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Austria v.

Basilia Austra
petition for probate, ante mortem, of her last will and testament, 1956
last will and testament
bulk of estate was destined to pass onto the legally adopted children of Basilia
died, 1959
one of legally adopted childredn, Perfecto Cruz, was appointed executor
Ruben Austria, (oppositors)
nephews and nieces of Basilia
nearest surviving blood relatives of Basilia
filed petition for opposition
also, filed petition in intervention for partition
(1) they are nearest kin
(2) adopted children, were not in fact been adopted in accordance with law; thus,
they are mere strangers and without any right to succeed as heirs
as per Art 850
"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
that as per the tenor of the will, “sapilitang tagamagmana" and "sapilitang
gives rise to inference that Basilia was deceived into believing that she was
legally bound to bequeath 1/2 of her estate to respondents Perfecto Cruz
had Basilia known the adoption to be spurious, she would have not instituted
the childred at all
delimited the petition of the nephews and nieces (oppositors) to the properties not disposed
of in the will
and to that extent, intestate succssion can take place
further, held that validity of adoption is not an issue; for nevertheless, the adopted children
were instituted as testamentary heirs
as per Art 842

it seems that there is a perceptible inclination on the decedent’s part to give the respondents more than what she thought the law enjoined her to give them. that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy. solely because she believed that the law commanded her to do so. referring to the will. on the false assumption that her adoption of these respondents was valid. and of two modes of interpreting a will. “ "One who has compulsory heirs may dispose of his estate provided he does not contravene the provisions of this Code with regard to the legitime of said heirs. Actually. is highly speculative of what was in the mind of the testatrix when she executed her will. by final judgment. still such institution must stand.” (iii) Lastly. Even the probate court has found."One who has no compulsory heirs may dispose of by will all his estate or any part of it in favor of any person having capacity to succeed. Whatever doubts one entertains in his mind should be swept away by these explicit injunctions in the Civil Code: "The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect. when there existed proof that the adoption was false SC (a) as per Art 850. (iii) 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. that Basilia Austria was possessed of testamentary capacity and her last will executed free from falsification. the oppositors offer no absolute indication that the decedent would have willed her estate other than the way she did if she had known that she was not bound by law to make allowance for legitimes Actually. (b) SC: (i) the oppositor's own proposition. (ii) The decedent's will was vague and uncertain.” Issue legality of the tie of the decedent with the instituted heirs (adopted children) the instituted would still have efficacy. the phrases in question were borrowed from the language of the law on succession Further. fraud. rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative. the institution of an heir may be annuled under Art 850: (i) the cause for the institution of heirs must be stated in the will (ii) the cause must be shown to be false. (ii) Further. . even if we supposedly accept the oppositors' theory that the decedent instituted the the adopted children. trickery or undue influence.

and cannot be the subject of a collateral attack. .(iv) More importantly. the legality of the adoption by the decedent can be assailed only in a separate action brought for that purpose.