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Case Digest

The Case. - MARIA SOCORRO AVELINO, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS, ANGELINA AVELINO,
SHARON AVELINO, ANTONIO AVELINO, JR., TRACY AVELINO, PATRICK MICHAEL AVELINO and MARK
ANTHONY AVELINO, respondents. G.R. No. 115181. March 31, 2000

Facts. - In 1989, Antonio Avelino, Sr. died intestate. In 1991, his daughter, Maria Socorro Avelino
filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration of the estate of his deceased father. All the other
heirs however opposed the petition and they moved that the petition be converted into an action for
judicial partition of the said estate. The trial court granted the opposition’s motion and so Socorro’s petition
was converted accordingly. Socorro’s motion for reconsideration was denied. Socorro then filed a petition
for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of the trial court in granting the other heirs motion. The Court of Appeals found no
reversible error. Socorro elevated the petition to the Supreme Court. She insists that a partition cannot be
had because the extent of the estate is not yet determined hence an administration proceeding is still
needed. She also insists that the Rules of Court does not provide for a conversion of a petition for
administration to an action for partition.

Issue. - Whether or not Socorro’s petition for the issuance of letters of administration may be
converted into an action for judicial partition.

Held. - Yes. This can be based on Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. Where the more
expeditious remedy of partition is available to the heirs, then the heirs or the majority of them may not be
compelled to submit to administration proceedings. In this case, all the heirs, with the exception of Socorro,
agreed to judicial partition as they see it to be the more convenient method. There is no merit to the
contention of Socorro that a partition cannot be had because the extent of the estate is not yet
determined. The extent of the estate can actually be determined during the partition proceedings.
Therefore, the trial court made no error in converting Socorro’s petition to an action for judicial partition.

Doctrines learned. – (1) When a person dies intestate, or, if testate, failed to name an executor in
his will or the executor so named is incompetent, or refuses the trust, or fails to furnish the bond required by
the Rules of Court, then the decedent’s estate shall be judicially administered and the competent court
shall appoint a qualified administrator in the order established in Section 6 of Rule 78.

(2) The exceptions to this rule are found in Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 74 which provide: “SECTION 1.
Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs.—If the decedent left no will and no debts and the
heirs are all of age or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for
the purpose, the parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among
themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and
should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition…

(3) When a person dies without leaving pending obligations, his heirs, are not required to submit the
property for judicial administration, nor apply for the appointment of an administrator by the court.

(4) Where the more expeditious remedy of partition is available to the heirs, then the heirs or the majority of
them may not be compelled to submit to administration proceedings, and the court may convert an heir’s
action for letters of administration into a suit for judicial partition, upon motion of the other heirs.

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