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Guevara v.

Guevara Digest
1. Victorino Guevara executed a will in 1931 wherein he made various bequests t his
wife, stepchildren, wife in the 2nd marriage. He has a legitimate son Ernesto and a
natural daughter Rosario. Therein, he acknowledged Rosario as his natural daughter.
2. In 1933, Victorino died but his last will was never presented for probate nor was
there any settlement proceeding initiated. It appeared that only his son Ernest
possessed the land which he adjudicated to himself. While Rosario who had the will
in her custody, did nothing to invoke the acknowledgment, as well as the devise
given to her.
3. Subsequently, Rosario filed an action for the recovery of her legitime from
Ernesto, a portion of a large parcel of land invoking the acknowledgment contained
in the will and based on the assumption that the decedent died intestate because his
will was not probated. She alleged that the disposition in favor of Ernesto should be
4. The lower court and the Court of Appeals sustained Rosario's theory.
Issue: Whether or not the probate of a will can be dispensed with
RULING: No. Rosario's contention violates procedural law and considered an
attempt to circumvent the last will and testament of the decedent. The presentation of
a will to the court for probate is mandatory and its allowance is essential and
indispensable to its efficacy.
Suppression of the wil is contrary to law and public policy for without probate, the
right of a person to dispose of his property by will may be rendered nugatory.
Austria vs. ReyesG.R. No. L-23079, February 27, 1970
Facts:Basilia Austria Vda. De Cruz filed a petition for probate, ante mortem, of her
last will andtestament. The probate was opposed by the present petitioners who were
nephews and nieces of Basilia. The opposition was dismissed and the probate of the
will was allowed.Under the will of Basilia, the bulk of her estate would pass on to
the respondents Perfecto Cruz,Benita Cruz-Meez, Isagani Cruz, Alberto Cruz and
Lyn Cruz-Salonga, all of whom had been assumed anddeclared by Basilia as her own
legally adopted children.More than two years after her will was allowed, Basilia
died. The respondent Perfecto Cruz wassubsequently appointed as executor of her
estate. However, the petitioners filed in the sameproceedings a petition in

intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest kin of Basilia
and that the respondents had not in fact been adopted by the decedent in accordance
with law.Such petition in intervention was allowed.More than three years after they
were allowed to intervene, the petitioners moved the lowercourt to set for hearing the
matter of the genuineness of the adoption of the respondents. Before thedate of
the hearing arrived, one of the respondents Benita Cruz Meez filed a motion asking
the lowercourt to confine the petitioners intervention to properties not disposed of in
the will of the decedent.The court granted the said motion.The motion for
reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied by the lower court. Hence, thisinstant
petition for certiorari to have the order restricting petitioners intervention
to properties thatwere not included in the decedents testamentary dispositions
annulled was filed.
Issue: Whether or not the institution of the heirs would retain efficacy in the event
there exists proof that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent was false
Ruling: YES. Article 850 of the Civil Code provides The statement of a false
cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written, unless it
appears from the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had
known the falsity of such cause. Under this provision, before the institution of heirs
may be annulled, the following requisites must concur: First, the cause for the
institution of heirs must be stated in the will; second, the cause must be shown to be
false; and third, it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not
have made such institution if he had known the falsity of the cause.
From the use in the will of the terms sapilitang tagapagmana (compulsory heirs)
andsapilitang mana (legitime), the petitioners contended that the institution of the
respondents as heirs was only impelled by her belief that they were her compulsory
heirs. However, the Court made mentionof the fact that if such reason indeed
prompted the testatrix in instituting the respondents, Basilia didnot make it known in
her will. The Court found petitioners theory to be highly speculative of what wasin
the mind of the testatrix when she executed the will. The Court could not annul the
institution of heirson the basis of guesswork or uncertain implications.The
phrases,"mga sapilitang tagapagmana" and "sapilitang mana" were borrowed from
thelanguage of the law on succession and were used, respectively, to describe the
class of heirs institutedand the abstract object of the inheritance. They offered no
absolute indication that the decedent wouldhave willed her estate other than the way
she did if she had known that she was not bound by law tomake allowance for
legitimes. Her disposition of the free portion of her estate which largely favored the
respondents showed a perceptible inclination on her part to give to the respondents
more than what

Aznar v. Duncan
The concept of total omission from the hereditary estate is further explained in this
case. While the traditional concept of omission, based on Roman Law, means that
the compulsory heir was not instituted as an heir, the same was abandoned so that if
a compulsory heir were given a legacy by the testator in the will (without instituting
him or her as an heir), the said compulsory heir can no longer claim the benefit of
Article 854.One point deserves some consideration. Admittedly, the testator was a
citizen of the Stateof California. Under the present Civil Code, "testate and intestate
succession, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions shall be
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession isunder consideration."
(Article 16, Civil Code) In the foregoing case, the estate of the testator
wasdistributed in accordance with Philippine law, taking into account the fact that
Article 854 was madeto apply. This point needs clarification.
FACTS: Edward Christensen was a citizen of California and was domiciled in the
Philippines.When he died he left a will which alleged that he had only one child
(Lucy Duncan), and that hewas giving a devise of P3,600 to Helen Christensen
(whom he alleged was not related to him).1.
In the probate proceedings, the court ruled that Helen was a natural child of the
deceasedand that the properties of the decedent are to be divided equally between
Helen and Lucy pursuant to the project of partition submitted by the administrator.2.
Lucy argued that this is not a case of preterition, but is governed by Art 906 NCC
which states that: Any compulsory heir to whom the testator has left by any title
less than the legitime belonging to him may demand that the same may be fully
satisfied. Moreover, considering the provisions of the will whereby the testator
expressly denied hisrelationship with Helen, but left her to a legacy although less
than the amount of herlegitime, she was in effect defectively disinherited within the
meaning of Art 918 NCC.Thus, under Arts 906 and 918, Helen is only entitled to her
legitime, and not to a shareequal to that of Lucy
ISSUE: Whether the estate should be divided equally among the two children (Art
854) OR whether Lucys share should just be reduced to meet the legitime of
Helen (Art 906)

HELD: Helen should only be given her legitime since there was no
preterition. Manresa defines preterition as the omission of the heir of the will,
either by not naming him at all, or while mentioning him as father, son, etc., by not
instituting him as heir without disinheriting himexpressly, not assigning to him some
part of the properties.The decision in Neri v. Akutin is not applicable, because it
referred to a will where "the testator leftall his property by universal title to the
children by his second marriage, and (that) without expresslydisinheriting the
children by his first marriage, he left nothing to them, or at least, some of them."
Inthe case at bar the testator did not entirely omit oppositor-appellee Helen Garcia,
but left her alegacy of P3,600.00.
Nuguid v. Nuguid
NUGUID V. NUGUID, 17 SCRA 449 (1966)
As a general rule, the area of inquiry of a probate court is limited to the testamentary
capacityof the testator and the due execution of the will. However, if it should appear
on the face of the will that thesole disposition is intrinsically invalidity, and
that nothing is gained from an inquiry into extrinsic validity,then a probe into the
testamentary disposition, and the consequential invalidation thereof is justified
forpractical considerations. While Article 854 annuls merely the institution of heir,
the court is justified indeclaring the entire will void if the only testamentary
disposition in the questioned will is the institution ofthe universal heir. In such a
case, the effect of the nullification of the testamentary disposition would be thesame
as the nullification of the will itself.
FACTS: Rosario Nuguid died on December 30, 1962, single, without descendants,
legitime orillegitimate. Surviving her were her legitimate parents, Felix Nuguid and
Paz SalongaNuguid, andsix (6) brothers and sisters, namely: Alfredo,
Federico, Remedios, Conrado, Lourdes and Alberto, allsurnamed Nuguid.
1. On May 18, 1963, petitioner RemediosNuguid filed in the Courtof First Instance
of Rizal a holographic will allegedlyexecuted by Rosario Nuguidsome 11 years
before her demise.Petitioner prayed that said will be admitted to probate andthat
letters of administration with the will annexed beissued to her.2.
On June 25, 1963, Felix Nuguid and Paz SalongaNuguid,concededly the legitimate
father and mother of the deceasedRosario Nuguid, entered their opposition to the
probate ofher will. Ground therefor, inter alia , is that by theinstitution of petitioner
RemediosNuguid as universal heir ofthe deceased, oppositors - who are compulsory

heirs of thedeceased in the direct ascending line - were illegallypreterited and that in
consequence the institution is void.
3.On August, 29, 1963, before a hearing was had on the petitionfor probate and
objection thereto, oppositors moved todismiss on the ground of absolute preterition.
4. On September 6, 1963, petitioner registered her opposition tothe motion to
The court's order of November 8, 1963, held that "the will inquestion is a complete
nullity and will perforce createintestacy of the estate of the deceased Rosario
Nuguid" anddismissed the petition without cost.
ISSUE: WON the will is a complete nullity.
HELD: Yes.Reproduced hereunder is the will:
Nov. 17, 1951I, ROSARIO NUGUID, being of sound and disposing mind and
memory,having amassed a certain amount of property, do hereby give, devise and
bequeathall of the property which I may have when I die to my beloved
sisterRemediosNuguid, age 34, residing with me at 38-B Iriga, Q.C. In witness
whereof, Ihave signed my name this seventeenth day of November, nineteen hundred
and fifty-one.Sgd. (Illegible)T/ ROSARIO NUGUID
The statute we are called upon to apply is Article 854 of the Civil Code which, in
part, provides:
ART. 854. The preterition or omission of one, some or all of the compulsory heirsin
the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or bornafter the
death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heirs, but the devisesand
legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious. x xxANNUL. To reduce to
nothing; annihilate; obliterate; to make void or of no effect;to nullify; to abolish; to
do away with. (Citations omitted.)And now, back to the facts and the law. The
deceased Rosario Nuguid left no descendants,legitimate or illegitimate. But she left
forced heirs in the direct ascending line - her parents, nowoppositors Felix Nuguid
and Paz SalongaNuguid. And, the will completely omits both of them. Theythus
received nothing by the testament; tacitly, they were deprived of their legitime;
neither werethey expressly disinherited. This is a clear case of preterition. Such
preterition in the words ofManresa
"anularasiempre la institucion de heredero, dandocaracterabsoluto a

referring to the mandate of Article 814, now 854 of the Civil Code. The onesentence will hereinstitutes petitioner as the sole, universal heir - nothing more.
No specific legacies or bequests aretherein provided for. It is in this posture that
the court says that the nullity is complete. Perforce,Rosario Nuguid died intestate.
Says Manresa:The statement in Article 854 that, annulment notwithstanding, 'the
devices and legacies shall bevalid insofar as they are not inofficious." Legacies and
devices merit consideration only when theyare so expressly given as such in a
will.As aforesaid, there is no other provision in the will before us except the
institution of petitioner asuniversal heir. That institution, by itself, is null and
void. And, intestate succession ensues.The will here does not explicitly disinherit the
testatrix's parents, the forced heirs. It simply omitstheir names altogether. Said will
rather than be labeled ineffective disinheritance is clearly one inwhich the said forced
heirs suffer from preterition
The disputed order declares the will in question "a complete nullity." Article 854
of the Civil Codein turn merely nullifies "the institution of heir." Considering,
however, that the will provides for theinstitution of petitioner as universal heir, and
nothing more, the result is the same. The entire will is null.
The disputed order declares the will in question "a complete nullity." Article 854
of the Civil Codein turn merely nullifies "the institution of heir." Considering,
however, that the will provides for theinstitution of petitioner as universal heir, and
nothing more, the result is the same. The entire willis null.
: Preterition is the omission of one, some or all compulsory heirs in the direct
line,whether living at the time of the death of the testator, or born subsequent
thereto. Amongother things, Reyes holds that omission from the inheritance, as an
element of preterition, mustbe a total omission, such that if a compulsory heir in the
direct line received something fromthe testator under the terms of the will, such heir
cannot be considered preterited
FACTS : Bibiano Barretto was married to Maria Gerardo. During their lifetime they
acquired avast estate, consisting of real properties in Manila, Pampanga, and
When BibianoBarretto died on February 18, 1936, in the Cityof Manila, he left his
share of these properties in a willto SaludBarretto (Salud), mother of plaintiff's
wards, andLucia Milagros Barretto (Milagros) and a small portion aslegacies to his
two sisters Rosa Barretto andFelisaBarretto and his nephew and nieces. The usufruct
ofthe fishpond situated in barrio San Roque, Hagonoy,Bulacan, above-mentioned,

however, was reserved for

hiswidow, Maria Gerard. In the meantime, Maria Gerardo wasappointed
administratrix. By virtue thereof, she prepared aproject of partition, which was
signed by her in her ownbehalf and as guardian of the minor Milagros Barretto.
Saidproject of partition was approved by the Court of FirstInstance of Manila. The
distribution of the estate and
thedelivery of the shares of the heirs followed. As aconsequence, SaludBarretto took
immediate possession of hershare and secured the cancellation of the
originalcertificates of title and the issuance of new titles in herown nameMaria
Gerardo died and upon her death, it was
discoveredthat she executed two will. In the first will, sheinstituted Salud and Milagr
os as her heirs. In the secondwill, she revoked the same and left all her properties
infavour of Milagros alone. The later will was allowed andthe first rejected.
3.In rejecting the first will presented by Tirso Reyes,husband of the deceasedSalud,
as guardian of the children,it was determined by the lower court that Salud was not a
child of Maria Gerardo and her husband, Bibiano. Thisruling was appealed to the
Supreme Court, which affirmedthe same.
4.Having thus lost this fight for a share in the estate
ofMaria Gerardo as a legitimate heir of Maria Gerardo,plaintiff now falls back upon
the remnant of the estate ofthe deceased BibianoBarretto, which was given in
usufructto his widow Maria Gerardo (fishpond property). Hence,this action for the
recovery of one-half portion, thereof.
Milagros then moved to declare the project of partitionsubmitted in the proceedings
for the settlement of theestate of Bibiano to be null and void ab initio because
theDistributee, SaludBarretto, was not a daughter of theSps. The nullity of
the project was based on Art. 1081 ofthe Civil Code of 1889 which provided that :
A partition in which a person was believed to be an heir, without being so, hasbeen
been included, shall be null and void. The Court ordered the plaintiff to return the
properties received under the projectof partition.
ISSUE: WON the partition from which Salud acquired the fishpond is void ab initio
and thatSalud did not acquire title thereto
HELD: No. SaludBarretto admittedly had been instituted as an heir inthe late
BibianoBarretto's last will and testament togetherwith defendant Milagros; hence, the
partition had betweenthem could not be one such had with a party who wasbelieved
to be an heir without really being one, and wasnot null and void under said article.
The legal precept(Article 1081) does not speak of children, or descendants,but of
heirs (without distinction between forced, voluntaryor intestate ones), and the fact

that Salud happened not to be a daughter of the testator does not preclude her
beingone of the heirs expressly named in his testament; forBibianoBarretto was at
liberty to assign the free portionof his estate to whomsoever he chose. While the
share ()assigned to Salud impinged on the legitime of Milagros,Salud did not for
that reason cease to be a testamentaryheir of BibianoBarretto.2. Where the testator
allotted in his will to his legitimatedaughter a share less than her legitime, such
circumstancewould not invalidate the institution of a stranger as anheir, since there
was no preterition or total omission ofthe forced heir.3.Where a partition was made
between two persons institutedas heirs in the will, and one of them was found out
later not to be the testators daughter, while the other was really his daughter, it
cannot be said that the partitionwas a void compromise on the civil status of the
person who was not the testators daughter. At the time of the partition, the civil
status of that person was
notbeingquestioned. There can be no compromise on a matter thatwas not an issue.
While the law outlaws a compromise overcivil status, it does not forbid a settlement
by theparties regarding the share that should correspond to theclaimant to the
hereditary estate.4.
A project of partition is merely a proposal for thedistribution of the hereditary estate,
which the court mayaccept or reject. It is the court alone that makes thedistribution
of the estate and determines the
personsentitled thereto. It is the final judicial decree ofdistribution that vests title in t
he distributees. If thedecree was erroneous, it should have been corrected by an
opportune appeal; but once it had become final, its bindin geffect is like that of any
other judgment in rem, unless properly set aside for lack of jurisdiction or fraud.
Where the court has validly issued a decree of distribution and the same has become
final, the validity or invalidityof the project of partition becomes irrelevant.
5. A distribution in the decedents will, made according
tohis will should be respected. The fact that one of thedistributees was a minor
(Milagros) at the time the court issued the decree of distribution does not imply that
the court had no jurisdiction to enter the decree of
distribution. The proceeding for the settlement of a decedents estate is a proceeding
in rem. It is binding on the distributee who was represented by her mother as
In the instant case there is no doubt that the testatrix and her husband intended
to partition theconjugal estate in the manner set forth in paragraph V of her will. It is
true that she could disposeof by will her half of the conjugal estate (Art. 170, Civil
Code) but since the husband, after thedissolution of the conjugal partnership, had
assented to her testamentary partition of the conjugalestate, such partition has

become valid, assuming that the will may be probated. In the instantcase, the
preterited heir was the surviving spouse. His preterition did not produce
intestacy.Moreover, he signified his conformity to his wife's will and renounced his
hereditary rights.It results that the lower court erred in not proceeding with
the probate of the will as contemplatedin its uncancelled order of June 18,
1973.Testacy is favored. Doubts are resolved in favor of testacy especially where the
will evinces anintention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his whole
estate. So compelling is theprinciple that intestacy should be avoided and that
the wishes of the testator should prevail thatsometimes the language of the will can
be varied for the purpose of giving it effect.
ROSA DIONGSON, 155 SCRA 100(1983)
DOCTRINE: Acain resolved once and for all the issue as to whether or not
a surviving spouse couldbe preterited. This issue was not definitively answered in
Balanay. In addition, Acain resolved thatan adopted child may be preterited. This
issue was not resolved in Maninang. The foregoingnotwithstanding, the Court did
not explain the reason why an adopted child (while given the samerights and
obligations as a legitimate child under the provisions of P.D. 603) could be
preterited. Itmust be noted that given the said provisions, the adopted child is not
entitled to the right ofrepresentation, which is available to a legitimate child. It would
seem, however, that with the provisions of the Family Code, specifically on the
status of an adopted child, the preterition of an adopted child finds greater support.
FACTS: In May 1984, petitioner Acain filed with RTC Cebu a petition for the
probate of the will of the late Nemesio Acain based on the premise that the decedent
Nemesio left a will in which petitioner and his siblings were instituted as heirs.
1.The will was allegedly executed by Nemesio in February 1960which was written in
Bisaya and was not opposed by private respondents
2.In the will, Nemesio bequeathed all his properties to his brother Segundo on the
condition that if Segundo predeceases Nemesio, said properties will be given to
Segundos children (herein petitioner)
3. Segundo predeceased before Nemesio. Thus, it is the children of Segundo who are
claiming to be heirs, with Constantino as petitioner
4.Private respondents, Virigina (legally adopted daughter of

the decedent) and Rosa (decedents spouse) filed a motion to dismiss on the
following grounds:a.The petitioner had no legal capacity to institute said
Petitioner is merely a universal heirc.
The widow and the adopted daughter have been preterited5. Said motion was denied
by the trial judge.6. On appeal, IAC granted private respondents petition and
ordered the trial court to dismiss the petition for probate of the will of
Nemesio7.Petitioner argues that: a. The authority of the probate court is limited only
toinquiring into the intrinsic validity of the will soughtto be probated, and it cannot
pass upon the intrinsicvalidity therof before it is admitted to probateb. The preterition
mentioned in Art 854 NCC refers to preterition of compulsory heirs in the direct
line and does not apply to private respondents who are notcompulsory heirs in the
direct line. Thus, their omissionshall not annul the institution of heirs
ISSUE: WON private respondents have been preterited
HELD: Yes. 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, Art 854 NCCmay not apply as she does not ascend or
descend from the testator although she is a compulsory heir. Stated otherwise, 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. However, the samething
cannot be said of the other respondent Virginia Fernandez, whose legal adoption by
thetestator has not been questioned by petitioner. Under Art 39 of P.D. No. 603
(Child and YouthWelfare Code), adoption gives to the adopted person the same rights
and duties as if he were alegitimate child of the adopted and makes the adopted
person a legal heir of the adopter. Itcannot be denied that she was totally omitted and
preterited in the will of the testator and thatboth adopted child and the widow were
deprived of at least their legitime
. Neither can it bedenied that they were not expressly disinherited. Hence, this is a
clear case of preterition of thelegally adopted child. Preterition annuls the institution
of an heir and annulment throws open to intestate successionthe entire inheritance
including"la porcion libre (que) no hubiese dispuesto en virtual de legado,mejora o
donacion" The only provisions which do not result in intestacy are the legacies
anddevises made in the will for they should stand valid and respected, except insofar
as the legitimesare concerned.The universal institution of petitioner together with
his brothers and sisters to the entireinheritance of the testator results in totally
abrogating the will because the nullification of suchinstitution of universal heirs

- without any other testamentary disposition in the will - amounts to adeclaration that
nothing at all was written. Carefully worded and in clear terms, Article 854
of theCivil Code offers no leeway for inferential interpretation. No legacies nor
devises having beenprovided in the will the whole property of the deceased has been
left by universal title topetitioner and his brothers and sisters. The effect of annulling
the institution of heirs will be,necessarily, the opening of a total intestacy except that
proper legacies and devises must, asalready stated above, be respected.ON THE
JURISDICTION OF THE PROBATE COURTThe general rule is that the probate
court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic validity of thewill, the due execution
thereof, the testator's testamentary capacity and the compliance with therequisites or
solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes
onlyafter the Court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. Said court
at this state ofthe proceedings is not called upon to rule on the intrinsic validity or

efficacy of the provisions of the will. Under exceptional circumstances, the probate
court is not powerless to do what the situation constrains it to do and pass upon
certain provisions of the will. For private respondents to have tolerated the probate of
the will and allowed the case to progress when on its face the will appears to be
intrinsically void as petitioner and his brothers and sisters were instituted as
universal heirs coupled with the obvious fact that one of the private respondents had
been preterited would have been an exercise in futility. It would have meant a waste
of time, effort, expense, plus added anxiety. The trial court have denied its probate
outright or could have passed upon the intrinsic validity of the testamentary
provisions before the extrinsic validity of the will was resolved.