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III.

TRUSTS
FIDUCIARY CHARACTER
THE ESTATE OF HILARIO M. RUIZ, EDMOND RUIZ, Executor
vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS (Former Special Sixth Division),
MARIA PILAR RUIZ-MONTES, MARIA CATHRYN RUIZ, CANDICE
ALBERTINE RUIZ, MARIA ANGELINE RUIZ and THE PRESIDING
JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG, BRANCH 156
[G.R. No. 118671. January 29, 1996]
PUNO, J.:
FACTS: Ruiz executed a holographic will naming as his heirs his only son, Edmond,
his adopted daughter, private respondent Maria Montes, and his 3
granddaughters, all children of Edmond. The testator bequeathed cash, personal
and real properties and named Edmond executor.
When Ruiz died, the cash was distributed among Edmond and private
respondents according to the will. One of the properties of the estatea house and
lot at Valle Verde IV, which the testator bequeathed to the granddaughters, - was
leased out by Edmond to third persons.
The court ordered Edmond to deposit the rental payments totalling P540K
as one-year lease of the property. In compliance, Edmond turned over the cash
but only P348,583.Eventually, the court approved Edmonds motion for the
release of P50K to pay the real estate taxes of the estate. Edmond filed another
Motion for Release of Funds.
Montes opposed. She prayed for the release of the rent payments to the
granddaughters and for the distribution of the Valle Verde property and the Blue
Ridge apartments in accordance with the
will.
The court granted Montes' motion. The court, however, delayed the release
of the titles. Edmond was ordered to submit an accounting of the expenses for
administration including provisions for the support of the granddaughters.
Petitioners appealed to the CA. CA sustained the courts order.
ISSUE: Whether or not the probate.after admitting the will to probate but before
payment of the estates debts and obligations, has the authority to disallow the
executor/administrator of the estate of the late hilario m ruiz to take possession of
all the real and personal properties of the estate.
HELD: YES. Petitioner cannot correctly claim that the assailed order deprive him of
his right to take possession of all real and personal properties of the estate. The
right of an executor or administrator to the possession and management of the
real and personal properties of the deceased is not absolute and can only be

exercised so long as it is necessary for the payment of the debts and expenses of
administration,.
Petitioner must be reminded that his right of ownership over the properties
of his father is merely inchoate as long as the estate has not been fully settled
and partitioned. As executor, he is mere trustee of his fathers estate.The funds
of the estate in his hands are trust funds and he is held liable to the duties and
responsibilities of a trustee of the highest order. He cannot unilaterally assign to
himself and possess all his parents properties and uthe fruits thereof without first
submitting an inventory and appraisal of all real and personal properties of the
deceased, rendering a true account of his administration, the expenses of
administration, the amount of the obligations and estate tax, all of which are
subject to a determination by the court as to their veracity, properties and
justness.