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Kalaw vs Relova

Topic: Insertions, Cancellations, Erasures and Alterations (Art. 814)


Doctrine: When 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. To state that the Will as first written should be given
efficacy is to disregard the seeming change of mind of the testatrix.
Facts: On Sept 1971, herein private respondent, Gregorio Kalaw,
claiming to be the sole heir of his deceased Sister, Natividad Kalaw,
filed a petition for the probate of her holographic will. But the
proceeding was objected by one Rosa Kalaw. It appears that the
holographic will, as first written a) named her (Rosa), also a sister of
the testatrix as sole heir, and that (b) she was also named as sole
executrix. However, the will appears to contain 2 alterations. First,
Rosa's name, designated as the sole heir was crossed out and
instead "Rosario" was written above it. Such was not initialed.
Second, Rosa's name was crossed out as sole executrix and
Gregorio's name was written above it. This alteration was initialed
by the testator.
Thus, her opposition was based on the fact that the will
containing alterations, corrections, and insertion is without the
proper authentication by the fill signature of the testatrix as
required by Art. 814 w/c reads: In case of any insertion,
cancellation, erasure or alteration in a holographic will the testator
must authenticate the same by his full signature
She now argues that the holographic will, as first written, should
be given effect and probated so that she could be the sole heir
thereunder. TC denied petition to probate
Issue: WON the original unaltered text after subsequent alterations
and insertions were voided by the TC for lack of authentication by
the full signature of the testatrix, should be probated or not, with
Rosa as sole heir?
Held & Rationale: No. Generally, when a number of erasures,
corrections, cancellation, or insertions are made by the testator in
the will but the same have not been noted or authenticated with his
full signature, only the particular words erased, corrected, altered
will be invalidated, not the entirety of the will. This general rule has
exceptions, as in this case. When the holographic will had only one
substantial provision, which was altered by substituting the original

heir with another, and the same did not carry the requisite full
signature of the testator, or simply put, where the change affects
the essence of the will of the testator, the entirety of the will is
voided or revoked. To rule that the first will should be given effect is
to disregard the testatrix' change of mind. However, this change of
mind cannot be given effect either as she failed to authenticate it in
accordance with Art. 814, or by affixing her full signature.
Dispositive: Petition failed
Additional Important Note:
General Rules:
When a number of erasures, corrections, cancellation, or insertions
are made by the testator in the will but the same have not been
noted or authenticated with his full signature, only the particular
words erased, corrected, altered will be invalidated, not the entirety
of the will.
Exception:
1. Where the change affects the essence of the will of the testator;
Note: When the holographic will had only one substantial provision,
which was altered by substituting the original heir with another, and
the same did not carry the requisite full signature of the testator,
the entirety of the will is voided or revoked.
Reason: What was cancelled here was the very essence of the will;
it amounted to the revocation of the will. Therefore, neither the
altered text nor the original unaltered text can be given effect.
(Kalaw v. Relova, G.R. No. L-40207, Sept. 28, 1984)
2. Where the alteration affects the date of the will or the signature
of the testator.
3. If the words written by a 3rd person were contemporaneous with
the execution of the will, even though authenticated by the testator,
the entire will is void for violation of the requisite that the
holographic will must be entirely in the testators handwriting.