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IV. Dilemma 5: Last Will and Testament and Successional Rights.

On April
2005, four years after the plane crash, probate proceedings for Manuel’s will
were initiated. In the will, Manuel left P100, 000 to Cora, and the rest of all his
properties to Wendy and Ben equally (see Appendix H, Will of Manuel Soriano).
Louis, entrusted with the will, knew that if the will was to be followed, it would
be unfair to Wendy, since Ben was really Manuel’s illegitimate child. Louis
advises Wendy to contest the will. He adds, however that if she contests the
will, she has to tell the whole world that Ben is not her biological child. Wendy
does not want to give Ben up to his biological mother, since she (Wendy) has
learned to love him. However, she is adamant about not giving Cora the P500,
000.For Class Discussion – Faculty Guide a. Should Wendy contest the will? I.
See Appendix H, Will of Manuel SorianoII.
Consider the following: i. Civil Code, Article 892, 894, 897Art. 892. If only one
legitimate child or descendant of the deceased survives, the widow or widower
shall be entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary estate. In case of a legal
separation, the surviving spouse may inherit if it was the deceased who had
given cause for the same. If there are two or more legitimate children or
descendants, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to a portion equal to the
legitime of each of the legitimate children or descendants. In both cases, the
legitime of the surviving spouse shall be taken from the portion that can be
freely disposed of by the testator. Art. 894. If the testator leaves illegitimate
children, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to one-third of the hereditary
estate of the deceased and the illegitimate children to another third. The
remaining third shall be at the free disposal of the testator. Art. 897. When the
widow or widower survives with legitimate children or descendants, and
acknowledged natural children, or natural children by legal fiction, such
surviving spouse shall be entitled to a portion equal to the legitime of each of
the legitimate children which must be taken from that part of the estate which
the testator can freely dispose of.
b. Louie reminds Wendy that in all their years of friendship, she and Manuel
have gone to him for their legal problems but not once did he charge them a
fee. Due to the time involved in litigating this case (as to not giving Cora the
P500, 000), he accepts the case but demands from Wendy payment of P150,
000, his standard fee. Wendy refuses. Can Louis withdraw from the case?
I. Consider the following: a. Code of Professional Responsibility, Canons 22,
22.01, 20.04, 14.04
22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following case:(a)
When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct in connection
with the matter he is handling;(b) When the client insists that the lawyer
pursue conduct violative of these canons and rules;(c) When his inability to
work with co-counsel will not promote the best interest of the client;(d) When
the mental or physical condition of the lawyer renders it difficult for him to
carry out the employment effectively;(e) When the client deliberately fails to
pay the fees for the services or fails to comply with the retainer agreement;(f)
When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; and(g) Other similar
cases. Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning
his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent imposition,

care. in contingent fees.000 meant for Cora. with a viewto the importance of the subject matter of the controversy.(h) The contingency or certainty of compensation. Code of Professional Responsibility.. he must serve his client with competence and diligence. the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always bemindful of the trust and confidence repose in him. usually a fixed percentage of what may be recovered in the action is made to depend upon the success of the litigation. he has the right to decline employment.(b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved. 9/7/95“A contingent fee arrangement is an agreement laid down in an express contract between a lawyer and a client in which the lawyer's professional fee. Distinguish between a champertous contract and a contingent fee.01 . The clients may still be paying for the costs of the suit. GR 118746. usually a fixed percentage of what may be recovered in the action is made to depend upon the success of the litigation. he does not get paid. would this be correctly characterized as a contingent fee? I.(g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service.e.(c) The importance of the subject matter.01Rule 20. ”d.injustice or fraud. Consider the following: i. Santiago vs. b. Taganas vs. and devotion. NLRC.000 should helose. however. the extent of the services rendered. . should he win the case but only P25.(i) The character of the employment. a contingent fee is defined in the case of Taganas vs NLRCas “an agreement laid down in an express contract between a lawyer and a clientin which the lawyer's professional fee. whether occasional or established. or gets paid a lower agreed amount.An attorney shall be entitled to haveand recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services.. This does not mean though that the lawyer necessarily pays the costs and fees ofthe suit. .”Thus.A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his professional fees shall observe the same standard of conduct governing his relations with paying clients. the lawyer is the one paying for all the costs and fees of the case. Rule 138. Rule 14. Section 24Sec. If instead. and champion the latter's cause with wholehearted fidelity. II. What are the criteria in considering the reasonableness of Attorney’s fees? I. This arrangement isvalid in this jurisdiction. agreement as to fees.(e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered ase. the lawyer gets paid the agreed amount if the case is successful. Consider the following: i. The case of Bautista vs Gonzales (182 SCRA 151) describes a champertous agreement as one “whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce the client’s rights. Fojas. to Canon14 of the CPR. Canon 20.. 24. Once he agrees to take up the cause of a client. without reimbursement from the client.ii. subject. Louie agrees to take the case upon Wendy’s promise to give him the entire P500.A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining his fees:(a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required. Rules of Court. otherwise."c.(d) The skill demanded.” In champertous contracts. 248 SCRA 68 "It is axiomatic that no lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become his client. but the lawyer gets paid his agreed fee if they win. and(j) The professional standing of the lawyer. Compensation of attorneys. On the other hand.and the .(f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs.04 .

07.k) whether the fee is absolute or contingent (it being the rule thatan attorney may properly charge a higher fee when it is contingentthan when it is absolute).e) the novelty and difficulty of questions involved. shall give a candid and honest opinion on themerits and probable results of the client's case. she keeps these thoughts to herself and accepts the case considering that it presented a real challenge and was a good test case in addition to having the makings of a high profile case of “show-biz” proportions.professional standing of the attorney. time and trouble involved. neither overstating nor understating the prospects of the case. Presume that Louis does not take the case and Wendy seeks the services of a media-savvy female lawyer. 237 SCRA 39 “In determining the reasonableness of such [attorney’s] fees. I Consider the following: i. Del Rosario vs.c) the nature and importance of the litigation.A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness.j) the character of employment.A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR. whether casual or forestablishment client.07.d) the amount of money or the value of the property affected by thecontroversy. Discuss the legal and moral issues involved. 15. 15. No court shall be bound by the opinion of attorneysas expert witnesses as to the proper compensation.f) the responsibility imposed on counsel.b) the labor. .” f. .h) the professional character and social standing of the lawyer.i) the customary charges of the bar for similar services. Canons 15. . Evie Escaler. we might collate thusly:a) the quantity and character of the services rendered. Code of Professional Responsibility. FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY INALLHIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS CLIENTS . Atty. this Court ina number of cases has provided various criteria which. for convenientguidance.05.05. andl) the results secured. Nevertheless.g) the skill and experience called for in the performance of theservice. CA. Rule 15. She believes that there is little chance that the case will prosper considering that Wendy wanted the bequest to Cora to be voided on moral grounds but did not want any proof to be presented that could identify Cora as Ben’s biological mother. A written contract for services shall control theamount to be paid therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable iii. but may disregard such testimony and base itsconclusion on its own professional knowledge. 17CANON 15 .A lawyer when advising his client.Rule 15.