange, a compromise, a donation or an extrajudicial settlement. The Court found the instruments executed showing donation were validly executed. Articles 857-870 32. Vda. De Aranas vs. Aranas Petitioners were assailing the stipulation in the will which provided that the testators nephew shall have usufructuary rights and be the first administrator of certain properties; and that upon his death or refusal to continue to act as usufructuary/administrator, the administration shall pass to the anyone of the sons of his brother. Petitioners contended that this violated Art. 870, CC. SC ruled that there was a limitation to the right of the nephew, namely his death or his refusal. The disposition must be respected & given effect. Upon the death or refusal of the nephew, the property can be disposed of subject to the limitations provided in Art. 863 concerning fideicommissary substitution. Articles 871-885 33. Ramirez v. Vda. De Ramirez The deceased was survived by his spouse, 2 grandnephews, and his companion. The administrator submitted a partition to the court which divided the estate into 2: one-half would go to the widow in satisfaction of her legitime; the other half, which is the free portion, would go to the grandnephews; however, 1/3 of the free portion is charged with the widows usufruct and the remaining 2/3 with a usufruct in favor of the companion. The grandnephews opposed the substitution on the ground that the 1st heirs are not related to the substitutes within the 1st degree. SC ruled that the fideicommissary substitution is void. The substitutes (grandnephews) are not related to the companion within one degree. In effect, the SC ruled that one degree means one generation and not one designation. So, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be either a child or a parent of the 1st heir. 34. Miciano vs. Brimo Testator is a Turkish national who stated in his will that the institution of legatees therein is conditional insofar as the said legatees must respect the testators will to distribute his property in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. SC ruled that this condition is void because it is contrary to

law. Under the old civil code, the national law of the testator should govern his testamentary dispositions. Articles 886-903 (except 891) 35. Rosales vs. Rosales Petitioner was the widow of the son of the deceased. In other words, the deceased is the motherin-law of the petitioner. Issue here was w/n a widow is an heir of her parent-in-law? SC ruled that the widow is neither an intestate nor a compulsory heir. There is no law which entitles the widow to inherit from her mother-in-law by her own right or by the right of representation. Also, Art. 887 refers to the estate of the deceased spouse in which case the surviving spouse is a compulsory heir. It does not apply to the estate of a parent-in-law where the surviving spouse is considered a 3rd person. 36. Baritua vs. CA The deceased died while driving a tricycle which collided with a bus. The widow executed a release of claim and an affidavit of desistance discharging the owner of the bus from all actions/claims arising from the accident for a certain sum of money. The parents of the deceased thereafter filed a claim for damages against the bus owner. SC ruled that the widow and her son are the successorsin-interest authorized to receive payment. The parents shall only succeed when the decedent leaves no legitimate descendants. While the surviving spouse is a concurring compulsory heir. 37. De Aparicio vs. Paraguya Petitioner was the love child of a priest and her mother. The mother was married to another person to avoid ridicule. In the will of the deceased father (hehe), he acknowledged petitioner as his natural daughter and also designated her as his only heir. Petitioner filed an action against respondent claiming parcels of land which she allegedly inherited from the deceased. Respondent contends that the petitioner is the legitimate child of the mother and the person to whom she was married. SC ruled that the issue of paternity is immaterial considering that the deceased died without any compulsory heir and that he instituted the petitioner as his lawful heir in his will. One who has no compulsory heirs may dispose by will all of his estate or any part of it in favor of any person having capacity to succeed. Art. 891

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38. De Papa v. Camacho Propositus died. The uncles and aunts want the property for them. The niece wants the property for herself. Where does the property go? Held: To the niece. The uncles and aunts are excluded from the succession by the niece, although they are related to him within the same degree as the latter. Why? Because the reversion of the reservable property is governed by the rules on intestate succession, wherein the nieces/nephews succeed ahead of the spouse, and only in the absence of the spouse will the uncles and aunts succeed. 39. Frias Chua v. CFI The propositus inherited property from his father. In the intestate proceeding where he got the property, the Court ordered upon the propositus and his mother an obligation to pay a 3 rd party arising from an obligation. Is the first transfer still gratuitous? Held: Yes. The transmission is gratuitous when the recipient does not give anything in return. It matters not whether the property transmitted is subject to any prior charges. What is essential is that the transmission by made gratuitously, without imposing any obligation on the part of the recipient. It is evident that the transmission of the property was by means of a hereditary succession and therefore gratuitous. The obligation was imposed by the Court, and not by the propositus father. As long as the transmission was free from any condition imposed by the deceased himself and the property is given out of pure generosity, it is gratuitous. 40. De los Reyes vs. Paterno The right of a reservatario is a reservable right and may be noted in the certificate of registration as a valid lien against the property. However, this right may be lost by his failure to present any opposition to a petition for registration of a parcel of land under the Torrens system and his subsequent failure to oppose such registration within the period prescribed by law. 41. Sumaya v. IAC The reservista registers the property with the RD, but the titles do not show the that the property was reserved for anyone. However, the affidavit of the reservista stating that the property was reserved under reserva troncal was registered with the RD.

She sold the property to 3rd persons. When she dies, the reservatorios wanted the property back. Held: Accroding to PD 1529, the registration of the affidavit of the reservista was constructive notice to the world, so the 3 rd persons could not rely solely on the clean title. It also appeared that the 3rd persons knew of the reservable property. Moreover, the Court also stated that it was the duty of the reservista to both reserve the property and annotate it accordingly as well. 42. Riosa v. Rocha The reservista refused to register the property and annotate it accordingly. The reservatorios want the reservation be noted in the RD. Held: Register it. The reservista is bound to register the reservation within 90 days from the date of the adjudication of the property to the heirs by the court. After this period, the reservatorios have the right to enforce compliance with the obligation. Where a reservable property is sold by the reservista, without having registered its reservable character, the obligation to registere the same is transferred to the purchaser, when, in making the purchase, the latter knew the facts which give the property the reservable character. 43. Vda. De Tupas v. RTC Among the assets listed in the will of the deceased were several lots, admittedly his private capital. However, at the time of his death, these lots were no longer owned by him, he having donated them the year before to the Tupas Foundation, Inc. Tupas' widow brought suit against Tupas Foundation, Inc. to have the donation declared inofficious insofar as it prejudiced her legitime, therefore reducible. Held: The fact that the donated property no longer actually formed part of the estate of the donor at the time of his death cannot be asserted to prevent its being brought to collation. Indeed, it is an obvious proposition that collation contemplates and particularly applies to gifts inter vivos. Since it is clear that the questioned donation is collationable and that, having been made to a stranger (to the donor) it is, by law chargeable to the freely disposable portion of the donor's estate, to be reduced insofar as inofficious. If the value of the donation at the time it was made does not exceed that difference, then it must be allowed to stand. But if it does, the donation is inofficious as to the excess and must be reduced by the amount of said excess. In this case, if any excess be shown, it shall be returned or reverted to the petitioner-appellant as the sole compulsory heir of the deceased.

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