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Dizon-Rivera v.

Dizon
MARINA
DIZON-RIVERA,
executrix-appellee,
vs.
ESTELA DIZON, TOMAS V. DIZON, BERNARDITA DIZON, JOSEFINA
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
appellants
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
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 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.
CAN THE OPPOSITORS DEMAND MORE THAN THEIR LEGITIME? No. Their right was
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.

BICOLANONG HACIENDERO
Mariano B. Locsin v. Court of AppealsG.R. No. 89783; February 19,
1992Facts:
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.
Issue:
WON the PRs are entitled to inherit the properties which Catalina had already disposed
of more than 10 yrs before her death.
Ruling:
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.

PRETERITION CASES
AZNAR v. DUNCAN (1966)
Doctrine
: When a testator leaves to a forced heir a legacy worth less than the legitime, but without referring
to the legatee as an heir or even as a relative, and willed the rest of the estate to other
persons, the heir could not ask that the institution of the heirs be annulled entirely, but
only that the legitime be completed.
Facts:
Edward Christensen, a citizen of California with domicile in the Philippines, died leaving a will. CFI
admitted the will to probate, and declared that Helen Garcia was his natural child. The declaration
was appealed to this Court; affirmed. Meanwhile, CFI approved the project submitted by
the executor in accordance with the provisions of the will, which said court found to be
valid under the law of California. Helen Garcia appealed from the order of approval, and
this Court reversed the same on the ground that the validity of the provisions of the
will should be governed by Philippine law, and returned the case to the lower
court with instructions that the partition be made as provided by said law.CFI approved the
project of partition submitted by the executor, wherein the properties of the
estate were divided equally between Lucy Duncan, whom the testator had expressly
recognized inhis will as his natural daughter, and Helen Garcia, who had been judicially
declared as such after his death.- Basis: Since Helen Garcia had been preterited in the
will, the institution of Lucy Duncan as heirwas annulled. Hence the properties passed to
both of them as if the deceased had died intestate, saving only the legacies left in
favor of certain other persons, which legacies have been duly approved by the
lower court and distributed to the legatees. Hence this appeal. The CFI ruled, and
appellee maintains
, t h a t t h e r e h a s b e e n p r e t e r i t i o n o f H e l e n G a r c i a , a compulsory heir in the
direct line, resulting in the annulment of the institution of heir pursuant to Article 854
of the Civil Code, which provides:
ART. 854.
The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct
line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the
testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises and legacies shall be valid
insofar as they are not inofficious.
Appellant contends that this is not a case of preterition. Considering the provisions
of the will whereby the testator expressly denied his relationship with Helen Garcia, but
left
to
her
a
legacyn e v e r t h e l e s s a l t h o u g h l e s s t h a n t h e a m o u n t o f h e r l e g i t i m e , s h e
w a s i n e f f e c t d e f e c t i v e l y disinherited. Based on Articles 906 and 918 of the Civil
Code, Helen Garcia is entitled only to her legitime, and not to a share of the estate
equal that of Lucy Duncan as if the succession were intestate.
Issue: WON the estate, after deducting the legacies, should be
divided in equal shares, OR the inheritance of Lucy as instituted heir
should be merely reduced

Held/Ratio: Lucy's inheritance should be merely reduced to the


extent necessary to cover Helen's legitime, equivalent to 1/4 of the
entire estate.
Edward Christensen refused to acknowledge Helen Garcia as his natural daughter, and
limited her share to a legacy of P3,600.00. The fact that she was subsequently declared
judicially to possess such status is no reason to assume that had the judicial declaration
come during his lifetime his subjective attitude towards her would have undergone any
change and that he would have willed his estate equally to her and to Lucy Duncan, who alone
was expressly recognized by him. When a testator leaves to a forced heir a legacy worth
less than the legitime, but without referring to the legatee as an heir or even as a
relative, and willed the rest of the estate to other persons the heir could not ask that
the institution of the heirs be annulled entirely, but only that the legitime be
completed. CFI's order is set aside; case remanded with instructions to partition the
hereditary estate anew.
Nuguid vs Nuguid, No. L-23445, June 23, 1966; 17 SCRA 449, digested
Posted by Pius Morados on January 4, 2012
(Special Proceedings Difference between Preterition and Disinheritance)
Facts: Rosario died without descendants, legitimate or illegitimate. Surviving her were
her legitimate parents Felix and Paz, and 6 brothers and sisters.
Remedios, one of the sister filed in court a holographic will allegedly executed by
Rosario instituting the former as the sole, universal heir of all her properties. She prayed
that said will be admitted to probate and that letter of administration be issued to her.
Felix and Paz opposed to the probate of the will on the ground that by the institution of
Remedios as universal heir of the deceased, oppositors who are compulsory heirs in
the direct ascending line were illegally preterited and that in consequence, the
institution is void.
Article 854 provides that preterition of one, some or all of the compulsory heirs in the
direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of
the testator, shall annul the institution of heir.
Petitioners contention is that the present is a case of ineffective disinheritance rather
than one of preterition drawing the conclusion that Article 854 does not apply in the case
at bar.
Issue: WON the institution of one of the sister of the deceased as the sole, universal
heir preterited the compulsory heirs.
Held: Yes. Where the deceased left no descendants, legitimate or illegitimate, but she
left forced heirs in the direct ascending line her parents, and her holographic will does

not explicitly disinherit them but simply omits their names altogether, the case is one of
preterition of the parents, not a case of ineffective disinheritance.
Preterition consists in the omission in the testators will of the forced heirs or anyone of
them, either because they are not mentioned therein, or, through mentioned, they are
neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited. Disinheritance, in turn, is a
testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heir of his share in the legitime for a
cause authorized by law.
Where the one sentence will institutes the petitioner as the sole, universal heir and
preterits the parents of the testatrix, and it contains no specific legacies or bequests,
such universal institution of petitioner, by itself, is void. And intestate succession ensues.
Reyes vs. Barretto-Datu
1967 | JBL Reyes
Nature:
Direct appeal from judgment of CFI dismissing the complaint of Tirso Reyes
andordering the same to deliver to Lucia Milagros Barretto-Datu the properties received
by hisdeceased wife under the terms of the will of the late Bibiano Barretto.
Parties:
Tirso Reyes, guardian of minors Azucena, Flordelis and Tirso, all surnamed Reyes
y Barretto,PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTSLucia Milagros Barretto-Datu, DEFENDANTAPPELLEE
Facts:
Bibiano
Barretto
was married to Maria
Gerardo. During their lifetime,
they acquired vastestate (real property in Manila, Pampanga and Bulacan). When
Bibiano died (Feb. 18, 1936),h e l e f t h i s s h a r e i n a w i l l t o S a l u d B a r r e t t o
( m o t h e r o f t h e m i n o r s ) a n d L u c i a M i l a g r o s Barretto; and a small portion as
legacies to his sisters Rosa Barretto and Felisa Barretto andhis nephew and nieces.
The usufruct of a fishpond was reserved for Maria (the widow).
Asappointed administratrix, Maria prepared a project of partition, signed by
her
in
her
ownb e h a l f a n d a s g u a r d i a n o f t h e m i n o r M i l a g r o s . I t w a s a p p r o v
e d , a n d t h e e s t a t e w a s distributed and the shares delivered. Salud took
immediate possession of her share and secured the cancellation of OCTs
and issuance of new titles in her name.Upon Marias death (Mar. 5, 1948), it was
discovered that she executed
two wills: in the first,she instituted Salud and Milagros as her heirs; in the
second, she revoked the same andleft all her properties in favor of
Milagros alone.Thelater will was allowed and the firstrejected.
In rejecting the first will presented by Tirso Reyes (as guardian of the children
of Salud Barretto), the TC held that Salud wasnot the daughter of the decedent Maria
by herhusband Bibiano. The SC affirmed the same.
TC: The project of partition submitted in the proceedings for the settlement of thee s t a
t e o f B i b i a n o i s n u l l a n d v o i d ab initio(not merely voidable) becaus
e t h e d i s t r i b u t e e ( S a l u d ) , p r e d e c e s s o r o f Ti r s o e t . a l . , w a s n o t a d a u g h

t e r o f t h e S p s . Bibiano and Maria. The nullity of the project of partition was decreed
on the basis of
Art. 1081 (OCC)
( A partition in which a person was believed to be an heir, without being so, has been
included, shall be null and void). As Milagros was the only trueheir of Bibiano,
she was entitled to recover from Salud and her successors all theproperties
received by her from Bibianos estate, in view of Art. 1456 (NCC) whichstates
that property acquired by mistake or fraud is held by its acquirer in
impliedtrust for the real owner.Having lost the fight for a share in the estate of Maria as
her legitimate heir, Tirso now fallsback upon the remnant of the estate of Bibiano (the
fishpond), which was given in usufructto Maria. Hence, this action for the recovery
of the one-half portion thereof.

This actionafforded Milagros an opportunity to set up her right of ownership;


not only of the fishpondunder litigation, but of all the other properties willed
and delivered to Salud, for being a s p u r i o u s h e i r, a n d n o t e n t i t l e d
t o a n y s h a r e i n t h e e s t a t e o f B i b i a n o , t h e r e b y d i r e c t l y attacking the
validity, not only of the project of partition, but of the decision of the
courtbased thereon as well.
Issues/Held:
(1)W/N the partition from which Salud acquired the fishpond in question is void
ab initioand Salud did not acquire valid title to it.NO.
(2)W/N Milagros action is barred by the statute of limitations. YES.
Ratio
(1)
Art. 1081 (OCC) is misapplied!

Salud admittedly had been instituted heir inBibianos last will and tes
t a m e n t t o g e t h e r w i t h M i l a g r o s . H e n c e , t h e p a r t i t i o n h a d between
them
could not be one such had with a party who was believed to be an heir without
really being one, and was not null and void under Art. 1081. The legal precept of Art.
1081 does not speak of children, or descendants, but of
heirs
(without distinctionbetween forced, voluntary or intestate ones), and the fact that Salud
did not happen tobe a daughter of the testator
does not preclude
her being one of the heirs expresslynamed in his testament; for Bibiano was at
liberty
to
assign
the
free
portion
of
his
estatet o w h o m s o e v e r h e c h o s e . W h i l e t h e
share ()
assigned
t o S a l u d i m p i n g e d o n t h e legitime of Milagros, Salud did not for that reason
cease to be a testamentary heir of Bibiano. Nor does the fact that Milagros was
allotted in her fathers will a share smallerthan her legitime invalidate the institution of
Salud as heir, since there was no preteritionor total omission of a forced heir here. The

view that the partition in question is void for being a compromise on the civil statusof
Salud, in violation of Art. 1814 (OCC) is erroneous.A compromise presupposes
thesettlement of a controversy through mutual concessions of the parties; and the
conditiono f S a l u d a s d a u g h t e r o f t h e t e s t a t o r B i b i a n o , w h i l e u n t r u e ,
w a s a t n o t i m e d i s p u t e d during the settlement of the estate of testator.
There can be no compromise over issuesnot in dispute.
While a compromise over civil status is prohibited, the law nowhereforbids a
settlement by the parties over the share that should correspond to a claimantto the
estate.At any rate, independently of the project of partition (a mere proposal for
distribution of estate), it is the court alone that makes the distribution of the estate and
determines thepersons entitled thereto and the parts to which each is entitled. It is that
judicial decreeof distribution, once final, that vests title in the distributees.

Where a court has validlyissued a decree of distribution of the estate, and the same has
become final, the validityor invalidity of the project of partition becomes irrelevant.
(2)Milagros contends that as Maria could not have ignored that Salud was not her
child,the act of Maria in agreeing to the partition and distribution was a fraud
on her rightsand entitles her to belief. This contention is unfounded.
First , t h e r e i s n o e v i d e n c e t h a t w h e n B i b i a n o s e s t a t e w a s j u d i c i
a l l y s e t t l e d a n d distributed, Salud knew that she was not Bibianos child. Thus, if
fraud was committed, itwas Maria who was solely responsible; and neither Salud nor
her minor children can beheld liable therefor.
Second, granting there was such fraud, relief therefor can be obtained within 4
yearsfrom its discovery, and the record shows that this period had elapsed a long time
ago.

At the time of distribution, Milagros was only 16. She became of age 5 years
later(1944). On that year, her cause of action accrued to contest on the
ground of fraudthe court decree distributing her fathers estate and the 4-year period
of limitationstarted to run, to expire in 1948. Conceding that Milagros only became
aware of thetrue facts in 1946, her action still became extinct in 1950.

Her action was barred inAug. 1956, when she filed her counterclaim in this case
contesting the decree of distribution of Bibianos estate.

There is no evidence of an alleged verbal promise by Tirso to reconvey the


propertiesreceived by Salud, which allegedly induced Milagros to delay the filing of the
action.Granting that there was such promise, it would not bind Tirsos wards,
who are thereal parties-in-interest. An abdicative waiver of rights by a guardian, being
an act of
disposition, and not of administration, cannot bind his wards, being null and void asto
them unless duly authorized by the proper court
Dispositive:
CFI decision REVERSED and SET ASIDE, insofar as it orders Tirso to reconvey
toMilagros the properties enumerated in said decision. The same is

AFFIRMED, insofar as itdenies any right of Milagros to accounting. The action for
partition of the fishpond must beGIVEN DUE COURSE.
Escuin vs Escuin
Escuin vs Escuin
Facts:
The decedent designated in his will his father and his wife as his sole heirs. He ignored
his recognized natural child.
Issue:
Whether or not the will is valid.
Held:
The will is partly valid. It is valid with respect to the 2/3 of the properties which the
testator can freely dispose. The 1/3 should be give to his recognized natural child.
The above-mentioned will neither null, void, nor illegal in so far as the testator leaves
two-thirds of his property to his father and wife; testamentary provisions impairing the
legal portion of a general heir shall be reduced in so far as they are illegal or excessive.
The late testator did not leave a recognized natural child, the appellant minor, and a
widow; that the said minor, Emilio Escuin y Batac, is the general heir of his natural
father, the said testator who recognized him while living, and in the present case is
entitled to one-third of his estate, which amount constitutes the legal portion of a natural
child; and for the reason that the minor was ignored by his natural father in his will, the
designation of heirs made therein was, as matter of fact annulled by force of law, in so
far as legal portion of the said minor was thereby impaired. Legacies and betterments
shall be valid, in so far as they are not illegal, for the reason that a testator can not
deprive the heirs of their legal portions, except in the cases expressly indicated by law
BALANAY, JR. vs. MARTINEZ
64 SCRA 452
FACTS:
Leodegaria Julian died. She was survived by her husband, Felix Balanay, Sr., and six
legitimate children.Felix Balanay, Jr. filed a petition for the probate of his mothers
notarial will, which was written in English. In thatwill, Leodegaria declared that it was her
desire her properties should not be divided among her heirs during her husband's
lifetime and that their legitimes should be satisfied out of the fruits of her properties. She
devised andpartitioned 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. There
after, Felix Balanay, Sr. signed an instrument waiving and renouncing his right in
Leodegarias estate in favor of their 6 children.

ISSUE:Whether or not the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of
the will, before ruling on itsallowance or formal validity, and in declaring it void.
RULING: 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. But the
probate court erred in declaring that the will was void and in converting the testate
proceeding into an intestate proceeding. 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.(Relate to Articles 779 and 780 : In this case, there is testamentary
succession because it resulted from the designation of heirs by the testatrix, made in a will
executed in the form prescribed by law. It can be considered as a mixed succession because there
is partly by will (execution of the will and execution of the waiver) and by operation of law (as
to the share of the husband of the conjugal party of which he eventually waived.
Solano vs. CA, Bienvenido/Emeteria Garcia
GR L 41971 November 29, 1983
FACTS:
Bienvenido and Emeteria filed an action for recognition against Melita Solano Meliton died
during the pendency of the petition and his daughter substituted him while asking for the
probate of the will of the decedent. RTC specified the legal issues as 1) the recognition of
Garcias, 2) correct status of Zonia, 3) the hereditary share of each of them in view of the
probated will. In deciding, RTC declared Garcias as illegitimate children of late Meliton.; the
institution of Sonia as sole heir declared null and void, the 3 children shall share equally the
estate CA affirmed.
ISSUE:
Whether or not total intestacy resulted from the declaration that the institution of sole heir from
decedents will.
RULING:
That being compulsory heirs, the Garcias were preterited from Melitons will, and as a result,
Sonias institution as sole heir is null and void pursuant to Art. 854
The preterition or omission of one, some or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line,
whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the
testator, shall annul the institution of heir, but the devises and legacies shall be valid
The intention of the decedent is to favor Sonia with certain portions of his property which the
testator had the right to such so that it should be upheld as to the one-half portion of the
property that the testator could freely dispose of Sonias share is hereby declared to be 4/6 of

the estate and Garcias 1/6 each. The usufruct in favor of will should not be invalidated all
together.
ACAIN vs. IAC
October 27, 1987
FACTS:
Constantino filed a petition for the probate of the will of the late Nemesio. The will
provided that all his shares from properties he earned with his wife shall be given to his brother
Segundo (father of Constantino). In case Segundo dies, all such property shall be given to
Segundos children. Segundo pre-deceased Nemesio.
The oppositors Virginia, a legally adopted daughter of the deceased, and the latter's
widow Rosa filed a motion to dismiss on the following grounds:
(1) the petitioner has no legal capacity to institute these proceedings;
(2) he is merely a universal heir and
(3) the widow and the adopted daughter have been preterited.
ISSUE:
Was there preterition?
HELD:
Preterition consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of
them either because they are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither
instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited.

Insofar as the widow is concerned, Article

854 may not apply as she does not ascend or descend from the testator, although she is a
compulsory heir. Even if the surviving spouse is a compulsory heir, there is no
preterition even if she is omitted from the inheritance, for she is not in the direct
line.
The same thing cannot be said of the other respondent Virginia, whose legal adoption by
the testator has not been questioned by petitioner. Adoption gives to the adopted person
the same rights and duties as if he were a legitimate child of the adopter and makes
the adopted person a legal heir of the adopter. It cannot be denied that she was totally

omitted and preterited in the will of the testator and that both adopted child and the widow were
deprived of at least their legitime. Neither can it be denied that they were not expressly
disinherited. This is a clear case of preterition of the legally adopted child.
Preterition annuls the institution of an heir and annulment throws open to intestate
succession the entire inheritance. The only provisions which do not result in intestacy are the
legacies and devises made in the will for they should stand valid and respected, except insofar as
the legitimes are concerned.
The universal institution of petitioner together with his brothers and sisters to the entire
inheritance of the testator results in totally abrogating the will because the nullification of such
institution of universal heirs - without any other testamentary disposition in the will - amounts
to a declaration that nothing at all was written.
In order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he must have
an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it. Petitioner is not the
appointed executor, neither a devisee or a legatee there being no mention in the testamentary
disposition of any gift of an individual item of personal or real property he is called upon to
receive. At the outset, he appears to have an interest in the will as an heir. However, intestacy
having resulted from the preterition of respondent adopted child and the universal institution of
heirs, petitioner is in effect not an heir of the testator. He has no legal standing to petition for
the probate of the will left by the deceased.