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1. FOREIGN LAWS; PRESUMPTION. — In the absence of evidence to the contrary foreign laws on a particular subject are presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim v. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil., 472.) 2. POSTPONEMENT OF PROCEEDING; DISCRETION. — It is discretionary on the part of the court to postpone or not to postpone a particular proceeding in a case, and when the person applying for it has already been given ample opportunity to present the evidence that he wishes to introduce, the court commits no abuse of discretion in denying it. 3. SUCCESSIONS; CONDITIONAL LEGACY; CONDITION CONTRARY TO LAW; NULLITY OF. — If the condition imposed upon the legatee is that he respect the testator’s order that his property be distributed in accordance with the laws of the Philippines and not in accordance with the laws of his nation, said condition is illegal, because, according to article 10 of the Civil Code, said laws govern his testamentary disposition, and, being illegal, shall be considered unwritten, thus making the institution unconditional. The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question in this case. The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, however, approved it. The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are: (1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance; (3) the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the approval of the purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said business; and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws. The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's 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 testimentary 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. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil., 472.) It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, himself, acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity to present evidence on this point; so much so that he assigns as an error of the court in not having deferred the approval of the scheme of partition until the receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the Turkish laws on the matter. The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does not constitute an error. It is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor was granted ample opportunity to introduce competent evidence, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of the court in this particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that the national law of the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, must be complied with and executed.
is considered unwritten. the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous. All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests are perfectly valid and effective it not appearing that said clauses are contrary to the testator's national law. by his attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of the testator. I am a Turkish citizen. And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's national law when. and the condition is that the instituted legatees must respect the testator's will to distribute his property. inasmuch as he is one of the persons designated as such in will. Joseph Brimo is a Turkish citizen. judicial administrator of the estate in question. filed a scheme of partition. So ordered. but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid. I annul and cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this request. it is my wish that the distribution of my property and everything in connection with this. In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the herein appellant as a legatee. not in accordance with the laws of his nationality. It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which shall govern it. the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees. FACTS: Juan Miciano. on the other hand. according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted. Said condition then. and the institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein oppositor. being contrary to law. . nor by nationality and. Andre Brimo. The fact is. ISSUE: Whether Turkish law or Philippine law will be the basis on the distribution of Joseph Brimo’s estates. which says: Second. however. such national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary dispositions. be made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine islands. any legatee who fails to comply with it. even should the testator otherwise provide.Therefore. as the herein oppositor who. that the said condition is void. and to the condition imposed upon the legatees. in the light of the legal provisions above cited. The institution of legatees in this will is conditional. I like desire to state that although by law. requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish. it must be taken into consideration that such exclusion is based on the last part of the second clause of the will. Therefore. otherwise. is null and void. and the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects. as expressed. this citizenship having been conferred upon me by conquest and not by free choice. without any pronouncement as to costs. my will. one of the brothers of the deceased (Joseph Brimo) opposed Miciano’s participation in the inheritance. is prevented from receiving his legacy. being contrary to law. having resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippine Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now possess. for article 792 of the civil Code provides the following: 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.
. Mallen.R. The People's Bank and Trust Company. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on September 15.000. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis. Walter S.000. Jr. ET AL. Bellis.00. he had five legitimate children: Edward A.00 each and (c) after the foregoing. paid all the bequests therein including the amount of $240. and Miriam Palma Bellis. the executor submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account. upon a question purely of law. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.S. EXECUTOR MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS AND MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS. The facts of the case are as follows: Amos G. BELLIS. . 1964. a resident of San Antonio. 1958. Amos G. This is a direct appeal to Us. 1964. Bellis. HEIRS-APPELLEES. (b) P120. Amos Bellis. by his second wife. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40.00 to his first wife. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and.00 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. George Bellis (who predeceased him in infancy). 1952. the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. Subsequently. On January 8. which it released from time to time according as the lower court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective legacies. as executor of the will. Henry A.000. Bellis. DECEASED PEOPLE'S BANK& TRUST COMPANY. preparatory to closing its administration. June 06. the executor . compulsory heirs of the deceased. Bellis. approving the project of partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No. he had three legitimate children: Edwin G. L-23678. Henry A. No. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis.000. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines. Bellis. 1967 ] TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. Report of Administration and Project of Partition" wherein it reported..00 to his three illegitimate children.A. namely: Edward A. In the project of partition. or on July 8. Mallen. Alexander Bellis. Bellis. Amos G. the remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and second wives.. 1964. born in Texas.divided the residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages." By his first wife. and Dorothy E.00 each or a total of P120. he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis. Walter S. Amos Bellis. Bellis died.000. Mary E. Jr. Edwin G. was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States. or a total of P120. Bellis.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies. VS. obligations. and Anna Bellis Allsman. BELLIS. On August 5. and finally. Maria Cristina Bellis.. Mary E. Violet Kennedy. Bellis. from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30.pursuant to the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament . various amounts totalling P40. EDWARD A.000. in equal shares. Jr.G.00. therefore. or P40. On January 17. inter alia. in trust. Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman. in which he directed that after all taxes. in the following order and manner: (a) $240. OPPOSITORS-APPELLANTS. Texas.. 1958.000. 37089 therein. two items have been satisfied. his distributable estate should be divided. and expenses of administration are paid for. whom he divorced. Jr. and the legacies of Amos Bellis.000.00. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting to $240. who survived him.000. U. Bellis.
on April 30. and Art." Appellants would however counter that Art. Rather. Jr. issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the executor's final account. 1964. and (d) the capacity to succeed. 1963. nor even discuss. applied by this Court in Aznar v. (c) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will. Christensen Garcia. the lower court. shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should govern. 16.Texas law or Philippine law. of the Civil Code. 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. Nonetheless. render applicable the national law of the decedent. 2. (b) the amount of successional rights. 1964. with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession. it should not be presumed different from ours. 1039. which did not provide for legitimes. interposed no opposition despite notice to him. of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas. it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death. January 31. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. 1039 of the Civil Code." "Art. and a domicile of another. oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise the issue of which law must apply . which in this case is Texas law. since the properties here involved are found in the Philippines. 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. Relying upon Art. the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law. in intestate or testamentary successions. but would still refer to Texas law. In this regard. whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. In the present case. As stated. stating that - . 17. "However. Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. however. L-16749.Amos Bellis. They provide that "Art. proof of service of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27. 16 of the Civil Code. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. the parties do not submit the case on. the doctrine of renvoi. renvoi would arise. par. paragraph three. report and administration and project of partition. In the absence. Article 16. it applied the national law of the decedent. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent. intestate and testamentary successions. 1964 by the executor After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings. Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower court on June 11. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country.
Congress added a new provision. 16. by his second wife. and those which have for their object public order. WHEREFORE. there are no forced heirs or legitimes. 20 scra 358 Amos Bellis was a citizen of the State of Texas.of the Civil Code states said national law should govern. 16 in the new. there are no legitimes. For it has specifically chosen to leave. Accordingly. the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in testate and intestate successions. HELD: The Supreme Court held that the said children are not entitled to their legitimes under the Texas Law. 870. his illegitimate children were not given anything. 867. to the decedent's national law. Bellis. Congress deleted the phrase. is illegal and void. for as this Court ruled in the Miciano v. and of the United States. 1039. the amount of successional rights. U. Amos G.. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes. In both wills. Before he died.S. who survived him. Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills . the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. was a citizen of the State of Texas. their acts or property. “notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding article' when they incorporated Art."Prohibitive laws concerning persons. one disposing of his Texas properties and the other disposing his Philippine properties. Bellis. since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law. As further indication of this legislative intent. he made two wills. and three illegitimate children. if Philippine law were to be applied. By his first wife whom he divorced he had five legitimate children. The parties admit that the decedent.now Article 16 . The illegitimate children opposed the will on the ground that they have been deprived of their legitimes to which they should be entitled. Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine will. 17 of the new Civil Code. inter alia. Brimo. Bellis vs Bellis. and that under the laws of Texas. It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph of Art. it would not alter the law." prevails as the exception to Art. This is not correct.one to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate . 50 Phil. being the national law of the deceased. or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country. with costs against appellants. for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10 . ISSUE: Whether or not the national law of the deceased should determine the successional rights of the illegitimate children. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art.arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate.A. public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated. under Art. a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. which decrees that capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the decedent. . par. he had three legitimate children. Precisely. while reproducing without substantial change the second paragraph of Art. Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals.
is written wholly in the handwriting of the deceased and bears her proper signature. Templeton. It is alleged in the petition that the testatrix was at the time of her death a resident of the State of California. October 02. or that. It was found among the effects of the deceased shortly after her death. G. and Billy Babcock Templeton. and the parties have agreed that this paper could be proved in the State of California as the holographic will of the deceased. which occurred on September 3. 1926. B. Babcock. and the question before us ultimately resolves itself into a contention over the point whether the testatrix had ever acquired a legal domicile in the State of California and whether. PETITIONER. Mrs. No. This paper bears date of May 26. it was contained in an envelope indorsed with the name of her daughter. R. 1928 ] TEMPLETON. by Beatrice Babcock Templeton to secure probate of a paper writing purporting to express the wishes of Jennie Rider Babcock. D. But. 1926. but the writer further states that all interest and dividends are to be given to her only daughter. which authorizes probate by our courts of a will made within the Philippine Islands by a citizen or subject of another state or country. as well as her jewelry and personal effects "for their support until the youngest is of age" The aforesaid instrument is admittedly of a testamentary character. the citizenship of a person born in the United States. When found. VS. and which might be proved under the law of such state or country. resists the probate of the will on the ground that the testatrix had never acquired a legal domicile in the State of California. W. During these years W. Constance Babcock Templeton. 1926. or domicile. Mrs. Appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila admitting to probate the holographic will of Jennie Rider Babcock. if she had. R. It appears that Jennie Rider Babcock had spent her married life in the State of Massachusetts. APPELLANT. 28328. had the status of a citizen of the State of California. at the time the will was made. D. her husband having died in 1908. Babcock and G. until in 1917. of the testatrix. and son. WILLIAM RIDER BABCOCK. B. Beatrice Babcock Templeton. William Rider Babcock. such domicile had been lost under the conditions presently to be discussed. as required by section 636 of our Code of Civil Procedure. Templeton. W. namely. as was the testatrix in this case. Templeton. Mrs. supposing such domicile to have been acquired. Templeton. Babcock. The proponent of the will. jewelry. though temporarily residing in Manila at the time of her death. when such will is executed in accordance with the law of the state or country of which the testator is a citizen or subject. jr.R. whether the testatrix. deceased. but. under the first paragraph of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. but it is not executed as a will under the provisions of law generally governing the execution of the wills made in the Philippine Islands. she may not have lost it as a result of her removal from that state. G. bearing the surname Templeton. when she joined the family of her daughter. Douglas Templeton. mother of the three children who are principal beneficiaries of the will. California. were running a business in .. in San Francisco. The sole question in controversy therefore now is. personal effects and money. R. and that such domicile was never lost. The purport of the paper is to the effect that the writer leaves her stock and money to her three grandchildren. respectively. the brother of the proponent. The petition in this case was filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila on September 8. son and son-inlaw. consisting of corporate stock. she removed a year later to Manila where she lived with her son. is dependent upon the place of residence. contends that the testatrix acquired a legal domicile in the State of California by residence therein over two periods of time between 1917 and 1923. The instrument therefore is not offered for probate under section 618 and related provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure but under section 636. with reference to the post mortem disposition of all her property.[ G. Mr.
and she voted in at least one general election that occurred in that state. Here the testatrix occupied part of the apartment which the Templetons had taken.. owned a home in San Francisco in which he lived. which had been incorporated under the style of Babcock & Templeton. but she appears to have supplied the furniture necessary for her own use. since. it may be noted. the testatrix established herself as a practitioner in Christian Science. Among the features of importance which characterize the incident we note the following: First. Inc. 1924. secondly.Manila.. a cult to which she was attached. upon arriving in San Francisco. We consider this circumstance of no probative force in connection with the issues of this lawsuit. 1923. and of course when she told the ship's official that she was from New York City. she formed an attachment for California. "Deliver me from living in New York. she returned to Manila. in the Passenger Manifest of the vessel upon which she came to Manila. she engaged in political activities. In the year 1923. Upon arriving in New York State." it being insisted that this is an admission on her part tending to show the acquisition by her of a domicile in New York State. A circumstance to which importance is attached by the appellant is that. and in many conversations thereafter with intimate friends. The testatrix. The Passenger Manifest gave the passenger no choice about indicating whether New York was the place of last residence or the place of last permanent residence. where she remained until August. in which she . near New York City." What really brought her back to the Philippine Islands. since the trial court deduced from her acts and statements the conclusion that she had acquired a domicile in California. The sojourn of the testatrix in New York was apparently not congenial. decided to close its office in San Francisco and to open a branch in New York City. Templeton to remove with his family to New York State. Templeton. in which she stated that she was a resident of Manila. During this stay in Manila she occupied an apartment in the house of her son. As little importance is to be attached to her Baggage Declaration and Entry. as throwing light upon the state of her mind towards California and the intention with which she removed from that state. 1918. she caused New York City to be entered opposite her name in the column indicating "Last Permanent Residence. with Babcock as president of the company and Templeton as its vice-president. the character and incidents of this second sojourn in San Francisco constitute the most important fact in the case. sufficiently explains why she claimed to be a resident of Manila in that declaration without making any conclusive commitment as to the place of her domicile in law. She then returned to San Francisco and lived with the Templetons until May. Babcock & Templeton. As a branch office had been opened in San Francisco requiring the presence of an officer of the company. leaving behind in the care of friends three pieces of furniture to which she was especially attached and which she perhaps thought she might use later in California. without any apparent intention of removing from the state. After remaining with the Templetons in San Francisco for several months. Not long thereafter. Templeton took up his abode in San Francisco for the purpose of managing the business of said branch. apart from her dislike to tie environment in New York. Of some importance. the testatrix announced herself again in the Christian Science Journal as a practitioner of Christian Science in White Plains. the testatrix returned to Manila in July. the Templetons established themselves in White Plains. is not certain. after her return to Manila in 1924. taking part in a parade advertising a cause in which she was interested. 1920. after arriving. This step on the part of the Templetons determined the course of the testatrix. Inc. arriving at this place in January. she referred to California as her home state and expressed her intention of returning there and building a home in which to live. This made it necessary for G. and the circumstance that she had lived many years in Manila and was coming back to this city. had acquired stock in the company and had no other independent source of income than the dividends derived therefrom. it appears in evidence that only a short time before her death in Manila she was acquiring a few pieces of Spanish furniture to take back with her to California. the name of this place necessarily had to go down in the column mentioned. are the numerous conversations. D. Papers of this character are not commonly written with legal precision. Indeed. The impression that conditions in New York made upon her may be gauged by a statement subsequently made by her to one of her friends in Manila. but she suggested to friends here. fourthly. after a few months of experience in that city. that a desire to economize the cost of living may have had a part in her course. thirdly. made on the same voyage before disembarking at Manila. who gathered her personal effects together and accompanied them to New York. her sonin-law. From a legal point of view. He accordingly sold his home in San Francisco and went to live in New York.
It is evident from the proof that the removal of the testatrix from California to New York did not proceed from her volition but resulted from circumstances over which she had no primary control. it is a rule that a citizen of the United States cannot acquire citizenship in the Philippine Islands by residence here. she had any intention of acquiring a legal domicile in that state. The finding of the trial court to the effect that the deceased had acquired a domicile in the State of California is in our opinion based upon facts which sufficiently support said finding. which state of the American Union has the best claim to her citizenship. 39 Phil. The exercise of the franchise is one of the highest prerogatives of citizenship. and that. and the only question to be determined in this case is. is in conformity with the evidence. this California domicile has not been supplanted by a later domicile acquired in New York. But upon this point also. It is a recognized rule that the intention with which removal is made from a particular state determines whether or not the domicile is abandoned. to the effect that acquired domicile had not been lost. Though not of course conclusive of acquisition of domicile.revealed an intention of returning to live in California. her will should not be admitted to probate as the will of a citizen of another state. for the purposes of admitting this will to probate. But the proof shows that however long the testatrix had resided in the Philippine Islands. upon removal to New York. which. California was surely the state of her legal domicile. the place of her marital abode. Certainly in this case it cannot be said with any propriety that the domicile of the testatrix in California was suppressed by the acquisition of a new domicile in New York State. It results that the trial court committed no error in considering the testatrix a citizen of the State of California. Her will is therefore provable under section 636 of the Code of Civil Procedure as the will of a citizen of another state or country. yet she was a resident of the Philippine Islands at the time of her death. acquired by choice and by residing therein. she at no time had any intention of residing here permanently. and what we consider the more critical question is whether or not the domicile thus acquired was subsequently lost by removal from said state. her repeated declarations reveal a fixed intention of returning ultimately to the United States. may have decisive weight. and it is so ordered. and intention is revealed only in the acts and declarations of the person concerned. This record supplies no material with which to refute the conclusion of the trial court that a domicile was thus acquired by the testatrix in the State of California. a person transferring his domicile from one state of the American Union to another loses his domicile in the state of his earlier abode upon acquiring a domicile. The judgment will therefore be affirmed. 156). her motive being found in her desire to be with her daughter and grandchildren. with as good right as the State of California.. with costs against the appellant. On the contrary. voting in a place is an important circumstance and. we are of the opinion that the trial court committed no error in attaching importance to the circumstance that the deceased had voted in California elections. however long continued (In Re Estate of Johnson. The acquisition of the new legal domicile extinguishes the old. and there is no other state whose citizenship she can claim. having established herself in these Islands as a place of permanent abode. As between these two states. and she appears to have inherited some property from a sister who had been living in New York and who died before the return of the testatrix to the Philippine Islands. Furthermore. or citizenship. as we have already seen. Again. It may also be here stated that the testatrix had kin in New York State whom she had visited more than once during her abode in California. and in no other act of his life does the citizen identify his interests with the state in which he lives more than in the act of voting. In the case before us there are no declarations of the testatrix in evidence which would tend to show that. The testatrix therefore remained at the time of her death a citizen of the United States. a question. . in the state of his new abode. even supposing that the testatrix had not acquired a domicile in New York. and we must decide between California and New York. we are of the opinion that the conclusion of the trial court. But it is said that. turns upon domicile. has not been entered in the competition. according to the evidence in this record. Massachusetts. On the contrary her short stay there and her repeated statements made thereafter show that she could not possibly have had any intention of making that state a place of permanent abode. where the evidence is scanty. In particular. 156).. As was pointed out by this court in In Re Estate of Johnson (39 Phil.
S. 35342-038 were conjugal partnership properties and part of the estate. and hence. March 29.27 and P90. Vitug.731. Vitug's estate with her (Mrs.749. VS.834. on November 10. or the receipt or check of the survivor or survivors.66. PETITIONER. Vitug filed a motion asking for authority from the probate court to sell certain shares of stock and real properties belonging to the estate to cover allegedly his advances to the estate in the sum or P667. 82027. NO.99 from savings account No. who died in New York. he withdrew the sums of P518. On April 12.[ G. In our said decision. that all money now or hereafter deposited by us or any or either of us with the BANK in our joint savings current account shall be the property of all or both of us and shall be payable to and collectible or withdrawable by either or any of us during our lifetime. Romarico G.147." . P518. any or all of us during our lifetime.27 as deficiency estate tax. VITUG. petitioner Romarico G. Vitug. Metro Manila.” Vitug insists that the said funds are his exclusive property having acquired the same through a survivorship agreement executed with his late wife and the bank on June 19.A. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND ROWENA FAUSTINO-CORONA.99 as "increment thereto.749. 1990 ] ROMARICO G. we upheld the appointment of Nenita AIonte as cospecial administrator of Mrs. She also sought his ouster for failure to include the sums in question for inventory and for "concealment of funds belonging to the estate. plus interests. 1985. U. 1970. there was allegedly no ground for reimbursement. The trial court upheld the validity of this agreement and granted "the motion to sell some of the estate of Dolores L. Vitug. naming private respondent Rowena Faustino-Corona executrix. for any payment or withdrawal made for our above–mentioned account shall be valid and sufficient release and discharge of the BANK for such payment or withdrawal. 35342-038 of the Bank of America. Vitug's) widower.. and after the death of either or any of us shall belong to and be the sole property of the survivor or survivors. As found by the Court of Appeals.66 x x x. the alleged advances consisted of P58. pending probate. Makati. We further agree with each other and the BANK that the receipt or check of either.834. The agreement provides: We hereby agree with each other and with the BANK OF AMERICAN NATIONAL TRUST AND SAVINGS ASSOCIATION (hereinafter referred to as the BANK). and P90.40 spent for the payment of estate tax. which he claimed were personal funds. On January 13.731. Rowena Corona opposed the motion to sell on the ground that the same funds withdrawn from savings account No.R. and shall be payable to and collectible or withdrawable by such survivor or survivors. 1980. 1985." According to Mr. the proceeds of which shall be used to pay the personal funds of Romarico Vitug in the total sum of P667. RESPONDENTS. This case is a chapter in an earlier suit decided by this Court involving the probate of the two wills of the late Dolores Luchangco Vitug.
" In other words. the order of respondent Judge dated November 26.. Vitug for reimbursement of his alleged advances to the estate. revocable and free act by which a capacitated person disposes of his property and rights and declares or complies with duties to take effect after his death. held that the above-quoted survivorship agreement constitutes a conveyance mortis causa which "did not comply with the formalities of a valid will as prescribed by Article 805 of the Civil Code. A will has been defined as "a personal. Leonarda was the owner of the house and Juana of the Buick automobile and most of the furniture. the surviving spouse. which assumption was in turn based on the facts (1) that the account was originally opened in the name of Stephenson alone and (2) that Ana River ”served only as housemaid of the deceased. which should be embodied in a will. and in the instant case it also appears that Ana Rivera served her master for about nineteen years without actually receiving her salary from him. In this case. the Court of Appeals. one of the parties or both reciprocally bind themselves to give or do something as an equivalent for that which the other party is to give or do in case of the occurrence of an event which is uncertain or will happen at an indeterminate time. the time of death determining the event upon which the . it is a prohibited donation under the provisions of Article 133 of the Civil Code. The petition is meritorious. belonged to the survivor. one of mortis causa. and the balance. in the inventory of actual properties possessed by the spouses at the time of the decedent's death. Gatmaitan in which we sustained the validity of "survivorship agreements" and considering them as aleatory contracts. assails the appellate court's ruling on the strength of our decisions in Rivera v. assuming that it is a mere donation inter vivos. The fact that subsequently Stephenson transferred the account to the name of himself and/or Ana Rivera and executed with the latter the survivorship agreement in question although there was no relation of kinship between them but only that of master and servant.” But it not infrequently happens that a person deposits money in the bank in the name of another.On the other hand. People’s Bank and Trust Co. People’s Bank and Trust Co. of clear proof to the contrary. 35342038 were in the nature of conjugal funds. according to article 1790 of the Civil Code. Juana would become the owner of the house in case Leonarda died first. In addition. if any. first or all. their joint holdings: xxx Such conclusion is evidently predicated on the assumption that Stephenson was the exclusive owner of the funds deposited in the bank. nullifies the assumption that Stephenson was the exclusive owner of the bank account. it was held: This Court is of the opinion that Exhibit C. In his petition. respondent Judge is directed to include provisionally the deposits in Savings Account No. 35342-038 with the Bank of America. In this manner Leonarda and Juana reciprocally assigned their respective property to one another conditioned upon who might die first. is an aleatory contract whereby. 1985 (Annex II. and Macam v. The conveyance in question is not. and Leonarda would become the owner of the automobile and the furniture if Juana were to die first. Vitug. By virtue of Exhibit C. but the same order is sustained in all other respects. but simply. we rejected claims that a survivorship agreement purports to deliver one party's separate properties in favor of the other. The dispositive portion of the decision or the Court of Appeals states: WHEREFORE. Makati. we must give full faith and credit to the certificate of deposit which recites in effect that the funds in question belonged to Edgar Stephenson and Ana Rivera. Rivera v. upon the death of either. As already stated. Gatmaitan. In the absence. the bequest or device must pertain to the testator. petition) is hereby set aside insofar as it granted private respondent's motion to sell certain properties of the estate of Dolores L. solemn. in the petition for certiorari filed by the herein private respondent. the monies subject of savings account No. that they were joint (and several) owners thereof. In the case relied on." and secondly. then. With costs against private respondent. In Macam v. and that either of them could withdraw any part or the whole of said account during the lifetime of both.
And since the funds were conjugal. it is not a donation between the spouses because it involved no conveyance of a spouse's own properties to the other. Certainly. Insofar as the respondent court ordered their inclusion in the inventory of assets left by Mrs. the sale of a sweepstake ticket. This contract. et sequenta. In either case. more commonly denominated in banking parlance as an "and/or" account. while a contract for life annuity or pension under Article 2021. For instance. .acquisition of such right by the one or the other depended. we hold that the court was in error. Inasmuch as Leonarda had died before Juana. but in reality. if it be shown in a given case that such agreement is a mere cloak to hide an inofficious donation.” or (2) "which is to occur at an indeterminate time. for obvious reasons. it can not be said that one spouse could have pressured the other in placing his or her deposits in the money pool. the spouses are not prohibited by law to invest conjugal property. No such vice has been imputed and established against the agreement involved in this case. is binding upon the parties thereto." A survivorship agreement. the fulfillment of an aleatory contract depends on either the happening of an event which is (1)"uncertain. Under the aforequoted provision. has been categorized under the second. Such agreements are permitted by the Civil Code. and insurance have been held to fall under the first category. There is no demonstration here that the survivorship agreement had been executed for such unlawful purposes. the latter has acquired upon her death a vested right over the amounts under savings account No. the latter thereupon acquired the ownership of the house. or to defeat the legitime of a forced heir. as any other contract. In the case at bar. There is no showing that the funds exclusively belonged to one party. However. 2010. a transaction stipulating on the value of currency. 35342-038. It is also our opinion that the agreement involves no modification of the conjugal partnership. The conclusion is accordingly unavoidable that Mrs. by way of a joint and several bank account. Being the separate property of petitioner. or which is to occur at an indeterminate time. having been acquired during the existence of the marital relations. Vitug. the risk was the death of one party and survivorship of the other. By an aleatory contract. They did not dispose of it in favor of the other which would have arguably been sanctionable as a prohibited donation. Neither is the survivorship agreement a donation inter vivos. the element of risk is present. the term being death. say. to transfer property in fraud of creditors. 35342-038 of the Bank of America. they merely put what rightfully belonged to them in a money-making venture. in the same manner as Leonarda would have acquired the ownership of the automobile and of the furniture if Juana had died first. as we have warned: But although the survivorship agreement is per se not contrary to law its operation or effect may be violative of the law. as held by the Court of Appeals. The validity of the contract seems debatable by reason of its "survivor-take-all" feature. in order to frustrate our laws on wills. Vitug having predeceased her husband. or as held by the respondent court. Under Article 2010 of the Code: ART.” and that it is no "cloak" to circumvent the law on conjugal property relations. In the case at bar. and hence it must be presumed to be conjugal. by "mere stipulation. when the spouses Vitug opened savings account No. because it was to take effect after the death of one party. Secondly. that contract imposed a mere obligation with a term. donations. one of the parties or both reciprocally bind themselves to give or to do something in consideration of what the other shall give or do upon the happening of an event which is uncertain. it forms no more part of the estate of the deceased. it may be assailed and annulled upon such grounds. and conjugal partnership.
are SET ASIDE. dated February 9. and its resolution. 1987. dated June 29. the decision of the respondent appellate court. .WHEREFORE. 1988.
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