Archive for the ‘succession’ Category

Teotico vs. Del Val

G.R. No. L-18753, March 26, 1965 – Anna

 

Facts:

Maria Mortera y Balsalobre Vda. de Aguirre died on July 14, 1955 in the City of Manila with no ascendants or descendants. She left properties worth P600,000.00 and  a will written in Spanish which she executed at her residence at No. 2 Legarda St., Quiapo, Manila. She affixed her signature at the bottom of the will and on the left margin of each and every page thereof in the presence of three witnesses  who in turn affixed their signatures below the attestation clause and on the left margin of each and every page of the will in the presence of the testatrix and of each other. Said will was acknowledged before a Notary Public  by the testatrix and her witnesses.

In said will Maria stated among others that  she was possessed of the full use of her mental faculties; that she was free from illegal pressure or influence of any kind from the beneficiaries of the will and from any influence of fear or threat and that she freely and spontaneously executed said will.

She left P20,000.00 to Rene A. Teotico, married to her  niece named Josefina Mortera; and the usufruct of her interest in the Calvo building to the said spouses. However,  the naked ownership of the building was left in equal parts to the legitimate children of said spouses. She also instituted Josefina Mortera as her sole and universal heir to all the remainder of her properties not otherwise disposed of in the will.

Thereafter,  Vicente B. Teotico filed a petition for the probate of the will before the Court of First Instance of Manila. However, Ana del Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted child of Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the testatrix, as well as an acknowledged natural child of Jose Mortera, a deceased brother of the same testatrix.

 

Issues:

(1) Has oppositor Ana del Val Chan the right to intervene in this proceeding?;

(2) Has the will in question been duly admitted to probate?;

(3) Did the probate court commit an error in passing on the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will and in determining who should inherit the portion to be vacated by the nullification of the legacy made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico?

 

Held:

  1. Under the terms of the will, oppositor has no right to intervene because she has no interest in the estate either as heir, executor, or administrator, nor does she have any claim to any property affected by the will, because nowhere in the will was any provision designating her as heir, legatee or devisee of any portion of the estate. She has also no interest in the will either as administratrix or executrix. Neither has she any claim against any portion of the estate because she is not a co-owner thereof.

Additionally, if the will is denied probate, she would not acquire any interest in any portion of the estate left by the testatrix. She would acquire such right only if she were a legal heir of the deceased, but she is not under our Civil Code. It is true that she  claims to be an acknowledged natural child of Jose  and also an adopted daughter of Francisca. But the law does not give her any right to succeed to the estate of Maria because being an illegitimate child she is prohibited by law from succeeding to the legitimate relatives of her natural father. Thus, Article 992 of our Civil Code provides: “An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; … .”

It thus appears that the oppositor has no right to intervene either as testamentary or as legal heir in this probate proceeding contrary to the ruling of the court a quo.

 

  1. On the secon issue, the claim that the will was not properly attested to is contradicted by the evidence of record. The will was duly executed because it was signed by the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses and the notary public in the manner provided for by law.

The claim that the will was procured by improper pressure and influence is also belied by the evidence.

Moreover, the mere claim that Josefina and her husband Rene had the opportunity to exert pressure on the testatrix simply because she lived in their house several years prior to the execution of the will and that she was old and suffering from hypertension in that she was virtually isolated from her friends for several years prior to her death is insufficient to disprove what the instrumental witnesses had testified in court.  The exercise of improper pressure and undue influence must be supported by substantial evidence and must be of a kind that would overpower and subjugate the mind of the testatrix as to destroy her free agency and make her express the will of another rather than her own

 

  1. On the third issue, the question of whether the probate court could determine the intrinsic validity of the provisions of a will has been decided by this Court in a long line of decisions. In Castañeda v. Alemany, the Court had stated, thus:

To establish conclusively as against everyone, and once for all, the facts that a will was executed with the formalities required by law and that the testator was in a condition to make a will, is the only purpose of the proceedings under the new code for the probate of a will.  The judgment in such proceedings determines and can determine nothing more. In them the court has no power to pass upon the validity of any provisions made in the will. It can not decide, for example, that a certain legacy is void and another one is valid.

 

Pursuant to the foregoing precedents the pronouncement made by the court a quo declaring invalid the legacy made to Dr. Rene Teotico in the will Exhibit A must be set aside as having been made in excess of its jurisdiction. Another reason why said pronouncement should be set aside is that the legatee was not given an opportunity to defend the validity of the legacy for he was not allowed to intervene in this proceeding. As a corollary, the other pronouncements touching on the disposition of the estate in favor of some relatives of the deceased should also be set aside for the same reason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Linart vs. Ugarte

G.R. No. L-2599, October 27, 1905 – Leo

 

Facts:

Ramon Iturralde y Gonzalez having died intestate on the 28th of December, 1900, Maria Juana Ugarte e Iturralde asked that she be judicially declared the legitimate heir of the deceased.

There being no legitimate heirs to the estate either in the direct ascendant or descendant line of succession, the petitioner presented herself as a collateral  descendant, that is to say, as the legitimate niece of the deceased.

However, Carmen Linart, through her guardian, Rafaela Pavia, claimed one-half of all of the estate of the deceased, Ramon Iturralde y Gonzalez, and asked at the same time that Maria Juana Ugarte e Iturralde, who had been declared the lawful heir of the deceased.

The father of the petitioner was in the same collateral degree of succession as Maria Juana Ugarte e Iturralde. Pablo Linart, the father of Carmen Linart, was the legitimate son of Maria Josefa Iturralde y Gonzalez, another sister of Ramon Iturralde y Gonzalez

The court below on the 24th of February, 1905, entered judgment declaring that the petitioner had the same right to participate in the inheritance as had Maria Juana Ugarte e Iturralde, and ordered the latter to render an account of the estate, enjoining her, at the same time, from disposing of any part thereof until such accounting had been made and the estate distributed.

 

Issue:

Who has better right over the estate of Ramon Iturralde y Gonzalez.

 

Held:

The High Court reverse the decision of the lower court and held that Carmen Linart has no right to succeed the deceased with said Maria Juana Ugarte e Iturralde, who was once declared to be the lawful heir, and who is now in possession of the estate, as to whom we hereby dissolve the injunction issued from the Court of First Instance, following the rule that the relative nearest in degree excludes those more distant, with the exception of the right of representation in proper cases (art. 921, par. 1 of the Civil Code); and  that the right of representation in the collateral line shall take place only in favor of children of brothers or sisters whether they be of whole or half blood (art. 925, par. 2).

The error which the appellant claims was committed in the court below is very clearly shown. The court below held that the grandniece was entitled to the same share of the estate that the niece was entitled to, when, as a matter of law, the right of representation in the collateral line can only take place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters of the intestate, and the plaintiff in this case is not a daughter of one of the sisters of the deceased. G.R. No. L-18753             1965 -03-26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RABADILLA vs. CA

G.R. No. 113725, June 06, 2000 – Gem

 

Facts:

In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix Aleja Belleza, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, predecessor-in-interest of the herein petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as a devisee of a parcel of land. The said Codicil, which was duly probated before the then CFI of Negros Occidental. Pursuant to the same Codicil, the subject land was transferred to the deceased, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and the Transfer Certificate of Title thereto was issued in his name.Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died and was survived by his wife Rufina and children Johnny (petitioner), Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida, all surnamed Rabadilla.

Respondent brought a complaintbefore the RTC in Bacolod City, against the above-mentioned heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to enforce the provisions of subject Codicil. The Complaint alleged that the defendant-heirs violated the conditions of the Codicil.

The plaintiff then prayed for the reconveyance/return of the subject land to the surviving heirs of the late Aleja Belleza, because it is alleged that petitioner 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 land.

 

Issue:

WON the testamentary institution of Dr. Rabadilla is a modal institution.

 

Held:

YES. The Court of Appeals erred not in ruling that the institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is in the nature of a modal institution and therefore, Article 882 of the New Civil Code is the provision of law in point.From the provisions of the Codicil litigated upon, it can be gleaned unerringly that the testatrix intended that subject property be inherited by Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. It is likewise clearly worded that the testatrix imposed an obligation on the said instituted heir and his successors-in-interest to deliver one hundred piculs of sugar to the herein private respondent, Marlena Coscolluela Belleza, during the lifetime of the latter. However, the testatrix did not make Dr. Jorge Rabadilla’s inheritance and the effectivity of his institution as a devisee, dependent on the performance of the said obligation. It is clear, though, that should the obligation be not complied with, the property shall be turned over to the testatrix’s near descendants. The manner of institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is evidently modal in nature because it imposes a charge upon the instituted heir without, however, affecting the efficacy of such institution.

 

 

Miciano vs. Brimo

G.R. No. L-22595, November 1, 1927 – Krist

 

Facts:

The judicial administrator of the estate of the deceased, Joseph Brimo, filed a scheme of partition. However, one of the brothers of the deceased opposed the said partition.

According to the scheme and its provision, that the deceased requests that all his relatives respect his wishes, otherwise those who opposed the same shall be cancelled in said disposition in favor of the oppositor.

The apellant in the case, who opposed the same, based his opposition on the fact that the deceased was a Turkish citizen, that his disposition should be in accordance with the laws of his nationality.

 

Issue:

WON the disposition shall be made in accordance with Philippine Laws

WON there shall be cancellation of disposition/s in favor of the appellant-oppositor

 

Held:

No, although the disposition provides an express provision that it shall be governed by Philippine Laws and those who opposed the condition of the provisions given shall be cancelled from the disposition, the fact is that the condition itself is void for being contrary to law. Article 792 of the Civil Code provides:

“Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator otherwise provide.”

 

It is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the decedent’s national law, according to Article 10 of the Civil Code, such national law shall govern his testamentary dispositions.

Therefore, the institution of the legatees are unconditional and are valid, as well as those favorable to herein appellant-oppositor.

 

 

Austria vs. Reyes

G.R. No. L-23079 | 1970-02-27 – Karen

 

Facts:

Basilia Austria vda. de Cruz filed with the CIF of Rizal  a petition for probate, ante mortem, of her last will and testament. The probate was opposed by the present petitioners. This opposition was dismissed and the probate of the will was allowed after due hearing.

 

The bulk of the estate of Basilia, admittedly, was destined under the will to pass on to the respondents all of whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children.

 

More than two years after her will was allowed to probate, Basilia died. The respondent Perfecto Cruz was appointed executor without bond by the same court in accordance with the provisions of the decedent’s will, notwithstanding the blocking attempt pursued by the petitioner Ruben Austria.

 

Finally, the present petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest of kin of Basilia, and that the five respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al., had not in fact been adopted by the decedent in accordance with law, in effect rendering these respondents mere strangers to the decedent and without any right to succeed as heirs.

 

Issue:

WON the institution of the heirs would retain efficacy in the event there exists proof that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent was false

 

Held:

YES.

 

Ratio: Article 850 of the Civil Code which reads, “The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written, unless it appears from the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of such cause.”

 

Before the institution of heirs may be annulled under article 850 of the Civil Code, the following requisites must concur: First, the cause for the institution of heirs must be stated in the will; second, the cause must be shown to be false; and third, it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of the cause.

 

From the use of the terms, “sapilitang tagapagmana” (compulsory heirs) and “sapilitang mana” (legitime), that the impelling reason or cause for the institution of the respondents was the testatrix’s belief that under the law she could not do otherwise. If this were indeed what prompted the testatrix in instituting the respondents, she did not make it known in her will. Surely if she was aware that succession to the legitime takes place by operation of law, independent of her own wishes, she would not have found it convenient to name her supposed compulsory heirs to their legitimes. Her express adoption of the rules on legitimes should very well indicate her complete agreement with that statutory scheme. But even this, like the petitioners’ own proposition, is highly speculative of what was in the mind of the testatrix when she executed her will. One fact prevails, however, and it is that the decedent’s will does not state in a specific or unequivocal manner the cause for such institution of heirs. We cannot annul the same on the basis of guesswork or uncertain implications.

 

The phrases, “mga sapilitang tagapagmana” and “sapilitang mana,” were borrowed from the language of the law on succession and were used, respectively, to describe the class of heirs instituted and the abstract object of the inheritance. They offer no absolute indication that the decedent would have willed her estate other than the way she did if she had known that she was not bound by law to make allowance for legitimes. Her disposition of the free portion of her estate (libre disposicion) which largely favored the respondent Perfecto Cruz, the latter’s children, and the children of the respondent Benita Cruz, shows a perceptible inclination on her part to give to the respondents more than what she thought the law enjoined her to give to them. Compare this with the relatively small devise of land which the decedent had left for her blood relatives, including the petitioners Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Mozo and the children of the petitioner Ruben Austria. Were we to exclude the respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al. from the inheritance, then the petitioners and the other nephews and nieces would succeed to the bulk of the testate by intestacy — a result which would subvert the clear wishes of the decedent.

 

Dispositive: The present petition is denied, at petitioners cost.

 

TOLOSA vs. CARGO

A.M. No. 2385 | March 8, 1989

By: Karen P. Lustica

Facts:

 Complainant Jose Tolosa filed with the Court an Affidavit- Complaint seeking the disbarment of respondent District Citizens’ Attorney Alfredo Cargo for immorality. Complainant claimed that respondent had been seeing his (complainant’s) wife Priscilla M. Tolosa in his house and elsewhere. Complainant further alleged that his wife left his conjugal home and went to live with respondent.

Complying with an order of this Court, respondent filed a “Comment and/or Answer” denying the allegations of complainant. Respondent acknowledged that complainant’s wife had been seeing him but that she had done so in the course of seeking advice from respondent (in view of the continuous cruelty and unwarranted marital accusations of affiant [complainant] against her), much as complainant’s mother-in-law had also frequently sought the advice of respondent and of his wife and mother as to what to do about the” continuous quarrels between affiant and his wife and the beatings and physical injuries (sometimes less serious) that the latter sustained from the former.

Complainant filed a Reply to respondent’s “Comment and/or Answer” and made a number of further allegations, to wit:

(a) That complainant’s wife was not the only mistress that respondent had taken;

(b) That respondent had paid for the hospital and medical bills of complainant’s wife last May 1981, and visited her at the hospital everyday;

(c) That he had several times pressed his wife to stop seeing respondent but that she had refused to do so;

(d) That she had acquired new household and electrical appliances where she was living although she had no means of livelihood; and

(e) That respondent was paying for his wife’s house rent.

Respondent filed a Rejoinder denying the further allegations of complainant, and stating that he (respondent) had merely given complainant’s wife the amount of P35.00 by way of financial assistance during her confinement in the hospital.

The Solicitor General found that complainant’s charges of immorality had not been sustained by sufficient evidence. At the same time, however, the Solicitor General found that the respondent had not been able to explain satisfactorily the following:

  1. Respondent’s failure to avoid seeing Priscilla, in spite of complainant’s suspicion and/or jealousy that he was having an affair with his wife.
  2. Priscilla’s being able to rent an apartment in Malabon whose owner is admittedly a friend and former client of respondent.
  3. Respondent’s failure to avoid going to Malabon to visit his friend, in spite of his differences with complainant.
  4. Respondent’s failure to avoid getting involved invarious incidents involving complainant and Priscilla’s brothers
  5. Respondent’s interest in seeing Priscilla in the evening when she was confined in the FEU Hospital, in spite again of his differences with complainant.

 

Issue: WON the respondent should be suspended

Held: NO.

Ratio: The record does not contain sufficient evidence to show that respondent had indeed been cohabiting with complainant’s wife or was otherwise guilty of acts of immorality. For this very reason, we do not believe that the penalty of suspension from the practice of law may be properly imposed upon respondent.

At the same time, the Court agrees that respondent should be reprimanded for failure to comply with the rigorous standards of conduct appropriately required from the members of the Bar and officers of the court. As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards.

 

Dispositive: The Court Resolved to REPRIMAND respondent attorney for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar and an officer of the court, and to WARN him that continuation of the same or similar conduct will be dealt with more severely in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austria vs. Reyes

G.R. No. L-23079 | 1970-02-27

By: Karen P. Lustica

 

Facts: Basilia Austria vda. de Cruz filed with the CIF of Rizal  a petition for probate, ante mortem, of her last will and testament. The probate was opposed by the present petitioners. This opposition was dismissed and the probate of the will was allowed after due hearing.

 

The bulk of the estate of Basilia, admittedly, was destined under the will to pass on to the respondents all of whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children.

 

More than two years after her will was allowed to probate, Basilia died. The respondent Perfecto Cruz was appointed executor without bond by the same court in accordance with the provisions of the decedent’s will, notwithstanding the blocking attempt pursued by the petitioner Ruben Austria.

 

Finally, the present petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest of kin of Basilia, and that the five respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al., had not in fact been adopted by the decedent in accordance with law, in effect rendering these respondents mere strangers to the decedent and without any right to succeed as heirs.

 

Issue: WON the institution of the heirs would retain efficacy in the event there exists proof that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent was false

 

Held: YES.

 

Ratio: Article 850 of the Civil Code which reads, “The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written, unless it appears from the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of such cause.”

 

Before the institution of heirs may be annulled under article 850 of the Civil Code, the following requisites must concur: First, the cause for the institution of heirs must be stated in the will; second, the cause must be shown to be false; and third, it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of the cause.

 

From the use of the terms, “sapilitang tagapagmana” (compulsory heirs) and “sapilitang mana” (legitime), that the impelling reason or cause for the institution of the respondents was the testatrix’s belief that under the law she could not do otherwise. If this were indeed what prompted the testatrix in instituting the respondents, she did not make it known in her will. Surely if she was aware that succession to the legitime takes place by operation of law, independent of her own wishes, she would not have found it convenient to name her supposed compulsory heirs to their legitimes. Her express adoption of the rules on legitimes should very well indicate her complete agreement with that statutory scheme. But even this, like the petitioners’ own proposition, is highly speculative of what was in the mind of the testatrix when she executed her will. One fact prevails, however, and it is that the decedent’s will does not state in a specific or unequivocal manner the cause for such institution of heirs. We cannot annul the same on the basis of guesswork or uncertain implications.

 

The phrases, “mga sapilitang tagapagmana” and “sapilitang mana,” were borrowed from the language of the law on succession and were used, respectively, to describe the class of heirs instituted and the abstract object of the inheritance. They offer no absolute indication that the decedent would have willed her estate other than the way she did if she had known that she was not bound by law to make allowance for legitimes. Her disposition of the free portion of her estate (libre disposicion) which largely favored the respondent Perfecto Cruz, the latter’s children, and the children of the respondent Benita Cruz, shows a perceptible inclination on her part to give to the respondents more than what she thought the law enjoined her to give to them. Compare this with the relatively small devise of land which the decedent had left for her blood relatives, including the petitioners Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Mozo and the children of the petitioner Ruben Austria. Were we to exclude the respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al. from the inheritance, then the petitioners and the other nephews and nieces would succeed to the bulk of the testate by intestacy — a result which would subvert the clear wishes of the decedent.

 

Dispositive: The present petition is denied, at petitioners cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank vs. Escolin

G.R. No. L- 27860 and 27896 | 1974-03-29

By: Karen P. Lustica

 

Facts: Linnie Jane Hodges, an American citizen from Texas, died in Iloilo City leaving a will executed on November 22, 1952

 

In her will, she left all her estate in favor of Charles Newton Hodges, her husband. She also stated in her will that should Charles later die, the said estate shall be turned over to her brother and sister.

 

Charles died while domiciled here. The lawyer of Charles filed a motion before the probate court while there was an ongoing probate on the will of Linnie so that a certain Avelina Magno may be appointed as the administratrix of the estate. Magno was the most trusted employee of the Hodges when they were alive and who had been employed for around thirty (30) years. It was manifested that Charles himself left a will but the same was in an iron trunk in Charles’ office. The judge approved the appointment of Magno as administratrix.

 

Charles’ will was found and so a new petition for probate was filed for the said will. Magno opposed the said petition. The probate of Charles’ will was granted. The Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank was appointed the administrator. Magno refused to turn over the estate.

 

Magno arugued that in her will, Linnie wanted Charles to turn over the property to Linnie’s brother and sister. Magno also contended that Linnie was a Texan at the time of her death and that under Article 16 of the Civil Code, successional rights are governed by Linnie’s national law. Under the Texas law, Linnie’s will shall be respected regardless of the presence of legitimes.

 

PCIB applied the renvoi doctrine –  the law of Texas refers the matter back to Philippine laws because Linnie was domiciled outside Texas at the time of her death.

 

Issues:

 

  1. WON there is a testamentary substitution.
  2. WON the Texas Law should apply

 

Held:

 

  1. NO.
  2. NO.

 

 

 

 

Ratio:

 

  1. We overrule PCIB’s contention that the provision in Mrs. Hodges’ will in favor of her brothers and sisters constitutes ineffective hereditary substitutions. But neither are We sustaining, on the other hand, Magno’s pose that it gave Hodges only a lifetime usufruct. We hold that by said provision, Mrs. Hodges simultaneously instituted her brothers and sisters as co-heirs with her husband, with the condition, however, that the latter would have complete rights of dominion over the whole estate during his lifetime and what would go to the former would be only the remainder thereof at the time of Hodges’ death. In other words, whereas they are not to inherit only in case of default of Hodges, on the other hand, Hodges was not obliged to preserve anything for them. Clearly then, the essential elements of testamentary substitution are absent; the provision in question is a simple case of conditional simultaneous institution of heirs, whereby the institution of Hodges is subject to a partial resolutory condition the operative contingency of which is coincidental with that of the suspensive condition of the institution of his brothers and sisters-in-law, which manner of institution is not prohibited by law.

 

  1. We also hold, however, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by her brothers and sisters could be more than just stated, but this would depend on (1) whether upon the proper application of the principle of renvoi in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, it will appear that Hodges had no legitime as contended by Magno, and (2) whether or not it can be held that Hodges had legally and effectively renounced his inheritance from his wife. Under the circumstances presently obtaining and in the state of the record of these cases, as of now, the Court is not in a position to make a final ruling, whether of fact or of law, on any of these two issues, and We, therefore, reserve said issues for further proceedings and resolution in the first instance by the court a quo, as hereinabove indicated. We reiterate, however, that pending such further proceedings, as matters stand at this stage, Our considered opinion is that it is beyond cavil that since, under the terms of the will of Mrs. Hodges, her husband could not have anyway legally adjudicated or caused to be adjudicated to himself her whole share of their conjugal partnership, albeit he could have disposed any part thereof during his lifetime, the resulting estate of Mrs. Hodges, of which Magno is the uncontested administratrix, cannot be less than one-fourth of the conjugal partnership properties, as of the time of her death, minus what, as explained earlier, have been gratuitously disposed of therefrom, by Hodges in favor of third persons since then, for even if it were assumed that, as contended by PCIB, under Article 16 of the Civil Code and applying renvoi the laws of the Philippines are the ones ultimately applicable, such one-fourth share would be her free disposable portion, taking into account already the legitime of her husband under Article 900 of the Civil Code.

 

 

Dispositive: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition.

 

Testate Estate of Bellis vs. Bellis

G.R. No. L-23678  June 6, 1967

By: Karen P. Lustica

 

 

Facts: Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was “a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States.” By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had five legitimate children; by his second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate children; and finally, he had three illegitimate children.

 

On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of administration are paid for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the following order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife; (b) P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and second wives, in equal shares.

 

Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A on July 8, 1958. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on September 15, 1958.

 

The People’s Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children, Amos, Maria Cristina and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies.

 

In the project of partition, the executor — pursuant to the “Twelfth” clause of the testator’s Last Will and Testament — divided the residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator’s seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages.

 

Maria Cristina and Miriam Palma filed their respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased. Amos Jr. interposed no opposition.

 

Relying upon Article 16 of the Civil Code, the lower court applied the national law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law, which did not provide for legitimes.

 

Issue: WON the Texas Law or the Philippine Law must apply

 

Held: The Texas Law on legitimes should be applied.

 

Ratio: In the present case, it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death.

 

Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights; (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed. They provide that,

 

ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated.

 

However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to 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, whatever may he the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found.

 

ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent.

 

The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.

 

Dispositive: The order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto, with costs against appellants.

 

GAYON VS. GAYON

G.R. No. L-28394     November 26, 1970

By: Karen P. Lustica

 

 

Facts: Pedro Gayon filed said complaint against the spouses Silvestre Gayon and Genoveva de Gayon, alleging substantially that, said spouses executed a deed whereby they sold to Pedro Gelera, for the sum of P500.00, a parcel of unregistered land subject to redemption; that said right of redemption had not been exercised by Silvestre Gayon, Genoveva de Gayon, or any of their heirs or successors.

In her answer to the complaint, Mrs. Gayon alleged that her husband, Silvestre Gayon, died on January 6, 1954, long before the institution of this case; that the deed to the complaint is fictitious, for the signature thereon purporting to be her signature is not hers; that neither she nor her deceased husband had ever executed “any document of whatever nature in plaintiff’s favor”; that the complaint is malicious and had embarrassed her and her children; that the heirs of Silvestre Gayon had to “employ the services of counsel for a fee of P500.00 and incurred expenses of at least P200.00”; and that being a brother of the deceased Silvestre Gayon, plaintiff “did not exert efforts for the amicable settlement of the case” before filing his complaint. She prayed, therefore, that the same be dismissed and that plaintiff be sentenced to pay damages.

Later on, she filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that, in view of the death of Silvestre Gayon, there is a “necessity of amending the complaint to suit the genuine facts on record.” The lower court issued the order appealed from, contending that Silvestre Gayon is the absolute owner of the land in question, and considering the fact that Silvestre Gayon is now dead and his wife Genoveva de Gayon has nothing to do with the land subject of plaintiff’s complaint, as prayed for, this case is hereby dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs.

Issue: WON Genoveva De Gayon has an interest with the land subject of the plaintiff’s complaint

Held: Yes.

Ratio: As a widow, she is one of her deceased husband’s compulsory heirs [Art. 887(3), Civil Code] and has, accordingly, an interest in the property in question.

Inasmuch as succession takes place by operation of law, “from the moment of the death of the decedent” (Arts. 774 and 777, Civil Code) and “the inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death,” (Art. 776, Civil Code) it follows that if his heirs were included as defendants, they would be sued, not as “representatives” of the decedent, but as owners  of an aliquot interest in the property in question, even if the precise extent of their interest may still be undetermined and they have derived it from the decedent. Hence, they may be sued without a previous declaration of heirship, provided there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the decedent.

Dispositive: The order appealed from is hereby set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for the inclusion, as defendant or defendants therein, of the administrator or executor of the estate of Silvestre Gayon, if any, in lieu of the decedent, or, in the absence of such administrator or executor, of the heirs of the deceased Silvestre Gayon, and for further proceedings, not inconsistent with this decision, with the costs of this instance against defendant-appellee, Genoveva de Gayon.