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IN RE: PROBATE OF WILL OF JOSE RIOSA

GR L-14074
MALCOLM; November 7, 1918
NATURE
Appeal from decision of CFI Albay which disallowed the will of RIosa
FACTS
- Jose Riosa made a will in January 1908, disposing of his entire estate. The will was executed according to the law in force at that time, complying with all the
requisites then required. He died April 17, 1917. However, between the execution of the will and his death, the law on formalities on execution of wills was
amended by Act No. 2645 (July 1, 1916; it added formalities required such as signatures on each page of the will). The new law, therefore, went into effect after
the making of the will and before the death of the testator, without the testator having left a will that conforms to the new requirements.
ISSUE
WON the will is valid
HELD
1. YES
The validity of the execution of a will must be tested by the statutes in force at the time of its execution and statutes subsequently enacted have no retrospective
effect.
All statutes are to be construed as having only a prospective operation unless the purpose and intention of the Legislature to give them a retrospective effect is
expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language used. In every case of doubt, the doubt must be resolved against the restrospective effect.
-The language of Act No. 2645 gives no indication of retrospective effect. Such, likewise, has been the uniform tendency of the SC on cases having special
application to testamentary succession.
- Our statute announces a positive rule for the transference of property which must be complied with as a completed act at the time of the execution, so far as the
act of the testator is concerned, as to all testaments made subsequent to the enactment of Act No. 2645, but is not effective as to testaments made antecedent to
that date.
- the court considered 3 views in addressing the issue:
(1) validity of wills are tested by the laws in force at the time of death of the testator (considered the right of one to make a will as an inchoate right). This view
was rejected by the court. The act of bequeathing or devising is something more than inchoate or ambulatory. In reality, it becomes a completed act when the
will is executed and attested according to the law, although it does not take effect on the property until a future time.
(2) validity of wills must be tested by statutes in force at time of execution. This view is the one adopted by SC
(3) statutes relating to the execution of wills, when they increase the necessary formalities, should be construed so as not to impair the validity of a will already
made and, when they lessen the formalities required, should be construed so as to aid wills defectively executed according to the law in force at the time of their
making. The court did not directly