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A mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value of
the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by
operation of law. (Art. 774)
1 Testamentary or Testacy (by will);
2 Legal or intestacy (by operation of law based on the decedents presumed will);
3 Mixed (Partly Testamentary and Legal); and
4 Partition inter vivos (to a certain degree).
1 DECEDENT (subjective element)
2 SUCCESSORS (subjective element)
a Heirs - those who are called to the whole or to an aliquot portion of the inheritance either by will or by
operation of law
1 Voluntary those instituted by the testator in his will, to succeed to the inheritance or the portion
thereof of which the testator can freely dispose.
2 Compulsory or Forced those who succeed by force of law to some portion of the inheritance, in an
amount predetermined by law, known as the legitime.
3 Legal or Intestate those who succeed to the estate of the decedent who dies without a valid will, or
to the portion of such estate not disposed of by will.
b Devisees or legatees - persons to whom gifts of real or personal property are respectively given by virtue
of a will
NOTE: The distinctions between heirs and devisees/legatees are significant in these cases:
1 Preterition (pretermission)
2 Imperfect disinheritance
3 After-acquired properties
4 Acceptance or non-repudiation of the successional rights.

DEATH OF THE DECEDENT (casual element)

Moment when rights to succeed are transmitted (Art 777)

However, a person may be presumed dead for the purpose of opening his succession (see rules on
presumptive death). In this case, succession is only of provisional character because there is always the
chance that the absentee may still be alive.
Inheritance (objective element);

NOTE: Whatever may be the time when actual transmission takes place, succession takes place in any event at the
moment of the decedents death. (Lorenzo vs. Posadas 64 Phil 353)
Refers to the legal
mode by which
transmitted to the
persons entitled
to it
Inheritance includes:

entirety of the
and obligations of
a person who died


General rules on rights and obligations extinguished by his death
a Rights which are purely personal are by their nature and purpose intransmissible for they are
extinguished by death (e.g. those relating to civil personality, family rights, discharge of office).
b Rights which are patrimonial or relating to property are generally part of inheritance as they are not
extinguished by death.
Rights of obligations are by nature transmissible and may constitute part of inheritance both with respect
to the rights of the creditor and as regards to the obligations of the debtor.


WILL - an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree
the disposition of his estate to take effect after his death (Art. 783)
NOTE: Thus, a document that does not purport to dispose of ones estate either by the institution of heirs or
designation of devisees/legatees or, indirectly, by effecting a disinheritance, is not to be governed by the law on
testamentary succession but by some other applicable laws.
Kinds of Wills:
1 Notarial or ordinary
2 Holographic
Characteristics of a Will:
2 STRICTLY PERSONAL ACT - The disposition of property is solely dependent upon the testator.
NOTE: The following acts MAY NOT be left to the discretion of a third person: (Article 785, 787 Civil Code)
duration or efficacy of the designation of heirs, devisees or legatees;
determination of the portions which they are to take, when referred to by name; and
determination of whether or not the testamentary disposition is to be operative.

NOTE: However, the following acts MAY be entrusted to a third person: (Article 786 Civil Code)
a. distribution of specific property or sums of money that he may leave in general to specified classes or
causes; and
b. designation of the persons, institutions or establishments to which such property or sums are to be given or
3. FREE AND VOLUNTARY ACT Any vice affecting the testamentary freedom can cause the disallowance of the
4. FORMAL AND SOLEMN ACT The formalities are essential for the validity of the will.
7. INDIVIDUAL ACT Two or more persons cannot make a single joint will, either for their reciprocal benefit or for
another person. However, separate or individually executed wills, although containing reciprocal provisions
(mutual wills), are not prohibited, subject to the rule on disposicion captatoria.

The testators intent (animus testandi), as well as giving effect to such intent, is primordial. It is sometimes said
that the supreme law in succession is the intent of the testator. All rules of construction are designed to ascertain
and give effect to that intention. It is only when the intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public
policy that it cannot be given effect.
In case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative shall be preferred. That
construction is to be adopted which will sustain and uphold the will in all its parts, if it can be done consistently
with the established rules of law.
Kinds of Ambiguities: (Article 786)
1. LATENT OR INTRINSIC AMBIGUITIES that which does not appear on the face of the will and is discovered only by
extrinsic evidence.
2. PATENT OR EXTRINSIC AMBIGUITIES that which appears on the face of the will itself
There is no distinction between patent and latent ambiguities, in so far as the admissibility of parol or
extrinsic evidence to aid testamentary disposition is concerned.
Extrinsic evidence to explain ambiguities in a will cannot include oral declarations of the testator as to his
The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of law in force at the time it is made. (Art.
If a law different from the law in force at the time of the execution of the will goes into effect before or after
the death of the testator, such a law shall not affect the validity of the will, provided that such will was duly
executed In accordance with the formalities prescribed by law in force at the time it was made.
Gen. Rule: Property acquired during the period between the execution of the will and the death of the testator is
NOT included among the property disposed of.
Exception: When a contrary intention expressly appears in the will
NOTE: This rule applies only to legacies and devises and not to institution of heirs.
refers to the ability as well as the power to make a will.
- must be present at the time of the execution of the will.
1 At least 18 years of age
2 Of sound mind, i.e., the ability to know:
a the nature of the estate to be disposed of;
b the proper objects of his bounty; and
the character of the testamentary act.
NOTE: The law presumes that the testator is of sound mind, UNLESS:
a. he, one month or less, before making his will, was publicly known to be insane; or
b. was under guardianship at the time of making his will. (Torres and Lopez de Bueno vs. Lopez 48 Phil 772)
In both cases, the burden of proving sanity is cast upon proponents of the will.
Effect of Certain Infirmities:
1 mere senility or infirmity of old age does not necessarily imply that a person lacks testamentary capacity;
2 physical infirmity or disease is not inconsistent with testamentary capacity;


persons suffering from idiocy (those congenitally deficient in intellect), imbecility (those who are mentally
deficient as a result of disease), and senile dementia (peculiar decay of the mental faculties whereby the
person afflicted is reduced to second childhood) do not possess the necessary mental capacity to make a will;
an insane delusion which will render one incapable of making a will may be defined as a belief in things which
do not exist, and which no rational mind would believe to exist;
if the insane delusion touches to subject matter of the will, testamentary disposition is void.
a deaf-mute and blind person can make a will (i.e. Art. 807-808). A blind man with a sound and disposing mind
can make a holographic will.
an intoxicated person or person under the influence of drugs may make a will as there is no complete loss of
Exception: where the testator has used intoxicating liquor or drugs excessively to such an extent as to impair
his mind, so that at the time the will is executed, he does not know the extent and value of his property, or
the names of persons who are the natural objects of his bounty, the instrument thus executed will be denied
probate for lack of testamentary capacity.

1 Every will must be in writing; and
1. Executed in a language or dialect known to the testator.
a SUBSCRIPTION made at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by some
other person in his presence and by his express direction;

Subscription refers to the manual act of testator and also of his instrumental witnesses of affixing their
signature to the instrument.
b ATTESTATION AND SUBSCRIPTION - (evidenced by an attestation clause) by 3 or more credible witnesses in
the presence of the testator and of one another;

Attestation consists in the act of witnesses of witnessing the execution of the will in order to see and take
note mentally that such will has been executed in accordance with requirements prescribed by law.

1. an act of the senses

1. an act of the hand

2. mental act
3. purpose is to render available proof during
probate of will

2. mechanical act
3. purpose is identification

MARGINAL SIGNATURES affixed by the testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the
instrumental witnesses of the will on each and every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin;

Exceptions to the rule that all of the pages of the will shall have to be signed on the left margin by the
testator and witnesses::
(1) in the last page, when the will consists of two or more pages;
(2) when the will consists of only one page;
(3) when the will consists of two pages, the first of which contains all the testamentary dispositions and is
signed at the bottom by the testator and the witnesses and the second contains only the attestation clause
duly signed at the bottom by the witnesses.

The inadvertent failure of one witness to affix his signature to one page of a testament, due to the
simultaneous lifting of two pages in the course of signing, is not per se sufficient to justify denial of probate
(Icasiano vs. Icasiano II SCRA 422).

PAGE NUMBERINGS Written correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page;

NOTE: This is not necessary when all of the dispositive parts of a will are written on one sheet only.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT Done before a notary public by the testator and the instrumental witnesses.

NOTE: The notary public before whom the will was acknowledged cannot be considered as the third instrumental
witness since he cannot acknowledge before himself his having signed the will. If the third witness were the
notary public himself, he would have to avow, assent, or admit his having signed the will in front of himself. To
allow such would have the effect of having only two attesting witnesses to the will which would be in
contravention of Arts. 805 and 806. (Cruz vs. Villasor 54 SCRA 31)

The use of any signature, marks or design intended by the testator to authenticate renders the will sufficiently
signed by the testator.

A signature by mark will be sufficient even if at the time of placing it, the testator knew how to write and is
able to do so.

It is sufficiently signed by writing his initials, or his first name, or he may use even an assumed name.

A complete signature is not essential to the validity of a will, provided the part of the name written was
affixed to the instrument with intent to execute it as a will.
- memorandum or record of facts wherein the witnesses certify that the will has been executed before them, and
that it has been executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.

Absence of this clause will render the will a nullity.

It must state the following ESSENTIAL FACTS:
1 the number of pages used upon which the will is written;
HOWEVER, even if number of pages is omitted in the AC BUT if there is an acknowledgment clause which states the
number of pages or the will itself mentioned such number of pages, it may still be considered valid applying the
Liberal Interpretation of the law. (Tabuada vs. Rosal)

the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to write
his name, under his express direction, in the presence of the instrumental witnesses;
When the testator expressly caused another to sign the formers name, this fact must be recited in the
attestation clause. Otherwise, the will is fatally defective. (Garcia vs. Lacuesta 90 Phil 489)

that the witnesses witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator
and of one another.

TEST OF PRESENCE: Not whether they actually saw each other sign, but whether they might have seen each
other sign had they chosen to do so considering their mental and physical condition and position with relation
to each other at the moment of inscription of each signature. (Jaboneta vs. Gustilo)

In the case of an ordinary or attested will, its attestation clause need not be written in a language or dialect
known to the testator since it does not form part of the testamentary disposition.

The language used in the attestation clause likewise need not even be known to the attesting witnesses. Art.
805 merely requires that, in such a case, the attestation clause shall be interpreted to said witnesses.
(Caneda vs. CA 222 SCRA 781)

Effects of defects or imperfections in the Attestation Clause:

If the defect of the attestation clause goes into the very essence of the clause itself or consists in the omission
of one, some, or all of the essential facts, and such omission cannot be cured by an examination of the will
itself, the defect is substantial in character, as a consequence of which the will is invalidated.

However, In the absence of bad faith, forgery, fraud, or undue and improper pressure and influence, defects
and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if
it is proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with Art. 805 (formal
requirements). This is known as the DOCTRINE OF LIBERAL INTERPRETATION (Art. 809)

Purposes of requiring witness to attest and to subscribe to a will:

1 identification of the instrument
2 protection of the testator from fraud and deception
3 the ascertainment of the testamentary capacity of the testator.
NOTE: Certain points to consider (Tolentino)
1 Mere knowledge by testator that another is signing, and acquiescing in it, there being no express direction, is
NOT sufficient.
2 Not required that the name of the person who writes the testators name should also appear on the will;
enough that testators name is written.
3 If the required numbers of attesting witness are competent, the fact that an additional witness, who was
incompetent also attested to the will, cannot impair the validity.
4 Immaterial in what order the acts are performed provided the signature or acknowledgment by the testator
and the attestation of the witnesses be accomplished in one occasion, and as part of one transaction.
5 The law refers to page and not to sheet or leaf or folio, so every page used in the will should be signed on the
left margin.
6 An attestation clause need be signed ONLY by the witnesses and not by the testator as it is a declaration made
by the witnesses.
7 date of will:
a ordinary will: not an essential part;
b holographic will: an essential part.
8 Failure or error to state the place of execution will not invalidate the will.
9 Signing of a will by the testator and witnesses and acknowledgment before a notary public, need not be a
single act.
10 Testamentary capacity must also exist at the time of acknowledgment.
1 Deaf or deaf-mute testator:
a personal reading of the will, if able to do so; OR
b if not possible, designation of 2 persons to read the will and communicate to him, in some practicable
manner, the contents thereof. (Article 807)
2 Blind testator:

Double-reading requirement:

a first, by one of the subscribing witnesses, AND

b second, by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged. (Article 808)
Art. 808 applies not only to blind testators but also to those who, for one reason or another are incapable of
reading their wills (e.g. poor, defective or blurred vision).

In a case where the testator did not read the final draft of the will, but the lawyer who drafted the document,
read the same aloud in the presence of the testator, 3 witnesses, and notary public, the Court held that the
formal imperfections should be brushed aside when the spirit behind the law was served though the letter was
not. (Alvarado vs. Gaviola 226 SCRA 347)


(ARTS. 820 & 821)
1 of sound mind;
2 able to read and write;
3 not blind, deaf or dumb;
4 at least 18 years of age;
5 domiciled in the Philippines;
6 has not been convicted of falsification of a document, perjury, or false testimony
NOTE: A witness need not know the contents of the will, and need not be shown to have had a good standing in
the community where he lives. Also, the acknowledging notary public cannot be one of the 3 minimum numbers of
Interested witness

A witness to a will who is incapacitated from succeeding from the testator by reason of a devise/legacy or
other testamentary disposition therein in his favor, or in favor of his spouse, parent, or child. However, his
competence as a witness subsists.
2. HOLOGRAPHIC WILL (Article 810)
a entirely written by the hand of the testator;
b entirely dated by the hand of the testator; and
entirely signed by the hand of the testator.
NOTE: The law exacts literal compliance with these requirements. HENCE, THE DOCTRINE OF LIBERAL

Nevertheless, the Court held in a case that as a general rule, the date in a holographic will should include
the day, month, and year of its execution. However, when there is no appearance of fraud, bad faith, undue
influence and pressure and the authenticity of the will is established and the only issue is whether or not the
date FEB./61 appearing on the will is a valid compliance with Art. 810, probate of the holographic will
should be allowed under the principle of substantial compliance. (In the matter of Intestate Estate of Andres
de Jesus and Bibiana Roxas de Jesus, 134 SCRA 245)

Rule in case of insertion, cancellation, erasure or alteration:

Testator must authenticate the same by his FULL SIGNATURE. (Article 814)
NOTE: In the case of Kalaw vs. Relova (134 SCRA 241), the holographic will in dispute had only one substantial
provision, which was altered by substituting the original heir with another, but which alteration did not carry the
requisite of full authentication by the full signature of the testator, the effect must be that the entire will is
voided or revoked for the simple reason that nothing remains in the will after that which could remain valid.
Effects of words written by another and inserted in the words written by the testator:
a If the insertion was made after the execution of the will, but without the consent of the testator, such
insertion is considered as not written, because the validity of the will cannot be defeated by the malice or
caprice of third person.


If the insertion after the execution of the will was with the consent of the testator, the will remains valid but
the insertion is void.
If the insertion after the execution is validated by the testator by his signature thereon, then the insertion
becomes part of the will, and the entire will becomes void, because of failure to comply with the
requirement that it must be wholly written by the testator.
If the insertion made by a third person is made contemporaneous to the execution of the will, then the will is
void because it is not written entirely by the testator.

Probate of Holographic Will

1 If UNCONTESTED, requires that at least 1 witness who knows the handwriting and signature of the testator
explicitly declare that the will and signature are in the handwriting of the testator; if no witness, expert
testimony may be resorted to.
2 If CONTESTED, requires at least 3 of such credible witnesses, if none expert witness.
NOTE: Where the testator himself petitions for the probate of his holographic will and no contest is file, the fact
that he affirms that the holographic will and the signature are in his own handwriting, shall be sufficient evidence
thereof. If the holographic will is contested, the burden of disproving the genuineness and due execution thereof
shall be on the contestant.

A photostatic or xerox copy of a lost or destroyed holographic will may be admitted because the authenticity
of the handwriting of the deceased can be determined by the probate court, as comparison can be made with
the standard writings of the testator. (Rodelas vs. Aranza, 119 SCRA 16)


1 As to time:

The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is made.
Its intrinsic validity, however, is judged at the time of the decedents death by the law of his nationality.

As to place:
Filipino testator executing a will in the Philippines: Philippine law
Filipino testator executing a will outside of the Philippines: either
1 The law of the country in which it is executed; or
2 The law of the Philippines.
Alien testator executing a will in the Philippines: either
1 The law of the Philippines; or
2 The law of the country of which he is a citizen or subject.
Alien testator executing a will outside of the Philippines: either
1 The law of the place where it is executed; or
2 The law of the place in which he resides; or
3 The law of his country; or
4 The law of the Philippines.

Aspects of the will governed by National Law of the Decedent (Article 1039 and Article 16 Civil Code)
a Order of succession
b Amount of successional rights
Intrinsic validity
d Capacity to succeed
Joint will a single testamentary instrument which contains the wills of two or more persons, jointly executed by
them, either for their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person
--will of 2 or more persons is made in the same instrument and is jointly signed by them

Mutual wills wills executed pursuant to an agreement between two or more persons to dispose of their property
in a particular manner, each in consideration of the other
--separate wills of 2 persons, which are reciprocal in their provisions.
Reciprocal wills- wills in which the testators name each other as beneficiaries under similar testamentary plans
NOTE: A will that is both joint and mutual is one executed jointly by two or more persons, the provisions of which
are reciprocal and which shows on its face that the devises are made in consideration of the other. Such is
1 will is purely personal and unilateral act
2 contrary to the revocable character of a will
3 may expose the testator to undue influence, and may even induce one of the testators to kill the other.
NOTE: Joint wills executed by Filipinos in a foreign country shall not be valid in the Philippines, even though
authorized by the foreign country in which they may have been executed (Article 819 Civil Code).
This prohibition is applicable only in joint wills executed by Filipinos in a foreign country; it does NOT
APPLY to joint wills executed by aliens.



A supplement or addition to a will, made after the execution of a will and annexed to be taken as a part
thereof, by which any disposition made in the original will is explained, added to, or altered. (Article 825)
NOTE: To be effective, it must be executed as in the case of a will. Its execution has the effect of republishing
the will as modified.
(ART 827)

Contemplates only lists of properties, books of accounts, and inventories.

Provisions which are in the nature of testamentary dispositions must be contained in the will itself.
Requisites for a valid incorporation by reference: (ART 827)
1 The document or paper referred to in the will must be in existence at the time of the execution of the will;
2 The will must clearly describe and identify the same, stating among other things the number of pages thereof;
3 It must be identified by clear and satisfactory proof as the document or paper referred to therein;
4 It must be signed by the testator and the witnesses on each and every page, except in case of voluminous
books of account or inventories.

An act of the mind, terminating the potential capacity of the will to operate at the death of the testator,
manifested by some outward or visible act or sign, symbolic thereof. Such right to revoke a will cannot be
waived or restricted.
1 If the revocation takes place in the Philippines, whether the testator is domiciled in the Philippines or in
some other country, it is valid when it is in accordance with the laws of the Philippines
2 If the revocation takes place outside the Philippines, by a testator who is domiciled in the Philippines, it is
valid when it is in accordance with the laws of the Philippines

Revocation done outside the Philippines, by a testator who does not have his domicile in this country, is valid
when it is done according to the:
a laws of the place where the will was made, or
b laws of the place in which the testator had his domicile at the time of revocation;


1 By implication of law:
a legal separation revokes testamentary provisions in favor of the offending spouse;
b preterition revokes the institution of heir;
c judicial action for recovery of debt revokes a legacy of credit/remission of debt;
d transformation, alienation, or loss of bequeathed property revokes a legacy of such property;
e act of unworthiness by an heir, devisee/legatee revokes testamentary provisions in his favor;
if both spouses of the subsequent marriage acted in bad faith, said marriage shall be void ab initio and
testamentary dispositions made by one in favor of the other are revoked by operation of law (Art. 44,
Family Code); and
g void ab initio or annulled marriages revoke testamentary dispositions made by one spouse in favor of the
other (Art. 50, Family Code).
2 By some will, codicil, or other writing, executed as provided in case of wills, which may either be:
a Express when there is a revocatory clause expressly revoking the previous will or a part thereof
b Implied when the provisions thereof are partially or entirely inconsistent with those of the previous will
NOTE: While express revocation may be effected by a subsequent will, or a codicil, or a nontestamentary writing
executed as provided in case of wills, implied revocation may be effected only by either a subsequent will, or a

By burning, tearing, cancelling, or obliterating the will.

a testamentary capacity at the time of performing the act of destruction;
b intent to revoke (animus revocandi);
c actual physical act of destruction;
d completion of the subjective phase; and
e performed by the testator himself or by some other person in his presence and express direction

NOTE: The act of revocation is a personal act of the testator. He cannot delegate to an agent the authority to do
the act for him. Another person, however, may be selected by him as an instrument and directed to do the
revocatory acts in his presence. A destruction not accomplished in the testators presence is an ineffective
revocation of the will.

Whenever it is established that the testator had in his possession or had ready access to the will, but upon his
death it cannot be found or located, the presumption arises that it must have been revoked by him by an
overt act.

Where it is shown that the will was in custody of the testator after its execution, and subsequently, it was
found among the testators effects after his death in such a state of mutilation, cancellation or obliteration as
represents a sufficient act of revocation, it will be presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that
such act was performed by the testator with the intention of revoking the will.

A revocation subject to a condition does not revoke a will unless and until the condition occurs. Thus, where a
testator revokes a will with the proven intention that he would execute another will, his failure to validly
make a latter will would permit the allowance of the earlier will.

Where the act of destruction is connected with the making of another will so as fairly to raise the inference
that the testator meant the revocation of the old to depend upon the efficacy of the new disposition intended
to be substituted, the revocation will be conditional and dependent upon the efficacy of the new disposition;
and if for any reason, the new will intended to be made as a substitute is inoperative, the revocation fails and
the original will remains in full force (Vda. De Molo vs. Molo 90 Phil 37).

Revocation by mistake

A revocation of a will based on a false cause or an illegal cause is null and void. Thus, where a testator by a
codicil or later will, expressly grounding such revocation on the assumption of fact which turns out to be false,
as where it is stated that the legatees/devisees named therein are dead, when in fact, they are living, the
revocation does not take effect.

The act of the testator whereby he reproduces in a subsequent will (express) the dispositions contained in a
previous will which is void as to its form, or he executes a codicil (constructive) to his will.

Its purpose is to cure the will of its formal defects.

To republish a will void as to its form, all the dispositions must be reproduced or copied in the new or
subsequent will;
To republish a will valid as to its form but already revoked the execution of a codicil which makes reference
to the revoked will is sufficient.
Effects of Republication by virtue of a Codicil:
1 Codicil revives the previous will
2 The old will is republished as of the date of the codicil makes it speak, as it were, from the new and later
3 A will republished by a codicil is governed by a statute enacted to the execution of the will, but which was
operative when the codicil was executed.


1. Takes place by an act of the


1. Takes place by operation of law.

2. Corrects extrinsic and intrinsic


2. Restores a revoked will


The restoration to validity of a will previously revoked by operation of law (implied revocation).

The express revocation of the first will renders it void because the revocatory clause of the second will, not
being testamentary in character, operates to revoke the previous will instantly upon the execution of the will
containing it.
NOTE: In implied revocation, the first will is not instantly revoked by the second will because the inconsistent
testamentary dispositions of the latter do not take effect immediately but only after the death of the testator.


A special proceeding mandatorily required for the purpose of establishing the validity of a will.

The statute of limitations is not applicable to probate of wills.

Questions determinable by the probate court: (ICE)
1 identity of the will;
2 testamentary capacity of the testator at the time of the execution of the will; and
3 due execution of the will.
GENERAL RULE: In probate proceeding, the courts area of inquiry is limited to an examination of, and
resolution on the extrinsic validity if the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrixs testamentary capacity and
the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by law. The probate court cannot inquire into the
intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions.
EXCEPTION: Practical considerations, e.g. when the will is intrinsically void on its face.

In Nuguid vs Nuguid (17 SCRA 449), the Supreme Court held that, if the case were to be remanded for probate
of the will, nothing will be gained. On the contrary, this litigation would be protracted. And for aught that
appears in the record, in the event of probate or if the court rejects the will, probability exists that the case
will come up once again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. RESULT:
waste of time, effort, expense, plus added anxiety.

In Nepomuceno vs CA (139 SCRA 207), the Court ruled that the court can inquire as to the intrinsic validity of
the will because there was an express statement that the beneficiary was a mistress.

Criminal action will not lie against the forger of a will which had been duly admitted to probate by a court of
competent jurisdiction. (Mercado vs. Santos 66 Phil. 215)

The fact that the will has been allowed without opposition and the order allowing the same has become final
and executory is not a bar to the presentation of a codicil, provided it complies with all the formalities for
executing a will. It is not necessary that the will and codicil be probated together as the codicil may be
concealed by an interested party. They may be probated one after the other. ( Macam vs. Gatmaitan 60 Phil

When a will is declared void because it has not been executed in accordance with the formalities required by
law, but one of the intestate heirs, after the settlement of the debts of the deceased, pays a legacy in
compliance with a clause in the defective will, the payment is effective and irrevocable ( Article 1430, NCC;
Natural Obligations).

Grounds for Disallowance of a Will (ART 839)

1 Formalities required by law have not been complied with;
2 Testator was insane, or otherwise incapable of making a will, at the time of its execution;
3 Will was executed through force or under duress, or the influence of fear, or threats;
4 Will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the part of the beneficiary or of some
other person;
5 Signature of the testator was procured by fraud;
6 Testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of
affixing his signature thereto.

Fair arguments, persuasion, appeal to emotions, and entreaties which, without fraud or deceit or actual
coercion, compulsion or restraint do not constitute undue influence sufficient to invalidate a will. (Barreto vs.
Reyes 98 Phil 996)
Burden is on the person challenging the will to show that such influence was exerted at the time of its
To make a case of UNDUE INFLUENCE, the free agency of the testator must be shown to have been destroyed;
but to establish a ground of contest based on FRAUD, free agency of the testator need not be shown to have
been destroyed.
Allegations of fraud and undue influence are mutually repugnant and exclude each other; their joining as
grounds for opposing probate shows absence of definite evidence against the validity of the will (Icasiano vs.
Icasiano 11 SCRA 422)


1. voluntary act of the testator.

1. given by judicial decree.

2. with or without cause.

2. must always be for a legal cause.

3. may be partial or total.

3. always total except: when the ground of

fraud or influence for example affects only
certain portions of the will.

(ARTS. 840-856)

An act by virtue of which a testator designates in his will the person or persons who are to succeed him in his
property and transmissible rights and obligations. (Art 840)

The proper test in order to determine the validity of an institution of heir is the possibility of finally
ascertaining the identity of the instituted heir by intrinsic or extrinsic evidence.
1 Presumption of Equality Heirs instituted without designation of shares shall inherit in equal parts. This is
limited only to the case where all of the heirs are of the same class or juridical condition, and where there
are compulsory heirs among the heirs instituted, it should be applied only to the disposable free portion.
2 Presumption of Individuality When the testator institutes some heirs individually and others collectively,
those collectively designated shall be considered as individually instituted, unless it clearly appears that the
intention of the testator was otherwise.
3 Presumption of Simultaneity when the testator calls to the succession a person and his children, they are
all deemed to have been instituted simultaneously and not successively.
GENERAL RULE: The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written.

Reason: Generosity of the testator is the real cause of the testamentary disposition.
EXCEPTION: If it appears from the face of the will that the testator would not have made the institution had he
known the falsity of the cause.

Example: Where the person instituted is a total stranger to the testator, it is obvious that the real cause of
the testamentary disposition is not the generosity of the testator but the fact itself which turned out to be


cause of institution of heirs must be stated in will;

cause must be shown to be false;
it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have made the institution had he known
the falsity of the cause.

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. Intestate succession ensues. (Nuguid vs. Nuguid, et al. 17 SCRA 449)


Omission in the testators will 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.
1 The heir omitted must be a compulsory heir in the direct line;
2 The omission must be complete and total in character; and
3 The compulsory heir omitted must survive the testator.


There is no total omission when:

A devise/legacy has been given to the heir by the testator
A donation inter vivos has been previously given to the heir by the testator; or
Anything is left from the inheritance which the heir may get by way of intestacy.

NOTE: In the above cases, the remedy of the heir is completion of legitime under Art. 906, in case the value
of the property received is less than the value of the legitime.
Effects of Preterition:
1 It annuls the institution of heir;
2 The devises and legacies are valid insofar as they are not inofficious; and
3 If the omitted compulsory heir should die before the testator, the institution shall be effectual, without
prejudice to the right of representation.
NOTE: In case of omission without preterition, the rule in Art. 855 should be followed. The suggested alternate
phrasing of Dr. Tolentino to the said article is: The share of the compulsory heir omitted in a will must be first
taken from the part of the estate not disposed of by the will, if any; if that is not sufficient, so much as may be
necessary must be taken proportionally from the shares of the heirs given to them by will.


1. deprivation of a compulsory heir of his

legitime is tacit

1. deprivation of a compulsory heir of his

legitime is express.

2. may be voluntary but the law presumes

that it is involuntary

2. always voluntary.

3. law presumes that there has been merely

an oversight or mistake on the part of the

3. done with a legal cause.

4. omitted heir gets not only his legitime but

also his share in the free portion not disposed
of by way of legacies/ devises.

4.if disinheritance is not lawful, compulsory

heir is merely restored to his legitime.

Where the deceased left no descendants, legitimate or illegitimate, but she left forced heirs in the direct
ascending lineher parents, and her holographic will does not explicitly disinherit them but simply omits them
altogether, the case is one of preterition of parents, not a case of ineffective disinheritance. (Nuguid vs.
Nuguid 17 SCRA 449)

NOTE: Preterition of the surviving spouse (SS) does not entirely annul the institution of the heir since SS is not a
compulsory heir in the direct line. However, since Article 842 protects the legitime of the SS, the institution is
partially annulled by reducing the rights of the instituted heir to the extent necessary to cover the legitime of SS.
--an heir who dies before the testator shall transmit no right to his own heirs (rule is absolute with respect to a
voluntary heir)
--what is transmitted to the representatives of compulsory heir is his right to the legitime and not to the free
--A voluntary heir who is incapacitated to succeed from testator shall transmit no right to his own heirs.
--compulsory heir may be represented, but only with respect to his legitime
--whether voluntary or compulsory, the heir who repudiates his inheritance cannot transmit any right to his own
(ARTS 857-870)

The act by which the testator designates the person or persons to take the place of the heir or heirs first
instituted (Tolentino). It may be considered as a subsidiary and conditional institution.
1 Simple or Common (that which takes place when the testator designates one or more persons to substitute
the heirs/s instituted in case such heir/s should die before him, or should not wish, or should be incapacitated
to accept the inheritance)
2 Brief or Compendious: brief (there are two or more persons designated by the testator to substitute for only
one heir), compendious (one heir is designated to take the place of two or more heirs)

Instances when substitution takes place:


instituted heir predeceases the testator;

incapacity of the instituted heir to succeed from the testator; and
repudiation of the inheritance.

Effect of substitution:
General rule: once the substitution has taken place, the substitute shall not only take over the share that
would have passed to the instituted heir, but he shall be subject to the same charges and conditions imposed
upon such instituted heir.

(1) When the testator has expressly to the contrary;
(2) When the charges or conditions are personally applicable only to the heir instituted.
3 Fideicommissary
a First heir (fiduciary) called to the succession.
b An obligation clearly imposed upon such first heir to preserve the property and to transmit it to the second
Second heir (fideicommissary) to whom the property is transmitted by the first heir.

Without the obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir the preservation of the property and its
transmission to the second heir, there is no fideicommissary substitution (Rabadilla vs. CA 334 SCRA 522)
NOTE: Pending transmission of property, the fiduciary is entitled to all the rights of a usufructuary, although the
fideicommissary is entitled to all the rights of a naked owner.
a Substitution must not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted.
b Degree means degree of relationship.
Fiduciary and fideicommissary must be living at the time of the death of the testator.
d Substitution must not burden the legitime of compulsory heirs.
e Substitution must be made expressly.

A fideicommissary substitution is void if the first heir is not related in the 1 st degree to the second heir
(Ramirez vs. Vda. De Ramirez 111 SCRA 704)
GENERAL RULE: The institution of an heir may be made 1) conditionally, 2) for a term, or 3) for a certain
purpose or cause (modal). Conditions, terms, and modes however, are not presumed; they must be clearly
expressed in the will. The condition must fairly appear from the language of the will. Otherwise, it is not binding.
1 The testator cannot impose any charge, burden, encumbrance, condition, or substitution whatsoever upon the
legitime of compulsory heirs.
2 Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good customs are presumed to have been imposed
erroneously or through oversight, thus, are considered as not imposed.
3 An absolute condition not to contract a first marriage is always void and will be considered as not written.
4 An absolute condition not to contract a subsequent marriage is generally void, unless imposed upon a widow
or widower by the deceased spouse or by the latters ascendants or descendants. Even so, however, the
legitime of the surviving spouse cannot be impaired.

An absolute condition not to contract marriage when validly imposed is resolutory in character. Consequently,
if the testator institutes his wife as heir subject to the condition that she will never marry again, she
immediately acquires a right to the inheritance upon the death of testator, but if she violates the condition by
contracting a 2nd marriage, she loses her right to said inheritance.

NOTE: However, the following relative conditions regarding marriage have been considered as valid and binding:
a generic condition to contract marriage;
b specific condition to contract marriage with a determinate person; and
specific condition not to contract marriage with a determinate person.


Any disposition made upon the condition that the heir shall make some provisions in his will in favor of the
testator or of any other person shall be void (disposicion captatoria).
Conditions imposed by the testator upon the heirs shall be governed by the rules established for conditional
obligations in all matters not provided for by the law on succession.

Kinds of Conditions
1 Potestative Condition depends exclusively upon the will of the heir, devisee, or legatee, and must be
performed by him personally.
2 Causal Condition depends upon the will of the heir, devisee, or legatee, but upon the will of a third person.
3 Mixed depends jointly upon the will of the heir, devisee, or legatee and upon chance and/or will of a third
Fulfillment of Conditions:
1 Potestative Conditions must be fulfilled after the death of the testator (except when it has already been
fulfilled and is of such nature that it cannot be repeated);
2 Causal or mixed conditions may be fulfilled either before or after such death, unless the testator has
provided otherwise.


Attachment by the testator to an institution of heir, or to a devise or legacy, of a statement of the:

a object of the institution;
b application of the property left by testator; or
charge imposed by him.
When in doubt as to whether there is a condition or merely a mode, consider the same as mode.

When in doubt as to whether there is a mode or merely a suggestion, consider same only as a suggestion.
The condition suspends but does not obligate; the mode obligates but does not suspend (for he who
inherits with a mode is already an heir; one who inherits conditionally is not yet an heir)

DOCTRINE of CONSTRUCTIVE FULFILLMENT: When without the fault of the fault of the heir, an institucion sub
modo cannot take effect in the exact manner stated by the testator, it shall be complied with in a manner most
analogous to and in conformity with his wishes.
If the condition is casual, the doctrine is not applicable since the fulfillment of the event which constitutes
the condition is independent of the will of the heir, devisee/legatee. If the condition is potestative or mixed,
the doctrine is applicable.

That part of the testators property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for certain
heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs.

The course of action to enforce a legitime accrues upon the death of the donor-decedent since it is only then
that the net estate may be ascertained and on which basis, the legitime may be determined. (Imperial vs. CA
316 SCRA 313)

NOTE: One half of the estate is always reserved for the primary or secondary compulsory heirs. The other half is
what is termed under the NCC as the free portion from which the legitime of the concurring compulsory heirs
are taken. This free portion is different from the disposable free portion over which the testator has
testamentary control. The disposable free portion is that which remains after the legitime has been covered.

Those for whom the legitime is reserved by law, and who succeed whether the testator likes it or not. They
cannot be deprived by the testator of their legitime except by disinheritance properly effected.
Kinds of Compulsory Heirs:
1 Primary those who have precedence over and exclude other CH. E.g. LCD.
2 Secondary those who succeed only in the absence of the primary CH. E.g. LPA or IP.
3 Concurring those who succeed together with the primary or secondary CH. E.g. ICD and SS.
If the testator is a LEGITIMATE person

If the testator is an ILLEGITIMATE person

1. Legitimate children and descendants (LCD)

1. Legitimate children and descendants (LCD)


In default of the foregoing, legitimate

parents and ascendants (LPA)


Illegitimate children and descendants



Surviving spouse (SS)


In default of the foregoing, illegitimate

parents only (IP)


Surviving spouse (SS)

4. Illegitimate children and descendants (ICD)

See Sections 17 & 18 of R.A. 8552.

By force of the Family Code, adopted children are deemed legitimate children of the adopters.
By force of the Family Code, IC without distinction and so long as their filiation is duly established or proved in
accordance with law, are each entitled to 1/2 of the legitime of a LC, thus abrogating the 5:4 ratio between
natural and non-natural IC.

1 Direct descending line
a Rule of preference between lines
b Rule of proximity
cRight of representation ad infinitum in case of predecease, incapacity, or disinheritance (LC: LD only; IC:
both LD and ID)
d If all the LC repudiate their legitime, the next generation of LD succeed in their own right
2 Direct ascending line
a Rule of division by lines
b Rule of equal division
3 Non-impairment of legitime




Divide by the # of LC,

whether they survive alone
or with concurring CH.

1 LC

2 or more LC

equal to 1 LC


of 1 LC


of 1 LC

All the concurring CH get

from the half free portion,
the share of the SS having
preference over that of the
IC, whose share may suffer
reduction pro rata because
there is no preference
among themselves.


Whether they survive alone

or with concurring CH.


IC succeed in the in equal









Divide equally among the


1/3 if marriage is in articulo

mortis and deceased spouse
dies within 3 mos. after the


Any child

-excluded-It depends

Children inherit in the

amounts established in the
foregoing rules.


Only the parents are of IC

are included. Grandparents
and other ascendants are


1 Determination of the gross value of the estate at the time of the death of the testator;
2 Determination of all debts and charges which are chargeable against the estate;
3 Determination of the net value of the estate by deducting all the debts and charges from the gross value of
the estate;
4 Collation or addition of the value of all donations inter vivos to the net value of the estate;
5 Determination of the amount of the legitime from the total thus found;
6 Imputation of the value of all donations inter vivos made to compulsory heirs against their legitime and of the
value of all donations inter vivos made to strangers against the disposable free portion and restoration to the
hereditary estate if the donation is inofficious; and
7 Distribution of the residue of the estate in accordance with the will of the testator
1 Fictitious mathematical process of adding the value of the thing donated to the net value of the hereditary
estate (Art. 908 and Arts. 1061-1077).
2 Act of charging or imputing such value against the legitime of the compulsory heir to whom the thing was
donated (Arts. 1061-1077).
3 Actual act of restoring to the hereditary estate that part of the donation which is inofficious in order not to
impair the legitime of compulsory heirs.

The reservation by virtue of which an ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the
latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant or a brother or sister, is obliged to
reserve such property for the benefit of relatives who are within the 3 rd degree and who belong to the line
from which such property came.

It constitutes as an exception to both the system of legitime and the order of intestate succession.
1 To reserve certain property in favor of certain persons;
2 To prevent persons outside a family from acquiring, by some chance or accident, property which otherwise
would have remained with the said family;
3 To maintain a separation between paternal and maternal lines.
NOTE: Considering the rationale for reserva troncal which is to ultimately revert ownership of property that
originally belongs to a line of relatives but which by force of law passes to a different line, the reserva would have

no reason to arise where the ascendants who acquire the property themselves belong to the line of relatives from
which the property was, in turn, acquired by the descendant.
1 The property should have been acquired by operation of law by an ascendant (reservista) from his descendant
(propositus) upon the death of the latter.
2 The property should have been previously acquired by gratuitous title by the descendant (propositus) from
another ascendant or from a brother or sister (originator).
3 The descendant (propositus) should have died without any legitimate issue in the direct descending line who
could inherit from him.
Personal elements:
1. Originator the ascendant, or brother or sister from whom the propositus had acquired the property by
gratuitous title (e.g. donation, remission, testate or intestate succession);
2. Propositus the descendant who died and from whose death the reservista in turn had acquired the property by
operation of law (e.g. by way of legitime or intestate succession). The so-called arbiter of the fate of the
reserva troncal.
3 Reservista the ascendant, not belonging to the line from which the property came (Justice Vitug) that is the
only compulsory heir and is obliged to reserve the property.
NOTE: Dr. Tolentino is of the view that even if the reservista and the originator belong to the same line, there is
still an obligation to reserve.
4 Reservatarios the relatives of the propositus within the 3 rd degree and who belong to the line from which
the property came and for whose benefit the reservation is constituted. They must be related by blood not
only to the propositus but also to the originator.
NOTE: All personal elements must be joined by bonds of legitimate relationship.
NOTE: In determining the right of the reservatarios over the reservable property, there are 2 events to consider:
1 Death of propositus: all qualified reservatarios acquire an inchoate right. Reservista owns the property
subject to a resolutory condition.
2 Death of reservista: surviving reservatarios acquire a perfect right.
NOTE: The NCC did not provide for the rules on how the reservatarios would succeed to the reservista. However,
the following rules on intestacy have been consistently applied:
a Rule of preference between lines
b Rule of proximity
Right of representation (provided that the representative is a relative of the descendant- propositus
within 3rd degree, and that he belongs to the line from which the reservable property came)
Full blood/double share rule in Art. 1006

Property subject to reservation: must be the same property which the reservista had acquired by operation of
law from propositus upon the death of the latter and which the latter, in turn had acquired by gratuitous title
during his lifetime from another ascendant, brother/sister.

Obligations of Reservista:
To make an inventory of all reservable property;
To appraise value of all reservable movable property;
To annotate in Registry of property the reservable character of all reservable immovable property;
To secure by mortgage (a) restitution of movables not alienated, (b) payment of damages caused by his
fault or negligence, (c) return of price received for movables alienated and (d) payment of value of
immovable alienated.

A reservatorio may dispose of his expentancy to the reservable property during pendency of the reserve in its
uncertain and conditional form. If he dies before the reservista, he has not transmitted anything, but if he
survives such reservista, the transmission shall become effective.

A will may prevent the constitution of a reserva. In case of testate succession, only the legitime passes by
operation of law. The propositus may, by will, opt to give the legitime of his ascendant without giving to the
latter properties he had acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or brother or sister. In such case,
a reserva troncal is avoided.
However, if the ascendant was not disentitled in the will to receive such properties, the reserva minima
rule (proportional reserva) should be followed. The rule holds that all property passing to the reservista must be
considered as passing partly by operation of law and partly by will of the propositus. Thus, one half of the
properties acquired by gratuitous title should be reservable, and the other half should be free.

Causes for Extinguishment of Reserva Troncal:

1 Death of reservatarios;
2 Death of all relatives of propositus within the 3rd degree who belong to the line from which the property came;
3 Loss of the reservable property for causes not due to the fault or negligence of the reservista.
4 Waiver or renunciation by the reservatarios;
5 Prescription of the right of the reservatarios, when the reservista holds the property adversely against them in
the concept of an absolute owner;
6 Registration by the reservista of the property as free property under the Land Registration Act

A testamentary disposition by which a person is deprived of, or excluded from, the inheritance to which he has
a right.

A disinheritance properly effected totally excludes the disinherited heir from the inheritance. The disinherited
heir is deprived not only of the legitime but also of such part of the free portion that would have passed to
him by a previous will (which is revoked, as inconsistent with, the subsequent disinheritance) or by intestate


Effected only through a valid will;
For a cause expressly stated by law;
Cause must be stated in the will itself;
Cause must be certain and true;
Total; and
7 The heir disinherited must be designated in such a manner that there can be no doubt as to his identity.
Effects of Disinheritance:
1 Deprivation of the compulsory heir who is disinherited of any participation in the inheritance including the
2 The children/descendants of the person disinherited shall take his or her place and shall preserve the rights of
compulsory heirs with respect to the legitime.
3 The disinherited parent shall not have the usufruct or administration of the property which constitutes the

A disinheritance which does not have one or more of the essential requisites for its validity.


If testator had made disposition of the entire estate: annulment of the testamentary dispositions only in so far
as they prejudice the legitime of the person disinherited; does not affect the dispositions of the testator with
respect to the free portion.
If testator did not dispose of the free portion: compulsory heir is given all that he is entitled to receive as if
the disinheritance has not been made, without prejudice to lawful dispositions made by the testator in favor
of others.
Devises, legacies and other testamentary dispositions shall be valid to such extent as will not impair the



1. The person disinherited may be any compulsory


1. The person omitted must be a compulsory heir

in the direct line

2. Always express

2. Always implied

3.Always intentional

3. May be intentional or unintentional

4. Effect: Partial annulment of institution of heirs

4. Effect: Total annulment of institution of heirs

Common Causes for Disinheritance of children or descendants, parents or ascendants, and spouse:
1 When the heir has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his/her descendants or
ascendants, and spouse in case of children and parents;
1. When the heir has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for 6 years or
more, if the accusation has been found groundless;
2. When the heir by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to
change one already made;
3. Refusal without justifiable cause to support the testator who disinherits such heir.
Peculiar Causes for Disinheritance
1 Children/Descendants:
a When the child/descendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the
b Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed by the child/descendant;
When the child/descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life; Conviction of a crime which carries
with it a penalty of civil interdiction.

a When the parents have abandoned their children or induced their daughters to live a corrupt or immoral
life, or attempted against their virtue;
b When the parent/ascendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the
Loss of parental authority for causes specified in the Code; and
d Attempt by one of the parents against the life of the other, unless there has been reconciliation between
a When the spouse has given cause for legal separation; When the spouse has given grounds for the loss of
parental authority.

Revocation of Disinheritance:


Subsequent institution of the disinherited heir; and
Nullity of the will which contains the disinheritance.

NOTE: Once disinheritance has been revoked or rendered ineffectual, it cannot be renewed except for causes
subsequent to the revocation or based on new grounds.

It is the resumption of genuine cordial relationship between the testator and the disinherited heir,
approximating that which prevailed before the testator learned of the cause for disinheritance, reciprocally
manifested by their actions subsequent to the act of disinheritance.

A subsequent reconciliation between the offender and the offended person deprives the latter of the right to
disinherit, and renders ineffectual any disinheritance that may have been made. (Art. 922)
Mere civility which may characterize their relationship, a conduct that is naturally expected of every decent
person, is not enough.
In order to be effective, the testator must pardon the disinherited heir. Such pardon must specifically refer to
the heir and to the acts causing the disinheritance. The heir must accept the pardon.
No particular form is required. It may be made expressly or tacitly.
NOTE: Where the cause for disinheritance is likewise a ground for unworthiness to succeed, what is the effect of a
subsequent reconciliation upon the heirs capacity to succeed?
1 If disinheritance has been made: Rule on reconciliation applies. The disinheritance becomes ineffective.
2 If disinheritance has not been made: Rule on reconciliation does not apply. The heir continues to be
incapacitated to succeed unless pardoned by the testator under Art. 1033. The law effects the disinheritance.
Persons charged with legacies and devises:
1 compulsory heir;
2 voluntary heir;
3 legatee or devisee;
4 estate
If the will is silent with regard to the person who shall pay or deliver the legacy/devise, there is a
presumption that such legacy or devise constitutes a charge against the decedents estate.
Since legacies and devises are to be taken from the disposable free portion of the estate, thus, the provisions
on institution of heirs are generally applicable to them.



1. Belonging to the testator at the time of the

execution of the will until his death


2. Belonging to the testator at the time of the

execution of the will but alienated in favor of a 3 rd


3. Belonging to the testator at the time of the

execution of the will but alienated in favor of the
legatee/devisee gratuitously

No revocation. There is a clear intention

to comply with legacy or devise.

4. Belonging to the testator at the time of the

execution of the will but alienated in favor of the
legatee or devisee onerously

reimbursement from the heir or estate

5. Not belonging to the testator at the time the will

is executed but he has ordered that the thing be
acquired in order that it be given to the
6. Not belonging to the testator at the time the will
is executed and the testator erroneously believed
that the thing pertained to him
7. Not belonging to the testator at the time the will
is executed but afterwards becomes his by
whatever title




8. Already belonged to the legatee/devisee at the

time of the execution of the will even though
another person may have interest therein


9. Already belonged to the legatee or devisee at

the time of the execution of the will even though
it may have been subsequently alienated by him


10.Testator had knowledge that the thing

bequeathed belonged to a third person and the
legatee/devisee acquired the property gratuitously
after the execution of the will

Legatee/devisee can claim nothing by

virtue of the legacy/devise

11.Testator had knowledge that the thing

bequeathed belonged to a third person and the
legatee/devisee acquired the property by onerous

reimbursement from the heir or estate

ART. 911

ART. 950

Order of preference: (LIPO)

Order of preference: (RPSESO)

1Legitime of compulsory heirs

2Donations inter vivos
3Preferential legacies or devices
4All other legacies or devices pro rata

1Remuneratory L/D
2 Preferential L/D
1. L for support
2. L for education
3. L/D of a specific, determinate thing which forms

a part of the estate

All others pro rata


(1) When the reduction is necessary to

preserve the legitime of compulsory heirs
from impairment whether there are

(1) When there are no compulsory heirs and the

entire estate is distributed by the testator as
legacies or devises; or

donations inter vivos or not; or

(2) When, although, the legitime has been
preserved by the testator himself there
are donations inter vivos.

(2) When there are compulsory heirs but their

legitime has already been provided for by the
testator and there are no donations inter vivos.

In case of reduction in the above cases, the inverse order of payment should be followed.

When the question of reduction is exclusively among legatees and devisees themselves, Article 950 governs;
but when there is a conflict between compulsory heirs and devisees and legatees, Article 911 applies.


1 Testator transforms the thing bequeathed in such a manner that it does not retain either the form or the
denomination it had.

Testator by any title or for any cause alienates the thing bequeathed, or any part thereof, it being understood
that in the latter case the legacy or devise shall be without effect only with respect to the part alienated.
Except: when the thing should again belong to the testator after alienation.

Thing bequeathed is totally lost during the lifetime of the testator, or after his death without the heirs fault

Other causes: nullity of the will; noncompliance with suspensive conditions affecting the bequests; sale of the
thing to pay the debts of the deceased during the settlement of his estate.



That which is effected by operation of law in the absence or default of a will.

1 If a person dies without a will, or with a void will, or one which has subsequently lost its validity;
2 Absence of an institution of heir;
3 Partial institution of heir. In such case, intestacy takes place as to the undisposed portion (mixed succession);
4 Non-fulfillment of suspensive condition attached to the institution of heir;
5 Predecease of the instituted heir;
6 Repudiation by the instituted heir;
7 Incapacity of instituted heir;
8 Preterition. Intestacy may be total or partial depending on whether or not there are legacies/devises;
9 Fulfillment of resolutory condition;
10 Expiration of term or period of institution;

11 Non-compliance or impossibility of compliance with the will.

NOTE: In all cases where there has been an institution of heir, follow the I.S.R.A.I. order of Justice Paras. If the
Institution fails, Substitution occurs. If there is no substitute, the right of Representation applies in the direct
descending line to the legitime if the vacancy is caused by predecease, incapacity, or disinheritance. The right of
Accretion applies to the free portion when the requisites in Art. 1016 are present. If there is no substitute, and the
right of Representation or Accretion does not apply, the rules on Intestate succession shall take over.

Rule of Preference between lines

Those in the direct descending line shall exclude those in the direct ascending and collateral lines, and
those in the direct ascending line shall, in turn, exclude those in the collateral line.
Rule of Proximity

The relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it
properly takes place.

This rule is subject to the rule of preference between lines.

Rule of Equal Division

Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal shares.

a Division in the ascending line (between paternal and maternal grandparents);
b Division among brothers and sisters, some of whom are of the full and others of half blood; and
Division In cases where the right of representation takes place.
NOTE: This rule is subject to the rule of preference between lines.
4. Rule of Barrier between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family

The illegitimate family cannot inherit by intestate succession from the legitimate family and vice-versa.
5 Rule of Double Share for full blood collaterals

When full and half-blood brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, survive, the full blood shall take a
portion in the inheritance double that of the half-blood.
NOTE: In case of a disposition made in general terms under Article 959, only the Rule of Proximity applies.
1 Number of generations determines proximity.
2 Each generation forms a degree.
3 A series of degrees forms a line.
4 A line may be direct or collateral. A direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants
and descendants (ascending and descending).
5 A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not ascendants or
descendants, but who come from a common ancestor.
6 Full blood: same father and mother; half blood: only one of either parent is the same.
7 In adoption, the legal filiation is personal and exists only between the adopter and the adopted. The adopted
is deemed a legitimate child of the adopter (AP), but still remains as an intestate heir of his natural parents
and other blood relatives.
(ARTS. 970 977)

A right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and degree of the
person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were living or if he could have
inherited. The representative is called to the succession by the law not by the person represented. He
succeeds the one whom the person represented would have succeeded.

In the direct line, representation takes place ad infinitum in the direct descending line, never in the
In the collateral line, representation takes place only in favor of the children of brothers or sisters (nephews
and nieces), whether of the full or half-blood, and only if they concur with at least 1 uncle or aunt.

Testamentary Succession
a When a compulsory heir in the direct descending line had predeceased the testator and was survived by
his children or descendants.
b When a compulsory heir in the direct descending line is excluded from the inheritance due to incapacity
or unworthiness and he has children or descendants.
When a compulsory heir in the direct descending line is disinherited and he has children or descendants;
representation covers only the legitime.
d A legatee/devisee who died after the death of the testator may be represented by his heirs.

Intestate Succession
a When a legal heir in the direct descending line had predeceased the decedent and was survived by his
children or descendants.
When a legal heir in the direct descending line is excluded from the inheritance due to incapacity or
unworthiness and he has children or descendants.
c When brothers or sisters had predeceased the decedent and they had children or descendants.
When illegitimate children represent their illegitimate parents who already died in the estate of their
e When nephews and nieces inherit together with their uncles and aunts in representation of their deceased
parents who are the brothers or sisters of said uncles and aunts.

Those who are called by law to the succession either in the absence of a will or of qualified heirs, and who are
deemed called based on the presumed will of the decedent.
REGULAR ORDER OF SUCCESSION (Decedent is a legitimate person):
1 Legitimate children or descendants (LCD)
2 Legitimate parents or ascendants (LPA)
3 Illegitimate children or descendants (ICD)
4 Surviving spouse (SS)
5 Brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces (BS/NN)
6 Other collateral relatives within the 5th degree (C5)
7 State

IRREGULAR ORDER OF SUCCESSION (Decedent is an illegitimate person):

Legitimate children or descendants (LCD)
Illegitimate children or descendants (ICD)
Illegitimate parents (IP)
Surviving spouse (SS)
5 Brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces (BS/NN)
6 State


LCD, ICD, and SS
LPA, ICD, and SS
ICD and SS


SS and IP
BS/NN and SS
C5 (alone)
State (alone)
Any class alone

Entire estate

1 LC

(Diongson vs. Cinco, 74 SCRA 118)

2 or more LC

Consider SS as 1 LC, then divide estate by

total number.
(The law is silent. Apply concurrence
First, satisfy legitimes. Estate would be
insufficient. Reduction must be made
according to the rules on legitimes. The
legitimes of LCD and SS shall always be first
satisfied in preference to the ICD.
First, satisfy legitimes. There would be an
excess in the estate. Distribute such excess
in the proportion 1:2:2, in accordance with
the concurrence theory.

1 LC
2 or more LC


3. LPA
4. LPA



Even if there is an order of intestate succession, the Compulsory Heirs (CH) are never excluded. The Civil Code
follows the concurrence theory, not the exclusion theory.
2 Right of Representation (RR) in the collateral line occurs only in intestate succession, never in testamentary
succession because a voluntary heir cannot be represented (collateral relatives are not CH).
3 The intestate shares are either equal to or greater than the legitime.
4 GENERAL RULE: Grandchildren always inherit by RR, provided representation is proper.
EXCEPTION: Whenever all the children repudiate, the grandchildren inherit in their own right because RR
would not be proper.
5. Nephews and nieces inherit either by RR or in their Own Right (OR).
a RR: when they concur with aunts and uncles (provided that RR is proper)
b OR: when they do not concur with aunts and uncles.
6 ICD of legitimates cannot represent because of the barrier, but both the ICD and LCD of illegitimates can.
7 There can be reserva troncal in intestate succession.
8 A renouncer can represent, but cannot be represented.
9 A person who cannot represent a near relative cannot also represent a relative farther in degree.

Succession that is effected partly by will and partly by operation of law.

1 The law of legitimes must be brought into operation in partial intestacy, because the testamentary
dispositions can affect only the disposable free portion but never the legitimes.
2 If among the concurring intestate heirs there are compulsory heirs, whose legal or intestate portions exceed
their respective legitimes, then the amount of the testamentary disposition must be deducted from the
disposable free portion, to be borne by all the intestate heirs in the proportions that they are entitled to
receive from such disposable free portion as intestate heirs.
3 If the intestate share of a compulsory heir is equal to his legitime, then the amount of the testamentary
disposition must be deducted only from the intestate shares of the others, in the proportions stated above.
4 If the testamentary dispositions consume the entire disposable free portion, then the intestate heirs who are
compulsory heirs will get only their legitime, and those who are not compulsory heirs will get nothing.
(ARTS 1015 1023)

A right by virtue of which, when two or more persons are called to the same inheritance, devise or legacy, the
part assigned to one who renounce or cannot receive his share, or who died before testator, is added or
incorporated to that of his co-heirs, co-devisees, or co-legatees.

A right based on the presumed will of the deceased that he prefers to give certain properties to certain
individuals, rather than to his legal heirs.
1 2 or more persons must have been called to the same inheritance, legacy or devise, or to the same portion
thereof, pro indiviso; and
2 there must be a vacancy in the inheritance, legacy or devise (caused by predecease, incapacity, repudiation,
nonfulfillment of suspensive condition or void or ineffective testamentary dispositions.)


1. RR
2. IS
2 IS
1 RR
2 IS

Free Portion
1. A
2. IS

1. RR
2. IS



In testamentary succession:
(1) Legitime:
In case of predecease of an heir, there is representation if there are children or descendants; if
none, the others inherit in their own right.
In case of incapacity, results are the same as in predecease.
In case of disinheritance, results are the same as in predecease.
In case of repudiation by an heir, the others inherit in their own right.
(2) Disposable free portion:
Accretion takes place when requisites are present; but if such requisites are not present, the others
inherit in their own right.
(B) In intestate succession:
1 In case of predecease, there is representation if there are children or descendants; if none, the others inherit
in their own right.
2 In case of incapacity, results are the same as in predecease.
3 In case of repudiation, there is always accretion.
1 The heir, legatee/devisee must be living or in existence at the moment the succession opens; and
2 He must not be incapacitated or disqualified by law to succeed.
A. Based on Undue Influence or Interest: (PIGRAP)
1 Priest who heard the confession of the testator during his last illness, or the minister of the gospel who
extended spiritual aid to him during the same period;
2 Individuals, associations and corporations not permitted by law to inherit;
3 Guardian with respect to testamentary dispositions given by a ward in his favor before the final accounts of
the guardianship have been approved, even if the testator should die after the approval thereof; nevertheless,
any provision made by the ward in favor of the guardian when the latter is his ascendant, descendant, brother,
sister, or spouse, shall be valid;
4 Relatives of such priest or minister of the gospel within the 4 th degree, the church, order, chapter, community,
organization or institution to which such priest or minister may belong;
5 Attesting witness to the execution of a will, the spouse, parents or children, or any one claiming under such
witness, spouse, parents or children; and
6 Physician, surgeon, nurse, health officer or druggist who took care of the testator during his last illness.
B. Based on Morality or Public Policy
(ART 739)

1. Those made in favor of a person with whom the testator was guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of
the making of the will.
2. Those made in consideration of a crime of which both the testator and the beneficiary have been found guilty.
3. Those made in favor of a public officer or his spouse, descendants and ascendants, by reason of his public office
C. Based on Acts of Unworthiness (A4F3P)
1 Parents who have abandoned their children or induced their daughters to lead a corrupt or immoral life, or
attempted against their virtue;
2 Any person who has been convicted of an attempt against the life of the testator, his/her spouse, descendants
or ascendants;
3 Any person who has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for 6 years or
more, if the accusation has been found groundless;
4 Any person convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;
5 Any heir of full age who, having knowledge of the violent death of the testator, should fail to report it to an
officer of the law within a month, unless the authorities have already taken action; this prohibition shall not
apply to cases wherein, according to law, there is no obligation to make an accusation;
6 Any person who by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence should cause the testator to make a will
or to change one already made;
7 Any person who falsifies or forges a supposed will of the decedent; and
8 Any person who by the same means prevents another from making a will, or from revoking one already made,
or who supplants, conceals, or alters the latter's will.
NOTE: The moment the testator uses one of the acts of unworthiness as a cause for disinheritance, he thereby
submits it to the rules on disinheritance. Thus, reconciliation renders the disinheritance ineffective.
1. made by the execution of a document or any
writing in which the decedent condones the cause of
2. cannot be revoked

effected when testator makes a will
instituting the unworthy heir with knowledge of
the cause of incapacity
2. revoked when the testator revokes the will
or the institution


Characteristics: (VIR)
1 Voluntary and free
2 Irrevocable, except if there is vitiation of consent or an unknown will appears
3 Retroactive
1 certainty of the death of the decedent
2 certainty of the right to the inheritance
Acceptance vs. Repudiation:
1 Acceptance involves the confirmation of transmission of successional rights, while repudiation renders such
transmission ineffective.
2 Repudiation is equivalent to an act of disposition and alienation.
3 The publicity required for repudiation is necessary for the protection of other heirs and also of creditors.

Form of Acceptance
1. Express Acceptance one made in a public or private document.
2. Tacit Acceptance one resulting from acts by which the intention to accept is necessarily implied or which one
would have no right to do except in the capacity of an heir
Tacit acceptance is presumed from certain acts of the heir as:
1 When heir sells, donates, or assigns his right.
2 When heir renounces it for the benefit of one or more heirs.
3 When renunciation is in favor of all heirs indiscriminately for consideration
4 Other acts of tacit acceptance
a heir demands partition of the inheritance
b heir alienates some objects of the inheritance
Under Art 1057, failure to signify acceptance or repudiation within 30 days after an order of distribution
by the probate court.

REPUDIATION must be made in a public instrument (acknowledged before a notary public) or authentic
document (equivalent of an indubitable writing or a writing whose authenticity is admitted or proved) or by
petition presented to the court having jurisdiction over the testamentary or intestate proceeding.

Reason for formality: Law considers that the act of repudiation is more solemn than the act of acceptance
and that repudiation produces a more violent and disturbing consequences.

Heir in two capacities: An heir who is such by will and by law, and he repudiates the inheritance as a
testamentary heir, will be considered to have repudiated the inheritance as a legal heir. But when an heir
repudiates as a legal heir, he may later on accept as a testamentary heir.

D. COLLATION (ARTS. 1061-1077)

Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs must bring into the mass of the estate any
property or right which he may 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 partition. (Art. 1061)

An act of returning or restoring to the common mass of the estate, either actually or fictitiously, any property
which a person may have received from the decedent during the latters lifetime, but which is understood for
legal purposes as an advance from inheritance.
1 Collation adding to the mass of the hereditary estate the value of the donation or gratuitous disposition
2 Imputing or Charging crediting the donation as an advance on the legitime (if the donee is a compulsory
heir) or on the free portion (if the donee is a stranger)
3 Reduction determining to what extent the donation will remain and to what extent it is excessive or
4 Restitution return or payment of the excess to the mass of hereditary estate.
Persons obliged to collate
1 GENERAL RULE: compulsory heirs
a When the testator should have so expressly provided; and
b When the compulsory heir should have repudiated his inheritance
2 Grandchildren who survive with their uncles, aunts, or 1st cousins, and inherit by right of representation.

NOTE: Grandchildren may inherit from grandparent in their own right (i.e. heirs next in degree) and not by right of
representation if their parent repudiates the inheritance of the grandparent, as no living person can be
represented except in cases of disinheritance and incapacity. In such case grandchildren are not obliged to bring
to collation what their parent has received gratuitously from their grandparent)
What to collate:
1 Any property or right received by gratuitous title during the testators lifetime
2 All that they may have received from the decedent during his lifetime
3 All that their parents would have brought to collation if alive
Properties not subject to collation (2nd concept):
1 Absolutely no collation (all concepts):
a Expenses for support, education (elementary and secondary only), medical attendance, even in
extraordinary illness, apprenticeship, ordinary equipment, or customary gifts (Art. 1067).
2 Generally not imputable to legitime:
a Expenses incurred by parents in giving their children professional, vocational or other career unless the
parents so provide, or unless they impair the legitime.
b Wedding gifts by parents and ascendants consisting of jewelry, clothing, and outfit except when they
exceed 1/10 of the sum disposable by will.

It is the separation, division and assignment of a thing held in common among those to whom it may belong. It
includes every act which is intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs, and legatees or devisees,
although it should purport to be a sale, exchange, compromise, or any other transaction. It is not subject to
any form.
Who may effect partition:
1 decedent himself during his lifetime by an act inter vivos or by will;
1. heirs themselves;
2. competent court;
3. 3rd person designated by the decedent.
Who can demand partition:
1 compulsory heir;
2 voluntary heir;
3 legatee or devisee;
4 any person who has acquired interest in the estate.
When partition cannot be demanded: (PAPU)
1 when expressly prohibited by the testator himself for a period not exceeding 20 years;
1. when the co-heirs agreed that the estate shall not be divided for a period not exceeding 10 years, renewable
for another 10 years;
2. when prohibited by law;
3. when to partition the estate would render it unserviceable for the use for which it is intended.
Prohibition to Partition
1 The prohibition to partition for a period not exceeding 20 years can be imposed on the legitime.
2 If the prohibition to partition is for more than 20 years, the excess is void.
3 Even if a prohibition is imposed, the heirs by mutual agreement can still make the partition.

It is one that merely allocates specific items or pieces of property on the basis of the pro-indiviso shares fixed
by law or given under the will to heirs or successors.

NOTE: Partition is not itself a mode of acquiring ownership, nor a title therefore. This partition, being predicated
on succession, necessitates relationship to the decedent (in case of intestacy) or a will duly probated (in case of
testacy). A partition inter vivos made in favor of intestate heirs could be operative. Dispositions, however, to nonintestate heirs may suffer an impediment unless based on a valid will, except perhaps when such dispositions are
intended to take effect during the life of the testator and the formalities of donations are properly complied with.
1 Between a true heir and several mistaken heirs partition is VOID.
2 Between several true heirs and a mistaken heir transmission to mistaken heir is VOID.
3 Through error or mistake, share of true heir is allotted to mistaken heir partition shall not be rescinded
unless there is bad faith or fraud on the part of the other persons interested, but the latter shall be
proportionately obliged to pay the true heir of his share
NOTE: partition with respect to the mistaken heir is VOID.
1 If the will was in fact a partition; and
2 If the beneficiaries in the void will were legal heirs.