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Christensen, though born in New York, migrated to California where he resided and consequently was considered a California Citizen for a period of nine years to 1913. He came to the Philippines where he became a domiciliary until the time of his death. However, during the entire period of his residence in this country, he had always considered himself as a citizen of California. In his will, executed on March 5, 1951, he instituted an acknowledged natural daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen as his only heir but left a legacy of some money in favor of Helen Christensen Garcia who, in a decision rendered by the Supreme Court had been declared as an acknowledged natural daughter of his. Counsel of Helen claims that under Art. 16 (2) of the civil code, California law should be applied, the matter is returned back to the law of domicile, that Philippine law is ultimately applicable, that the share of Helen must be increased in view of
successional rights of illegitimate children under Philippine laws. On the other hand, counsel for daughter Maria , in as much that it is clear under Art, 16 (2) of the Mew Civil Code, the national of the deceased must apply, our courts must apply internal law of California on the matter. Under California law, there are no compulsory heirs and consequently a testator should dispose any property possessed by him in absolute dominion.
Issue: Whether Philippine Law or California Law should apply.
Held: The Supreme Court deciding to grant more successional rights to Helen Christensen Garcia said in effect that there be two rules in California on the matter. 1. The conflict rule which should
apply to Californian’s outside the California, and 2. The internal Law which should apply to California domiciles in califronia.
The California conflict rule, found on Art. 946 of the California Civil code States that “if there is no law to the contrary in the place where personal property is situated, it is deemed to follow the decree of its owner and is governed by the law of the domicile.” Christensen being domiciled outside california, the law of his domicile, the Philippines is ought to be followed. Wherefore, the decision appealed is reversed and case is remanded to the lower court with instructions that partition be made as that of the Philippine law provides.