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Aznar v Duncan Full case style: In the matter of the intestate estate of Edward Christensen, deceased. Adolfo c.

Aznar, executor and appellee, v Maria Lucy Christensen Duncan, (appellant) Maria Helen Christensen, (appellee) 1966 | Makalintal, J. 1. Edward (California citizen with domicile in the PH) died leaving a will in 1951. Will admitted to probate; Court declared Maria Helen Christensen Garcia (Helen)as a natural child of Edward; This declaration was appealed to SC which it affirmed in 1958; In another incident with regard to the partition of the estate, the trial court approved the project submitted by the executor which the court found valid under California law; Helen appealed this to SC which reversed the trial court in January 1964 saying that the validity of the provisions of the will should be governed by PH law; so partition was remanded; October, 1964, CFI Davao approved the project of partition submitted by the executor; The estate was divided equally between Maria Lucy Christensen Duncan (hereinafter Lucy; note that in the will her last name was Daney, not Duncan) who was expressly recognized by deceased as his daughter (natural) and Helen who was judicially declared as also natural daughter after Edwards death; Reason for equal sharing: since Helen had been preterited in the will, the institution of Lucy as heir was annulled; hence, the properties passed to both of them as if Edward died intestate, saving only the legacies left in favour of certain other persons whose legacies had been approved by the court; Court cites provisions of the will relevant to the case; That Edward declares he has but one child: Lucy; That he had no living ascendants or descendants except Lucy; That Helen, although baptized Christensen, is not in any way related to him, nor had she been adopted; that he bequeaths 3.6k pesos which was to be deposited in trust for Helen in PNB Davao and paid to be paid to her 100 pesos per month until exhausted; That he bequeaths all income interest from all his property to Lucy; but in case she dies with living issue full ownership of the


property shall pass; provided further, that when she dies without living issue, she will be substituted with other heirs; Helen contends: there was preterition of a compulsory heir in the direct line which resulted in the annulment of heir, pursuant to Article 854 of CC: ART. 854. The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious.



Lucy contends: not a case of preterition; case is governed by Article 906 of CC which says: Any compulsory heir to whom the testator has left by any title less than the legitime belonging to him may demand that the same be fully satisfied. Also, since testator expressly denied his relationship with Helen but left to her a legacy although less than her legitime, Helen was effectively disinherited with Article 918: ART. 918. Disinheritance without a specification of the cause, or for a cause the truth of which, if contradicted, is not proved, or which is not one of those set forth in this Code, shall annul the institution of heirs insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited; but the devices and legacies and other testamentary dispositions shall be valid to such extent as will not impair the legitimate. So, Helen is entitled only to her legitim, and not to a share equal with Lucy, as if the succession were intestate.


Issue: Should there be an annulment of heirs? No. Helen to receive her legitime. 906 applies. (1/4) of estate (excluding the legacies). Held and Ratio: Preterition defined: Manresa: Omission of the heir in the will, either by not naming him at all or, while mentioning him as father, so, etc., by not instituting him as heir without disinheriting him expressly, nor assigning to him some part of the properties; Question posed by Court: In order that the right of a forced heir may be limited only to the completion of his legitime (instead of the annulment of the institution of heirs) is it necessary that what has been left to him in the will "by any title," as by legacy, be


granted to him in his capacity as heir, that is, a titulo de heredero? In other words, should he be recognized or referred to in the will as heir? Question important since Edward did not mention Helen as an heir but given a legacy;

sustained, for it would in effect impair the right of ownership of Helen Garcia with respect to her legitime; Additional: Court notes the substitution of heirs depending on certain conditions (see will above); although it is not raised as an issue and although no reference to it has been made in the brief for oppositorappellant (this quotation is omitted in the resolution), court says there are limitations imposed by law upon this kind of substitution, particularly that which says that it can never burden the legitime (Art. 864 Civil Code), which means that the legitime must descend to the heir concerned in fee simple. REVERSED. RESOLUTION: Lucy says they did refer to the matter of substitution of heirs; Justice Makalintal: oh yeah you did, but you did merely for the purpose of refuting the theory advanced by the appellees and not for the purpose of having the rights of said heirs defined in so far as, under the terms of the will, they may affect the legitime of oppositor-appellant; So the issue could not be squarely raised since the substitute heirs were not parties; Anyways, the justice says that if the will is given full force and effect, it might affect the legitime of Helen.

Answer: Classical view(Roman law), answer is affirmative but later, as Manresa and Sanchez Roman says, it was changed by Article 645 of Proyecto de Codigo de 1851 later copied in Article 906 of our Code; Manresa cites three SC of Spain decisions: in each one, the testator left to one who was a forced heir a legacy worth than the legitime, but without referring to the legatee as an heir or even as a relative, and willed the rest of the estate to other persons; It was held that Article 815 (906 of our Code, and the heir could not ask that the institution of heirs be annulled entirely, but only that the legitime be completed; At case: The solution is indeed in ore consonance with the express wishes of the testator, as in the present case; He refused to acknowledge Helen as his natural, and limited her share to a legacy of 3.6k pesos; The fact that she was subsequently declared judicially to possess such status is no reason to assume that had the judicial declaration come during his lifetime his subjective attitude towards her would have undergone any change and that he would have willed his estate equally to her and to Lucy Duncan, who alone was expressly recognized by him; Neri v Akutin does not apply: It referred to a will where "the testator left all his property by universal title to the children by his second marriage, and (that) without expressly disinheriting the children by his first marriage, he left nothing to them or, at least, some of them; At case, testator did not entirely omit Helen, but left her a legacy 3.6k pesos; What Helen will receive: Estate concists of 399 shares of stocks in Christensen Plantation COmpanay and some cash; of such descend to Helen as her legitime; Since she became owner of her share at death of decedent, she is entitled to a corresponding portion of all the fruits or increments thereof subsequently accruing; It includes stock dividends; Contention of Lucy Duncan that all such dividends pertain to her according to the terms of the will cannot be