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Dizon-Rivera v.

DIZON, 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
Valdez left a w ill executed in February 1960 and written in Pampango. The beneficiaries were the 7
compulsory heirs and six grandchildren
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
During the probate proceedings, Marina (appellee) was name the executor of the deceaseds estate
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
Subsequently, Marina filed her project of partition adjudicating the estate as follows:
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
Marina and Tomas were adjudicated the properties that they received in the will less the
cash/properties to complete their respective legitime
The other heirs opposed the partition and proposed a counter-partition on the estate where Marina
and Tomas were to receive considerably less

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
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 executrixappellee'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.
merely to 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.

Buhay De Roma v. CA (July 23, 1987)

Facts: Candeleria De Roma adopted two daughters, Buhay and Rosalinda. She
diedintestate. When administration proceedings was ongoing, Buhay was appointed
administratrix and filed an inventory of the estate. Opposed by Rosalinda on the ground
that certain properties donated by their mother to Buhay and fruits thereof had not been
included. The Parcels of Land totaled P10,297.50 and the value is not disputed. The TC
issued an order in favor of Buhay because when Candelaria donated the properties to
Buhay she said in the Deed of Donation sa pamamagitanng pagbibigay na din a
mababawing muli which the TC interpreted as a prohibitionto collate and besides the
legitimes of the two daughters were not impaired. Onappeal, it was reversed as
it merely described the donation as irrevocable not anexpress prohibition to collate.
Issue: Whether or not these lands are subject to collation. YES!
Held:The pertinent Civil Code provisions are:
Art. 1061. Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must
bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from
the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous
title, in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir,
and in the account of the partition. (1035a)
Art. 1062. Collation shall not take place among compulsory heirs if the donor should
have so expressly provided, or if the donee should repudiate the inheritance, unless the
donation should be reduced as inofficious. (1036)
The SC affirmed the appellate courts decision and that it merely described the donation
as irrevocable. The Fact that a donation is irrevocable does not necessarily exempt the
donated properties from collation as required under the provisions of the NCC. Given
the precise language of the deed of donation the decedent donor would have included
an express prohibition to collate if that had been the donors intention. Absent such
indication of that intention, the rule not the exemption should be applied.

Mariano B. Locsin v. Court of AppealsG.R. No. 89783; February 19,
Mariano inherited extensive property from his father Getulio. He brought his
inheritance into his marriage with Catalina Jaucian. Catalina, for her part, brought into
the marriage untitled properties which she had inherited form her parents. Mariano
Locsin executed a last will and testament instituting his wife as the sole and universal
heir of all his properties. The spouses being childless, they had agreed that their
properties, after both of them shall have died should revert to their respective sides of
the family. After Mariano's death, (1948) his will was probated without opposition from
both sides of the family. Nine years after the death of Don Mariano, Catalina began
transferring, by sale, donation or assignment, Mariano's as well as her own, props to
their respective nephews and nieces. Catalina died in 1977. Four years before her death,
she made a will affirming the transfers she made. Six years after her demise, some of
Catalina's nephews and nieces filed an action in the RTC of Legaspi to recover the
properties which she had conveyed to the Locsins, alleging that the conveyances
were innoficious, without consideration, and intended solely to circumvent the laws on
succession. After the trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs. The Court of
Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
WON the PRs are entitled to inherit the properties which Catalina had already disposed
of more than 10 yrs before her death.
No. The properties did not form part of her hereditaty estate. The rights to a person's
succession are transmitted from the moment of his death, and do not vest in his heirs
until such time. 11 Property which Doa Catalina had transferred or conveyed to other
persons during her lifetime no longer formed part of her estate at the time of her death
to which her heirs may lay claim. Had she died intestate, only the property that
remained in her estate at the time of her death devolved to her legal heirs; and even if
those transfers were, one and all, treated as donations, the right arising under certain
circumstances to impugn and compel the reduction or revocation of a decedent's gifts
inter vivos does not inure to the respondents since neither they nor the donees
are compulsory (or forced) heirs. There is thus no basis for assuming an intention on the
part of Doa Catalina, in transferring the properties she had received from her late
husband to his nephews and nieces, an intent to circumvent the law in violation of
the private respondents' rights to her succession. Said respondents are not her
compulsory heirs, and it is not pretended that she had any such, hence there were no
legitimes that could conceivably be impaired by any transfer of her property during her
lifetime. All that the respondents had was an expectancy that in nowise restricted her
freedom to dispose of even her entire estate subject only to the limitation set forth in
Art. 750, Civil Code which, even if it were breached, the respondents may not invoke.