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Case digests

RABADILLA vs. CA (JUNE 29, 2000)
In the Codicil of testatrix, Dr. Rabadilla was instituted as a devisee of Lot No. 1392 contained the
following provisions among others:

Rabadilla shall have the obligation until he dies, every year to give to Belleza 100 piculs of
sugar until Belleza dies;
Should Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give Lot No. 1392 shall have the obligation to
still give yearly, the sugar as specified to Belleza.
In the event that the lot is sold, leased, or mortgaged, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee shall have
also the obligation to respect and deliver yearly sugar to Belleza. Should the command be not
respected Belleza shall immediately seize the lot and turn it over to the testarix near

Not a case of simple substitution. In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in
default of the first heir by reason of incapacity, predecease or renunciation. The Codicil fo not provide
that should Dr. Rebadilla default due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the testatrixs near
descendants would substitute him. What the Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or his
heirs not fulfill the conditions imposed int he Codicil, the property referred to shall be seizeddddd and
turned over to the testanixs near descendants.
Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution. In a fideicommissary substitution, the first heir is
strictly mandated to preserve the propert and to transmit the same later to the second their. Here, the
instituted heir is in fact allowed under the Codicil to alienate the property provided the negotiation is
wih the near descendants or the sister of teh testatrix. Thus, a very important element of a
fideicommissary substitution is lacking, the obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir, the
preservation of the property and its transmission to the second heir. Also, the near descendants right
to inherit from the testatrix is not definite. The property will only pass to them should Dr. Rabadilla of
his heirs not fulfill the obligation to deliver part of the usufruct to private respondent. Moreover,
fideicommissary substitution is void if the first heir is not related by first degree to the second heir. In
the case under scrutiny, the near descendants are not all related to the instituted heir, Dr. Rabadilla.
Not a conditional institution. It is clear that the testatrix intended that the lot be inherited by Dr.
Rabadilla. It is likewise clearly worded that the testatrix imposed an obligation on the said instituted
heir and his successors-in-interest to deliver sugar to Belleza, during the lifetime of the latter.
However, the testatrix did not make Dr. Rabadillas 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 compiled wiht the property shall be turned over to the testatrix near descendants.
Since testamentary dispositions are generally acts of liberality an obligation imposed upon the heir
should not be considered a condition unless it clearly appears from the Will itself that such was the
intention of the testator. In case of doubt, the institution should be considered as modal anot
The manner of institution of Dr. Rabadilla is modal in nature because it imposes a charge upon the
instituted heir without, however, affecting the efficacy of such institution. A mode imposes an
obligation upon the heirrrrr or legatee but it does not affect the efficacy of his rights to the succession.
On the other hand, in a conditional testamentary disposition, the condition must happen or be fulfilled
in order for the heir to be entitled to succeed the testator. The condition suspends but does not
obligate; and the mode obligates but does not suspend. To some extent, it is similar to a resolutary



Statutory-will-making is merely a privilege, not an inherent right. The law can without
testamentary power. Hence, will must be, subordinated to law land policy (Herreros vs Gil 88
Phil 260)

Montinola vs Herbosa
FACTS: Montinola filed an action against the heirs of Dr. Jose Rizal for recovery of
possession of personal property (the RIZAL RELICS) allegedly sold to him by Doa
Trinidad Rizal. The trial court held that neither party is entitled to the possession of such
property, relying principally on the fact that in Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios, there is a line
where Rizal bequeathed all his property to the Filipino people. The court argued that the
handwritten work of Rizal constitutes a holographic will giving the State all his property.
ISSUE: Does Mi Ultimo Adios constitute a last will?
HELD: No. An instrument which merely expresses a last wish as a thought or advice but
does not contain a disposition of property, and executed without Animus Standi cannot
be legally considered a will. Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios is but a literary piece of work, and
was so intended. It may be considered a will in a grammatical sense but not in a legal or
juridical sense. Moreover, it also lacks the requirements of a holographic will such as a
statement of the year month and day of its execution and his signature.

Merza vs Porras
93 PHIL 142





FACTS: Pilar Montealegre died leaving a will (Exhibit A) and a so-called codicil (Exhibit
B), disinheriting her husband Pedro Porras and some of her relatives. The two
documents were submitted to probate but were denied by the trial court, upon the
grounds such as the defect of the attestation clause on Exh. A and that Exh. cannot be
considered a codicil for it was executed by the testator a day before Exhibit A, thus it
cannot be included in the probate proceedings.
ISSUE: Should a document, expressly disinheriting certain heirs, executed by the
testator prior to a supposed last will, be probated?
HELD: Yes. The trial court and the CA is correct that Exhibit B having been executed one
day before Exhibit A could not be considered as a codicil "because a codicil, as the word
implies, is only an addition to, or modification of, the will." The Court of Appeals added

that "the contents of Exhibit B are couched in the language ordinarily used in a simple
affidavit and as such, may not have the legal effect and force to a testamentary
However, Exhibit B does partake of the nature of a will. A will is defined in article 667 of
the Civil code of Spain as "the act by which a person dispose of all his property or a
portion of it," and in article 783 of the new Civil Code as "an act whereby a person is
permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the
disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death. Exhibit B comes within this

Merza and Seangio


Disposition of Property a will must contain a disposition of property. It may be direct

disposition or indirect disposition, like a will containing only a disinheritance of an heir. (Merza
vs Porras[93 Phl 142]); Reiterated in SEANGIO versus REYES, Gr No. 149753

MITUG vs CA (183 SCRA 755)
The Survivorship Agreement executed between husband and wife over their joint savings account
stipulates that when either of them dies, the balance of the savings account shall belong to the
one who survives.
Held: The will must purport to deliver ones separate properties in favor of another. Hence, if
husband and wife have a joint savings account and they merely agree in an instrument that when
either of them dies, the balance of the savings account shall belong to the one who survives, this is
not a will because the account is their joint holding.

Castaneda vs alemany
3 PHIL 426





FACTS: Appellant constested the validity of the will of Doa Juana Moreno upon the
ground that although the attestation clause in the will states that the testator signed

the will in the presence of three witnesses who also each signed in each presence, the
will was not actually written by the testator.
ISSUE: Is it necessary that a will be written by the testator herself?
HELD: No. Section 618 of the Civil Code requires (1) that the will be in writing and (2)
either that the testator sign it himself or, if he does not sign it, that it be signed by some
one in his presence and by his express direction. Who does the mechanical work of
writing the will is a matter of indifference. The fact, therefore, that in this case the will
was typewritten in the office of the lawyer for the testratrix is of no consequence.

Dizon Rivera vs Dizon

MARINA DIZON-RIVERA, executrix-appellee,
ANGELINA DIZON and LILIA DIZON, oppositors-appellants.
33 SCRA 554 (1970)

The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect, rather
than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative. Of the two projects of partition submitted by
the contending parties, that project which will give the greatest effect to the testamentary disposition should
be adopted. Thus, where the testatrix enumerated the specific properties to be given to each compulsory heir
and the testatrix repeatedly used the words "I bequeath" was interpreted to mean a partition of the estate by an
act mortis causa, rather than as an attempt on her part to give such properties as devises to the designated
beneficiaries. Accordingly, the specific properties assigned to each compulsory heir were deemed to be in
full or partial payment of legitime, rather than a distribution in the nature of devises.

The tenor of the decision notwithstanding, it is important to note the provision of Article 886 which reads:
"Legitime is that part of the testator's property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for
certain heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs." Article 886 is couched upon a negative prohibition
"cannot dispose of". In the will under consideration, the testatrix disposed of practically her entire estate by
designating a beneficiary for each property. Necessarily, the testamentary dispositions included that portion of
the estate called "legitime." It is thus imperative to reconcile the tenor of Article 1080 (which is the basis of
the following decision) with Article 886.

FACTS: In 1961, Agripina Valdez (widow) died and was survived by seven compulsory heirs: 6 legitimate
children and 1 legitimate granddaughter. Marina is the appellee while the others were the appellants
1. Valdez left a w ill executed in February 1960 and written in Pampango. The beneficiaries were the 7

compulsory heirs and six grandchildren

2. In her will, Valdez distributed and disposed of her properties (assessed at P1.8 million) which
included real and personal properties and shares of stocks at Pampanga Sugar Central Devt Co
3. During the probate proceedings, Marina (appellee) was name the executor of the deceaseds estate
4. In her will, Valdez commanded that her property be divided in accordance with her testamentary
disposition where she devised and bequeathed specific real properties comprising almost her entire
estate among her heirs. Based on the partition, Marina and Tomas were to receive more than the
other heirs
5. Subsequently, Marina filed her project of partition adjudicating the estate as follows:
a. the legitime computed for each compulsory heir was P129,254.96, which was comprised of cash
and/or properties specifically given to them based on the will
b. Marina and Tomas were adjudicated the properties that they received in the will less the
cash/properties to complete their respective legitime
6. The other heirs opposed the partition and proposed a counter-partition on the estate where Marina
and Tomas were to receive considerably less
7. The lower court approved the executors project of partition citing that Art 906 and 907 NCC
specifically provide that when the legitime is impaired or prejudiced, the same shall be completed.
The court cited that if the proposition of the oppositors was upheld, it will substantially result in a
distribution of intestacy which is a violation of Art 791 NCC
ISSUE: WON the last will of the deceased is to be considered controlling in this case

HELD: Yes. Art 788 and 791 NCC provide that "If a testamentary disposition admits of different
interpretations, in case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative shall be
preferred" and "The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some
effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting
a will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy." In Villanueva v. Juico, the SC held that "the
intentions and wishes of the testator, when clearly expressed in his will, constitute the fixed law of
interpretation, and all questions raised at the trial, relative to its execution and fulfillment, must be
settled in accordance therewith, following the plain and literal meaning of the testator's words, unless
it clearly appears that his intention was otherwise."

The testator's wishes and intention constitute the first and principal law in the matter of testaments, and to
paraphrase an early decision of the Supreme Court of Spain, when expressed clearly and precisely in his last
will, amount to the only law whose mandate must imperatively be faithfully obeyed and complied with by his
executors, heirs and devisees and legatees, and neither these interested parties nor the courts may substitute
their own criterion for the testator's will. Thus, the oppositors proposition for partition cannot be given effect.

ON PARTITION: The testamentary disposition of the decedent was in the nature of a partition. In her
will, the decedent noted that after commanding that upon her death all her obligations as well as the expenses
of her last illness and funeral and the expenses for the probate of her last will and for the administration of her
property in accordance with law, be paid, she expressly provided that "it is my wish and I command that
my property be divided" in accordance with the dispositions immediately thereafter following,
whereby she specified each real property in her estate and designated the particular heir among her
seven compulsory heirs and seven other grandchildren to whom she bequeathed the same. This was a

valid partition of her estate, as contemplated and authorized in the first paragraph of Art 1080 NCC,
providing that "Should a person make a partition of his estate by an act inter vivos or by will, such
partition shall be respected, insofar as it does not prejudice the legitime of the compulsory heirs."

CAB: This was properly complied with in the executors project of partition as the oppositors were
adjudicated the properties respectively distributed and assigned to them by the decedent in her will and the
differential to complete their legitimes were taken from the cash and/or properties of Marina and Tomas, who
were obviously favored by the decedent in her will.

Aside from the provisions of Art 906 and 907, other codal provisions support the executrix-appellee's project
of partition as approved by the lower court rather than the counter-project of partition proposed by
oppositors-appellants whereby they would reduce the testamentary disposition or partition made by the
testatrix to one-half and limit the same, which they would consider as mere devises and legacies, to one-half
of the estate as the disposable free portion, and apply the other half of the estate to payment of the legitimes
of the seven compulsory heirs. Oppositors' proposal would amount substantially to a distribution by intestacy
and pro tanto nullify the testatrix's will, contrary to Art 791 NCC.

EFFECT OF PARTITION: 'A partition legally made confers upon each heir the exclusive ownership of the
property adjudicated to him", from the death of her ancestors, subject to rights and obligations of the latter,
and, she cannot be deprived of her rights thereto except by the methods provided for by law

DEVISES: The adjudication and assignments in the testatrix's will of specific properties to specific heirs
cannot be considered all devises, for it clearly appears from the whole context of the will and the dispositions
by the testatrix of her whole estate (save for some small properties of little value already noted at the
beginning of this opinion) that her clear intention was to partition her whole estate through her will.
Furthermore, the testatrix's intent that her testamentary dispositions were by way of adjudications to the
beneficiaries as heirs and not as mere devisees, and that said dispositions were therefore on account of the
respective legitimes of the compulsory heirs is expressly borne out in the fourth paragraph of her will,
immediately following her testamentary adjudications in the third paragraph in this wise: "FOURTH: I
likewise command that in case any of those I named as my heirs in this testament any of them shall die before
I do, his forced heirs under the law enforced at the time of my death shall inherit the properties I bequeath to
said deceased."

COLLATION: Collation is not applicable in this case because here, distribution and partition of the entire
estate was made by the testatrix, without her having made any previous donations during her lifetime which
would require collation to determine the legitime of each heir nor having left merely some properties by will
which would call for the application of Art 1061 to 1063 of the Civil Code on collation.

demand completion of their legitime under Article 906 of the Civil Code and this has been complied with in

the approved project of partition, and they can no longer demand a further share from the remaining portion
of the estate, as bequeathed and partitioned by the testatrix principally to the executrix-appellee.

Vda. De Villanueva vs Juico

In the will of the testator he bequeathed in favor of his wife certain properties for her use and
possession while alive and she does not contract a second marriage otherwise, the properties shall
pass to the testators grandniece. It was contended that the title to the properties became absolutely
vested in the estate of the window upon her death, on account of the fact that she never remarried.
Held: The grandniece is entitled to the properties for the plain intent of the testator was to invest his
widow only with a lifetime usufruct subject to the condition that if she remarried, her rights would
thereupon cease even during her lifetime. It would have been different, had he given her full
ownership because not having remarried, the grand niece could not inherit from her. This is in contrast
with the remainder of the estate in which she was instituted universal heir together with the testators
brother. If the testator had intended to impose as sole condition the non-remarriage of his widow, the
words use and possession while alive would have been unnecessary, since she could only remarry
during her own lifetime.

Del Rosario vs Del Rosario 2 P 321 N/A

Balanay vs Martinez
BALANAY, JR. V. MARTINEZ, 64 SCRA 454 (1975)
DOCTRINE: Balanay stresses the jurisdiction of the probate court. Unless the
nullity of the will is patent on its face, the probate court should first pass
upon the extrinsic validity of the will before passing upon its substantive
validity. Hence, the distinction between this case and Nuguid
Upon the other hand, while the court correctly modified the husband's
right to waive his hereditary right with respect to the estate of the deceased
spouse, and his right to waive his half share in the conjugal estate, pursuant to
the provisions of Articles 750 and 752 of the Civil Code, the court was silent on
the validity of the husband's conformity to the distribution of the conjugal
estate in accordance with the terms of the will of the wife. Obviously, the court
assumed the validity of the renunciation of the husband of his share in the
conjugal estate. Such waiver, however, may fall into one of two possible

categories, i.e., inter vivos or mortis causa. If it was a waiver effective inter
vivos, then it would have amounted to a donation to inter vivos to the wife.
That would have been illegal under existing laws. On the other hand, if it was a
waiver mortis causa, then the formalities of a will should have been observed,
failing which, the waiver would be void. Furthermore, the waiver mortis causa
would have required the wife to survive the husband. In either case, the
alleged waiver by the husband of his half share in the conjugal estate resulted
in a transmission of property to the wife. And consequently, a characterization
of such waiver along the parameters mentioned above is necessary and
inescapable. The fundamental question, therefore, that demands an answer is
whether or not a husband or wife could waive his or her share in the conjugal
estate in favor of the other by an act inter vivos. We exclude, however, a
waiver resulting from a successful petition for separation of property, and the
liquidation of the conjugal partnership (or for that matter, the absolute
community of property) resulting from the issuance of a decree of annulment
or a decree of nullity.

It may be surmised that the validity of the waiver had to be assumed,

properly or improperly, otherwise the case will fall under the provision of
Article 784 which categorically states that the making of a will is strictly a
personal act, and that the exercise of testamentary discretion cannot be
delegated by a person to another. In any case, Balanay leaves many questions
unanswered. Let alone the fact that the decision did not discuss why the
husband was not preterited within the meaning of Article 854.

FACTS: Felix Balanay Jr. Appelaed the order of the CFI, declaring illegal and
void the will of his mother, Leodegaria Julian, converting the testate
proceeding into an intestate proceeding and ordering the issuance of the
corresponding notice to creditors
1. Leodegaria Julian, a native of Sta Maria, Ilocos Sur, died on February 12,
1973 in Davao City at the age of sixty-seven. She was survived by her
husband, Felix Balanay, Sr., and by their six legitimate children, namely,
Felix Balanay, Jr., Avelina B. Antonio, Beatriz B. Solamo, Carolina B.
Manguiob, Delia B. Lanaban and Emilia B. Pabaonon.
2. Felix J. Balanay, Jr. filed in the lower court a petition.for the probate of his
mother's notarial will.
3. In paragraph V of the will she stated that after her husband's death (he
was eighty-two years old in 1973) her paraphernal lands and all the







conjugal lands (which she described as "my properties") should be

divided and distributed in the manner set forth in that part of her will.
She devised and partitioned the conjugal lands as if they were all owned
by her. She disposed of in the will her husband's one-half share of the
conjugal assets.
Felix Balanay, Sr. and Avelina B. Antonio opposed the probate of the will
on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence,
preterition of the husband and alleged improper partition of the conjugal
Felix Balanay, Jr. attached an affidavit of Felix Balanay, Sr. dated April 18,
1973 wherein he withdrew his opposition to the probate of the will and
affirmed that he was interested in its probate. On the same date Felix
Balanay, Sr. signed an instrument captioned "Conformation (sic) of
Division and Renunciation of Hereditary Rights" wherein he manifested
that out of respect for his wife's will he "waived and renounced" his
hereditary rights in her estate in favor of their six children.
Avelina B. Antonio, an oppositor, in her rejoinder contended that the
affidavit and "conformation" of Felix Balanay, Sr. were void. The lower
court in its order of June 18, 1973 "denied" the opposition and reset for
hearing the probate of the will. It gave effect to the affidavit and
conformity of Felix Balanay, Sr.
Another lawyer appeared in the case, Atty. David O. Montana, claiming to
be the lawyer of petitioner Felix Balanay, Jr. filed a motion dated
September 25, 1973 for "leave of court to withdraw probate of alleged
will of Leodegaria Julian and requesting authority to proceed by intestate
estate proceeding." Avelina B. Antonio and Delia B. Lanaban, thorugh
Atty. Jose B. Guyo, manifested their conformity with the motion for the
issuance of a notice to the creditor.
The lower court, acting on the motions of Atty. Montana and Atty. Guyo
assumed that the issuance of a notice to creditors was in order. It
adopted the view of Attys. Montana and Guyo that the will was void. It
dismissed the petition for probate and converted the testate proceeding
into an intestate proceeding.
Felix Balanay, Jr., through a new counsel, Roberto M. Sarenas, in a
verified motion dated April 15, 1974, asked for the reconsideration of the
lower court's order of February 28, 1974 on the ground that Atty.
Montana had no authority to withdraw the petition for the allowance of
the will.

ISSUE: WON the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of
the will, before ruling on its allowance or formal validity, and in declaring the
will void.

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.
Where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be
passed upon, even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue.

But the probate court erred in declaring in its order of February 28, 1974 that
the will was void and in converting the testate proceeding into an intestate
proceeding notwithstanding the fact that in its order of June 18, 1973 it 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" (Art. 792, Civil Code). "Where
some of the provisions of a will are valid and others invalid, the valid parts will
be upheld if they can be separated from the invalid without defeating the
intention of the testator or interfering with the general testamentary scheme,
or doing injustice to the beneficiaries"

The statement of the testatrix that she owned the "southern half" of the
conjugal lands is contrary to law because, although she was a co-owner
thereof, her share was inchoate and pro indiviso (Art. 143, Civil Code). But that
illegal declaration does not nullify the entire will.

Felix Balanay, Sr. could validly renounce his hereditary rights and his one-half
share of the conjugal partnership (Art. 179(1) and 1041, Civil Code), but insofar
as said renunciation partakes of a donation of his hereditary rights and his onehalf share in the conjugal estate (Art. 1050(1), Civil Code), it should be subject
to the limitations prescribed in articles 750 and 752 of the Civil Code. A portion

of the estate should be adjudicated to the widower for his support and
maintenance. Or at least his legitime should be respected.

The will is intrinsically valid and the partition therein may be given effect if it
does not prejudice the creditors and impair the legitimes. The distribution and
partition would become effective upon the death of Felix Balanay, Sr. In the
meantime, the net income should be equitably divided among the children and
the surviving spouse.

It should be stressed that by reason of the surviving husband's conformity to

his wife's will and his renunciation of his hereditary rights, his one-half conjugal
share became a part of his deceased wife's estate. His conformity had the
effect of validating the partition made in paragraph V of the will without
prejudice, of course, to the rights of the creditors and the legitimes of the
compulsory heirs.

Article 793 of the Civil Code provides that "property acquired after the making
of the will shall only pass thereby, as if the testator had possessed it at the
time of making the will, should it expressly appear by the will that such was his
intention." Under article 930 of the Civil Code, "the legacy of devise of a thing
belonging to another person is void, if the testator erroneously believed that
the thing pertained to him. But if the thing bequeathed, though not belonging
to the testator when he made the will, afterwards becomes his by whatever
title, the disposition shall take effect."

In the instant case there is no doubt that the testatrix and her husband
intended to partition the conjugal estate in the manner set forth in paragraph
V of her will. It is true that she could dispose of by will her half of the conjugal
estate (Art. 170, Civil Code) but since the husband, after the dissolution of the
conjugal partnership, had assented to her testamentary partition of the
conjugal estate, such partition has become valid, assuming that the will may
be probated. In the instant case, the preterited heir was the surviving spouse.
His preterition did not produce intestacy. Moreover, he signified his conformity
to his wife's will and renounced his hereditary rights.

It results that the lower court erred in not proceeding with the probate of the
will as contemplated in its uncancelled order of June 18, 1973.
Testacy is favored. Doubts are resolved in favor of testacy especially where the
will evinces an intention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his
whole estate. So compelling is the principle that intestacy should be avoided
and that the wishes of the testator should prevail that sometimes the language
of the will can be varied for the purpose of giving it effect.

Estate of rigor vs rigor 89 S 493 n/a

Villaflor vs Juico Feb 28, 1962 n/a

Yambad vs Gonzales
Appellant filed an action against the appellees that the latter employ the former as tenant during his
lifetime on parcels of land bequeathed to the appellees. The lower court ruled that the provisions of
the will relied upon by the appellant merely amount to a suggestion to appellees, who, through morally
bound, are not legally compelled to follow said suggestion because the word pahintulutan employed
with the reference to the working of appellant on the lands only means to permit or to allow but not to
direct appellees to appoint appellant as tenant.
Held: lower court is wrong. The real import of the wish of the testatrix for her will contains a clear
directive to employ appellant as may be seen from the words preceding the word pahintulutan which
say: Dapat din naman malaman ng dalawa kong tagapagmana ... na sila ay may dapat tungkulin o
gampanan gaya ng sumusunod. The words tungkulin o gampanan mean to do or to carry out as a
mandate or directive and having reference to the word pahintulutan, can convey no other meaning
than to impose a duty upon the appellees.

In re will of Riosa 39P23 n/a

Enriquz v Abadia
Enriquez v. Abadia [95 Phil. 627]
On September 6, 1923, Father Sancho Abadia, parish priest of Talisay, Cebu, executed a document
purporting to be his Last Will and Testament. He died on January 14, 1943. The will was a holographic

will; that it was in the handwriting of the testator and that although at the time it was executed and at
the time of the testators death, holographic wills were not permitted by law still, because at the time
of the hearing and when the case was to be decided the new Civil Code was already in force, which
Code permitted the execution of holographic wills, under a liberal view, and to carry out the intention
of the testator which according to the trial court is the controlling factor and may override any defect
in form, said trial court by order dated January 24, 1952, admitted to probate the Last Will and
Testament of Father Sancho Abadia.
HELD: The formal validity of a will depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is
made, not by the law in force at the time of the testators death, or at the time the supposed will is
presented in court for probate, or when the petition is decided by the court. Consequently, the validity
of a will is not affected by the subsequent amendment of the law with respect to formalities after the
execution of the will, whether before or after the death of the testator. Where a will was void for failure
to observe certain formalities under the law then in force, a subsequent law lessening or dispensing
with said formalities cannot be applied so as to validate the void will. Thus, the fact that the New Civil
Code allows a holographic will does not validate one made before its effectivity and void under the
prevailing law.

Ibarle vs Po
92 PHIL 721





FACTS: Leonardo Winstanley died leaving a parcel of land to his surviving spouse
Catalina Navarro and some minor children. Catalina sold the entire parcel of land to
Maria Canoy who later sold the same land to the plaintiff Bienvenido Ibarle. After some
time, after her appointment as guardian of her minor children, Catalina again sold 1/2 of
the land in question, which portion now belonged to the children as heirs, to herein
defendant Esperanza Po.
ISSUE: Which sale was valid, and who has the rightful claim to the property?
HELD: The sale to defendant is valid. Article 657 of the old Civil Code provides: "The
rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death." in a
slightly different language, this article is incorporated in the new Civil Code as article
The above provision and comment make it clear that when Catalina Navarro Vda. de
Winstanley sold the entire parcel to the Canoy spouses, one-half of it already belonged
to the seller's children. No formal or judicial declaration being needed to confirm the
children's title, it follows that the first sale was null and void in so far as it included the
On the other hand, the sale to the defendant having been made by authority of the
competent court was undeniably legal and effective. The fact that it has not been
recorded is of no consequence. If registration were necessary, still the non-registration
would not avail the plaintiff because it was due to no other cause than his own

Testate estate of the late abada

Testate Estate of the Late Alipio Abada v. Baja [G.R. No. 147145, January 31, 2005]
Abada executed his notarial will on June 4, 1932 but he died when the New Civil Code took effect. The
will was not acknowledged before a notary public. Is the will valid?
HELD: YES. The laws in force at that time are the Civil Code of 1889 or the Old Civil Code and Act No.
190 or the Code of Civil Procedure which governed the execution of wills before the enactment of the
New Civil Code. The Code of Civil Procedure repealed Article 685 of the Old Civil Code. Under the Code
of Civil Procedure, the intervention of a notary is not necessary in the execution of any will. Therefore,
Abadas will does not require acknowledgement before a notary public.

Extrinsic Validity from the Viewpoint of Place (Country)

A. Testator is a Filipino who executes will in the Philippines. Observe Philippine Laws (NCC) Art. 17
B. Testator is a Filipino who executes will abroad before the diplomatic or consular officials of the
Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country: Observe Philippine Laws (NCC) Art. 17
C. Testator is a Filipino who executes will abroad. Observe:
1. Law of the place where he may be Article 815
2. Law of the place where he executes the will Article 17 (essentially same with 815, because
law of place where he executes the will is the law of the place where he may be)
3. Law of the Philippines (because Art. 815 merely says is authorized meaning, he principally
has to follow Philippine Law but is (permitted or authorized to follow the law of the place where he may
D. Testator is an alien who executes will abroad: (observe:
1. Law of the place of his residence or domicile Article 816
2. Law of his own country or nationality Article 816
3. Philippine Law (NCC) Article 816
4. Law of the Place where will is executed Article 17
Example: Tan American Citizen who has his residence in Japan and who executes a will in Germany.
E. Testator is an alien who executes a will in the Philippines. Observe:
1. Law of his country or nationality - Article 817
2. Law of the place where will is executed (Philippines) Article 17
Example: X a Japanese who executes will in the Philippines may observe Japanese law or Philippine
Intrinsic Validity from the Viewpoint of Time
The law at the time of the death of the testator or when the succession opens because it is at
that time when the rights are transmitted to the heirs, devisees or legatees. Clear in the
transitory provision of the Civil Code in Article 2263 and Under Art. 774.

Intrinsic Validity from the Viewpoint of Place or Country

Law applicable is the national law of the decedent under Article 16 of the New Civil Code.

Miciano vs Brimo
Miciano v. Brimo [50 Phil. 867, G.R. No. L-22595, November 1, 1927]
With respect to foreign law on the formalities of wills, in the absence of proof to the contrary, it is
presumed that foreign laws on the formalities of wills are the same as those prescribed under
Philippine Laws. This is the Doctrine of Processual Presumption.
The appellants opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the
provisions of Joseph G. Brimos will which are not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality,
for which reason they are void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which, among other
things, provides the following:
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of succession as well
as to the amount of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall
be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is in question, whatever may
be the nature of the property or the country in which it may be situated.
But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testamentary dispositions are not in
accordance with the Turkish Laws, inasmuch as he did not present any evidence showing what the
Turkish laws are on the matter, and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they are presumed to be
the same as those of the Philippines.

Bellis vs Bellis
Bellis v. Bellis (June 8, 1967)
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. So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that
the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should govern, the same would not result in a reference
back (Renvoi) to Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas Law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts
rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the place where the
properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved are found in the
Philippines. In the absence, however of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be
presumed different from ours. Appellants position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As
stated, they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. Rather they argue that their case
falls under the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16 of
the Civil Code.
Where the decedent was a citizen of a foreign country and under the laws of said country there are no
forced heirs, the system of legitimes in Philippine law cannot be applied to the succession to the
decedents estate because the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the decedents will and the amount
of successional rights are to be determined by the law of such country. A provision in the foreigners
will that his properties should be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not in accordance
with his national law is void being contrary to Article 16.
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our System of
legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it

has specifically chose to leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights to the decedents national
law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.

Testate estate of Christensen jan 31, 1963

Testate Estate of Christensen v. Garcia [January 31, 1963]
If the conflicts rules under the national law of the deceased refer the matter to the law of the domicile
and the foreigner was domiciled in the Philippines at the moment of death, Philippine courts will have
to apply the Philippine internal law on succession. This is the Doctrine of Renvoi, which is the
referring back to the forum of the problem.

Cayetano vs Leonidas
CAYETANO vs. LEONIDAS (May 30, 1984)
The third issue raised deals with the validity of the provisions of the will. As a general rule, the probate
courts authority is limited only to the extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the
testatrixs testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by
law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has declared that the will has
been duly authenticated. However, where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of
the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue. (Maninang vs.
Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA 478).

PCIB vs Escolin
PCIB v. Escolin [56 SCRA 266]
The question of what is the foreign law governing the matter in issue is one of fact and not of law.
Foreign laws may not be taken judicial notice of and has to be proven like any other fact in dispute
between the parties in any proceeding except when the said laws are already within the actual
knowledge of the courts such as when they are well and generally known, or they have been actually
ruled upon in other cases before it and none of the parties concerned do not claim otherwise.

Malang vs moson n/a

Llorente vs ca n/a

Testate estate of suntay

Testate Estate of Suntay v. Suntay [July 31, 1964]

With respect to foreign law governing procedure in probate matters in case of reprobate in the
Philippines, there is no presumption that such laws are the same as that prescribed under Philippine
Law. The will should be denied probate in the absence of such proof.

Ancheta vs guersey-dalaygon
Alonzo Q. Ancheta v. Candelaria Guersey-Dalaygon [G.R. No. 139868, June 8, 2006]
Sps. Audrey and Richard were American Citizens who have resided in the Philippines for 30 years. They
have an adopted daughter, Kyle. On July 29, 1979, Audrey died, leaving a will. In it, she bequeathed
her entire estate to Richard, who was also designated as executor. The will was admitted to probate
before the Orphans Court of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A, which named James N. Phillips as executor
due to Richards renunciation of his appointment. The court also named Atty. Alonzo Q. Ancheta of the
Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices as ancillary administrator.
In 1981, Richard married Candelaria with whom he has two children. On October 12, 1982, Audreys
will was also admitted to probate by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. On July 20, 1984, Richard
died, leaving a will, wherein he bequeathed his entire estate to Candelaria, save for his rights and
interests over the A/G interiors, Inc. Shares, which he left to Kyle. The will was also admitted to probate
by the Orphans Court of Ann Arundel, Maryland U.S.A and James N. Phillips was likewise appointed as
executor, who in turn, designated Atty. William Quasha or any member of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta
Pena & Nolasco Law Offices, as ancillary administrator. Richards will was then submitted for probate
before the RTC of Makati. Atty. Quasha was appointed as anciliary administrator. Atty Ancheta filed a
project of partition of Audreys estate, with Richard being apportioned the undivided interest in the
Makati property, 48.333 shares in A/G Interiors, Inc., and P9, 313.48 from the Citibank current account;
and Kyle, the undivided interest in the Makati property, 16, 111 shares in A/G Interiors, Inc., and P3,
104.49 in cash. The project of partition was granted and approved by the trial court. Meanwhile, the
ancillary administrator in the second petition also filed a project of partition wherein 2/5 of Richards
undivided interest in the Makati property was allocated to respondent while 3/5 thereof were allocated
to Richards three children. This was opposed by Candelaria on the ground that under the law of the
State of Maryland a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property
subject of the legacy. Since Richard left his entire to Candelaria, except for his rights and interests
over the A/G Interiors, Inc, shares, then his entire undivided interest in the Makati property should
be given to Candelaria.
Atty. Ancheta contends that he acted in good faith in performing his duties as an ancillary
administrator. He maintains that at the time of the filing of the project of partition, he was not aware of
the relevant laws of the State of Maryland, such that the partition was made in accordance with
Philippine Laws. Atty. Ancheta also imputes knowledge on the part of Candelaria with regard to the
terms of Aubreys will, stating that as early as 1984, he already apprised Candelaria of the contents of
the will and how the estate will be divided. Candelaria argues that Atty. Anchetas breach of his
fiduciary duty as ancillary administrator of Aubreys estate amounted to extrinsic fraud. According to
Candelaria, Atty. Ancheta was duty-bound to follow the express terms of Aubreys will, and his denial of
knowledge of the laws of Maryland cannot stand because Atty. Ancheta is a senior partner in a
prestigious law firm and it was his duty to know the relevant laws.
HELD; Atty. Anchetas failure to proficiently manage the distribution of Audreys estate according to the
terms of her will and as dictated by the applicable law amounted to extrinsic fraud. Hence the CA
Decision annulling the RTC Orders dated February 12, 1988 and April 7, 1988, must be upheld. It is
undisputed that Audrey Guersey was an American citizen domiciled in Maryland, U.S.A. During the
reprobate of her will in Special Proceeding No. 9625, it was shown, among others that at the time of
Audreys death, she was residing in the Philippines but is domiciled in Maryland, U.S.A; her Last Will
and Testament dated August 18, 1972 was executed and probated before the Orphans Court in
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A, which was duly authenticated and certified by the Register of Wills of
Baltimore City and attested by the Chief Judge of said court; the will was admitted by the Orphans
Court of Baltimore City on September 7, 1979; and the will was authenticated by the Secretary of State
of Maryland and the Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy. Being a foreign national, the intrinsic

validity of Audreys will, especially with regard as to who are her heirs is governed by her national law,
i.e., the law of the State of Maryland, as provided in Article 16 of the Civil Code. While foreign laws do
not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of
them; however, Atty. Ancheta, as ancillary administrator of Audreys estate, was duty-bound to
introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland. Atty. Ancheta admitted that he failed
to introduce in evidence the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts, and merely relied on
the presumption that such law is the same as the Philippine law on wills and succession. Thus, the trial
court peremptorily applied Philippine Laws and totally disregarded the terms of Audreys will. The
obvious result was that there was no fair submission of the case before the trial court or a judicious
appreciation of hte evidence presented.
Atty. Ancheta insists that his application of Philippine laws was made in good faith. The Court cannot
accept his protestation. How can Atty. Ancheta honestly presume that Philippine laws apply when as
early as the reprobate of Audreys will before the trial court in 1982, it was already brought to fore that
Audrey was a U.S. Citizen, domiciled in the State of Maryland. Atty. Ancheta is a senior partner in a
prestigious law firm, with a big legal staff and a large library He had all the legal resources to
determine the applicable law. It was incumbent upon him to exercise his functions as ancillary
administrator with reasonable diligence, and to discharge the trust reposed on him faithfully.
Unfortunately, he failed to perform his fiduciary duties.

Dorotheo vs CA

Soundness of mind must exist at the time of execution of will, not required to be of sound mind
before or after execution of will Dorotheo v. CA [320 SCRA 12, 1999] Under the Civil Code,
due execution includes a determination of whether the testator was of sound and disposing
mind at the time of its execution, that he had freely executed the will and was not acting under
duress, fraud, menace or undue influence and that the will is genuine and not a forgery, that
he was of the proper testamentary age and that he is a person not expressly prohibited by law
from making a will.

Baltazar vs Laxa gr 174489 n/a

Bagtas vs Pagiuo 22P227 torres v lopez


Senility, Senile Dementia, only complete senile dementia will result ot testamentary incapacity;
Torres v. Lopez de Bueno (48 Phil. 772)
Senile debility, deafness, poor memor: Sancho v. Abella, (58 Phil 728)
Weakness of mind or partial imbecility from disease of body or from age: Alsua-Betts v. CA
(July 30, 1979)
Blindness: Avelino v. Dela Cruz (21 Phil 521)
Failure of memory: Bagtas v. Paguio, Jocson v. Jocson (46 Phil 701), Cuyugan v. Baron
Epilepsy: Existence will notaffect. Only when seizure occurs while engaged in testamentary act.
Insomnia: Caguioa v. Calderon (20 Phil. 400)
Tuberculosis: Yap Tua v. Yap CA Kuan(27 Phil. 579)
Diabetes: Samson v. Corrales Tan Quintin (44 Phil 573)
Cholera: Galvez v. Galvez (26 Phil. 243)
Paralysis and loss of speech: Bagtas v. Paguio
Celebral Hemorrhage with hemiplagia: Carillio v. Jaojoco (46 Phil 957)

Old Age: Hernaez v. Hernaez (1 Phil 683)

Delirium: Ordinarily not. Only when beclouds the mind so as not to understand the nature of
act, extent of property, objects of bounty
Ill health: even if hand is guided in signing will, lying down and unable to move or stand up
unassisted Neyra v. Neyra (76 Phil 333)
Passions and prejudices: only when borders on delusion
Drunkeness or drug addiction: only when excessive
Religious belief: Unless assumes chronic condition of delusion
Asthma: Bugnao v. Uba (14 Phil. 163)


Lack of memory and understanding and pre-senile dementia; Albornoz v. Albornoz (71 Phil
State of unconsciousness
Excitement or stress: if cannot recall intelligently extent of his property, etc.
Partial insanity; insane delusions: hallucination; belief in things which do not exist
Religious delusion
Drunkeness or drug addiction
Idiocy congenital intellectual deficiency
Comatose stage
Stage of delirium
A. General Presumption: testator is of sound mind. Burden of proving otherwise rests upon those who
oppose the probate of will. To discharge burden: clear and convincing evidence is required.
B. When testator is presumed of unsound mind:
1. Publicly known to be insane one month or less before making of will.
2. Judicially declared insane before making a will. In Torres v. Lopez (48 Phil. 772),the Supreme
Court ruled that the fact that the testator was judicially placed under guardianship does not ipso facto
mean that the testator was of unsound mind.
3. Insanity of a general or permanent nature shown to have existed at one time is presumed to have

Burden of proving otherwise rests upon the proponent of the will

Bugnao vs Ubag 14P163

Torres vs lopez de Bueno 48P772
Sancho vs Abella
Alsua-betts vs ca july 30, 1979
Avelino vs dela cruz 21p521
Jocson vs jocson 46p701
Cuyugan vs baron
Caguioa vs calderon 20p400
Yap tua vs yap ca kuan 27p579
Samson v corrales tan quintin 44p573
Carillo vs jaojoco 46p957
Hernaez v hernaez 1p683
Neyra vs neyra 76p333
Albornoz v albornoz 71p414
Torres v lopez 48 p 772

Ramirez v Ramirez 39s147 n/a

Junquera v Borromeo 19s656 n/a

Samson v corrales tan 44p573
Cuyugan vs baron and baron 62p589
Gonzalez v Gonzalez nov. 29, 1951
Abada v abaja gr 147145
Testate Estate of the Late Alipio Abada v. Abaja (G.R. No. 147145, January 31, 2005)
Abada died sometime in May 1940. His widown Paula Toray Toray died sometime in
September 1943. Both died without legitimate children. On September 13, 1968, Alipio filed a
petition for the probate of the last will and testament of Abada. Abada allegedly named as his
testamentary heirs his natural children Eulogio and Rosario Cordova. Alipio is the son of
Eulogio. Caponong, as well as the nephews, nieces and grandchildren of Abada and Toray
opposed the petition.
1. Whether Caponong-Noble is precluded form raising the issue of whether the will of Abada is
written ina languge known to Abada;
2. Whether evidence aliunde may be resorted to in the probate of the will of Abada.
Held: Caponong-Noble points out that nowhere in the will can one discern hat Abadda knew the
Spanish language. She alleges that such defect is fatal and must result in the disallowance of
the will. On this issue, the CA held that the matter was not raised in the motion to dismiss and
that it is now too late to raise the issue on appeal. We agree with Caponong-Noble that the
doctrine of estoppel does not apply in probate proceedings. Nevertheless, Caponong-Nobles
contention must still fail. There is no statutory requirement to state in the will itself that the
testator knew the language or dialect used in the will. This is a matter that the testator knew
the language or dialect used in the will. This is a matter that a party may establish by proof
aliunde. Caponong-Noble further argues that Alipio, in is testimony, has failed, among others,
to show that Abada kenw or understood the contents of the will and the Spanish language used
in the will. However, Alipio testified that Abada used to gather Spanish-speaking people in their
place. In these gatherings, Abada and his companions would talk in the Spanish language. This
sufficiently proves that Abada speaks the Spanish language.
Testate Estate of Javellana v.Javellana(106 Phil 1973)
Where there is want of expression in the body of the will itself or in the attestation clause that
the testator knew the language in which the will was written, proof thereof may be established
by evidence aliunde. Although lack of such evidence may be cured by presumption of
knowledge of the language or dialect used in the will, no such presumption can arise where, as

in the case at bar, the will was executed in Spanish, while the testtor was a Visayan residing in
San Juan, Rizal at the time of his death.

Lopez v liboro 81 p429


Testator need not be proficient in the language used. It is sufficient that he can make known
his testamentary act through the language used.

Presumption: knew the language in which the will is written unless the contrary is proven.

1. No statutory requirement that the will should allege that the language used therein is
understood by the testator (Lopez v. Liboro, 81 Phil. 429)
2. No need to state in the attestation clause that the will is written in the language known to
the testator.

3. That the will is in the language known to the testator can be proved by EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE
or even by oral evidence.
4. If executed in the language of the locality where the testator lives there is a presumption that
testator knows it

Abangan vs abangan 40p476

Abangan v. Abangan (40 Phil 476)
The circumstance appearing in the will itself that same was executed in the City of Cebu and in
the dialect of this locality where the testatrix was a neighbour is enough, in the absence of any
proof to the contrary, to presume that she knew this dialect in which her will is written.

Acop v piraso 52p660

Acop v. Piraso, 52 Pil. 660
Nor can the presumption in favor of a will established by this court in Abangan v. Abangan (40 Phil
476), to the effect that the testator is presumed to know the dialect of the locality where he resides,
unless there is proof to the contrary, even be invoked in support of the probate of will, because in the
instant case not only is it notproven that English is the language of the City of Baguio where the
deceased Piraso lived and where the will was drawn, but that the record contains positive proof that
said Piraso knew no other language than the Igorrote dialect, with a smattering of Ilocano; that is he
did not know the Englishlanguage in which the will is written. So that even if such a presumption could
have been raised in this case, it would have been wholly contradicted and destroyed.

Reyes v vidal 91p127

Reyes v. Vidal (91 Phil. 127)

The failure of the petitioners witnesses to testify that the testatrix knew and spoke Spanish
does not in itself alone suffice to conclude that this important requirement of the law has not
been complied with when there is though evidence of record which supplies this technical
omission. The fact that the testatrix was a mestiza Espanola, was married to a Spaniard, made
several trips to Spain and some of her letters submitted as evidence by the oppositor were
written in Spanish by the testatrix in her own writing give rise to the presumption that the
testatrix knew the language in which the testament has been written, which presumption
should stand unless the contrary is proven.

Testate estate of javellana v javellana 106p1973

Testate Estate of Javellana v.Javellana(106 Phil 1973)
Where there is want of expression in the body of the will itself or in the attestation clause that
the testator knew the language in which the will was written, proof thereof may be established
by evidence aliunde. Although lack of such evidence may be cured by presumption of
knowledge of the language or dialect used in the will, no such presumption can arise where, as
in the case at bar, the will was executed in Spanish, while the testtor was a Visayan residing in
San Juan, Rizal at the time of his death.

Suroza vs honrado 110s32

Suroza v. Honrado (110 S 32)
Testator must know or at least understand the language. This lack of knowledge cannot be
cured by interpretation or explanation of the contents to the testator.