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Edward S.

Christensen, though born in New York, migrated to California where he


resided and consequently was considered a California Citizen for a period of nine years to
1913. He came to the Philippines where he became a domiciliary until the time of his
death. However, during the entire period of his residence in this country, he had always
considered himself as 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 some money in
favor of Helen Christensen Garcia who, in a decision rendered by the Supreme Court had
been declared as an acknowledged natural daughter of his. Counsel of Helen claims that
under Art. 16 (2) of the civil code, California law should be applied, the matter is
returned back to the law of domicile, that Philippine law is ultimately applicable, that the
share of Helen must be increased in view of successional rights of illegitimate children
under Philippine laws. On the other hand, counsel for daughter Maria , in as much that it
is clear under Art, 16 (2) of the Mew Civil Code, the national of the deceased must
apply, our courts must apply internal law of California on the matter. Under California
law, there are no compulsory heirs and consequently a testator should dispose any
property possessed by him in absolute dominion.

Issue:

Whether Philippine Law or California Law should apply.

Held:

The Supreme Court deciding to grant more successional rights to Helen


Christensen Garcia said in effect that there be two rules in California on the matter.

1. The conflict rule which should apply to Californians outside the California,
and

2. The internal Law which should apply to California domiciles in califronia.

The California conflict rule, found on Art. 946 of the California Civil code States
that if there is no law to the contrary in the place where personal property is situated, it
is deemed to follow the decree of its owner and is governed by the law of the domicile.

Christensen being domiciled outside california, the law of his domicile, the
Philippines is ought to be followed.
Wherefore, the decision appealed is reversed and case is remanded to the lower
court with instructions that partition be made as that of the Philippine law
provides.

7 scra 95

Nationality Principle Internal and Conflict Rule

Edward Christensen was born in New York but he migrated to California where he
resided for a period of 9 years. In 1913, he came to the Philippines where he became a
domiciliary until his death. In his will, he instituted an acknowledged natural daughter,
Maria Lucy Christensen (legitimate), as his only heir, but left a legacy sum of money in
favor of Helen Christensen Garcia (illegitimate). Counsel for Helen claims that under
Article 16, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code, California law should be applied; that under
California law, the matter is referred back to the law of the domicile. On the other hand,
counsel for Maria, averred that the national law of the deceased must apply, illegitimate
children not being entitled to anything under California law.

ISSUE: Whether or not the national law of the deceased should be applied in determining
the successional rights of his heirs.

HELD: The Supreme Court 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 applies
to Californians domiciled in California and the conflict rule for Californians domiciled
outside of California. Christensen being domiciled in the Philippines, the law of his
domicile must be followed. The case was remanded to the lower court for further
proceedings the determination of the successional rights under Philippine law only.

Read full text here.

Howard Chan is the Founder of Case Digests for Law Students, a website which
provides reliable case digests for law students and researchers who may not have the
time to read lengthy Supreme Court decisions.
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