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SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE OF DECEASED PERSONS,

VENUE AND PROCESS


JURISDICTION OF RTCS
When the value of the estate exceeds P300,000 or
P400,000 in Metro Manila. [SC Circular 21-99]
JURISDICTION OF MTCS
When the value of the estate does not exceed P300,000 or
P400,000 in Metro Manila. [SC Circular 21-99]
Court first taking cognizance shall exercisejurisdiction to
the exclusion of all other courts and cannot be divested by
subsequent act of interested parties. [Sandoval v.
Santiago (1949)]
TESTATE PROCEEDINGS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER
INTESTATE PROCEEDINGS OF THE SAME ESTATE.
Thus, if in the course of intestate proceedings pending
before a court of first instance, it is found that the
decedent had left a last will, proceedings for the probate
of the latter should replace the intestate proceedings even
if at that stage an administrator had already been
appointed, the latter being required to render final
account and turn over the estate in his possession to the
executor subsequently appointed. This, however, is
understood to be without prejudice; that should the
alleged last will be rejected or is disapproved, the
proceeding shall continue as an intestacy. [Uriarte vs. CFI
(1970)]
General Rule: Jurisdiction assumed by a court shall not be
contested in a suit or proceeding,
Exceptions:
(1) In an appeal from that court, in the original case, OR
(2) When the want of jurisdiction appears on the record.
VENUE IN JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE
RULE 73 RELATES TO VENUE AND NOT TO JURISDICTION
The place of residence of the deceased in settlement of
estates, probate of will, and issuance of letters of
administration does not constitute an element of
jurisdiction over the subject matter. It is only constitutive
of venue.
MEANING OF TERM RESIDES
Resides - in the section is viewed in its popular sense,
meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a
person, actual residence of place of abode and not to his
permanent residence or domicile.
EXTENT OF JURISDICTION OF PROBATE COURT
PROBATE COURT IS OF LIMITED JURISDICTION
General rule: Probate court cannot decide questions as to
ownership of property alleged to be part of the estate of
the deceased but claimed by some other person to be his
property.
Exceptions:
(1) In a provisional manner to determine whether said
property should be included or excluded in the inventory,
without prejudice to final determination of title in a
separate action
(2) With consent of all the parties, without prejudice to
third persons [Trinidad v. CA (1991)]
(3) If the question is one of collation or advancement
POWERS AND

DUTIES OF PROBATE COURT


It is the duty of courts of probate jurisdiction to guard
jealously the estates of the deceased person by
intervening in the administration thereof in order to
remedy or repair any injury that may be done thereto.
[Dariano vs. Fernandez Fidalgo (1909)]
There seems, however, to be a general tendency, in the
absence of express and specific restrictions to the
contrary, to uphold the exercise by the probate court of
such incidental powers as are, within the purview of their
grant of authority, reasonably necessary to enable them to
accomplish the objects for which they were invested with
jurisdiction and to perfect the same. [In Re: Baldomero
Cosme (1937)]
Summary Settlement of Estates
General Rule: Judicial Settlement
Exception:
(1) Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate
(2) Summary Settlement of Estate of Small Value
Court intervention not
required
No will (intestate)
No debts
Heirs are all of age, or
minors are represented by
judicial or legal reps

Bond filed at Register of


deed in the amount equal
to the value of the personal
property

Summary judicial
adjudication needed
Will may or may not exist
(intestate/testate)
Debts may or may not exist

Gross value of estate may


not exceed P10,000
Bond filed at and to be
determined by the court

EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT BY AGREEMENT


BETWEEN HEIRS, WHEN ALLOWED
REQUISITES
(1) Decedent died intestate
(2) No debts OR the heirs have already paid such at the
time of partition
(3) Heirs are all of age or the minors are represented by
their judicial or legal representatives
(4) Settlement made in public instrument filed with the
register of deeds
(5) Fact of the extrajudicial settlement shall be published
in a newspaper of general circulation 3 times a week, once
each week. [Sec. 1, Rule 74]
PROCEDURE
Death of the decedent

Division of estate in public instrument or affidavit of


adjudication

Filing of the public instrument, or affidavit of


adjudication if there is only one heir, with the proper
Registry of Deeds

Publication of notice of the fact of extrajudicial


settlement once a week for 3 consecutive weeks in a
newspaper of general circulation in the province, and
after such other notice to interested persons as the
court may direct

Hearing to be held not less than 1 month nor more


than 3 months from the date of the last publication

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of notice

Filing of bond equivalent to the value of personal


property
If there is no disagreement between the heirs
The parties may divide the estate among themselves by
means of a
public instrument filed in the office of register of deeds.
If there is disagreement
They may divide the estate in an ordinary action of
partition.
If only one heir
He may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by means
of an
affidavit filed in the Registrar of Deeds.
BOND REQUIREMENT
Required only if personal property is involved because real
estate is subject to lien
File a bond equal to the value of the personal property
involved as certified to under oath by the parties,
conditioned upon the payment of any just claim that may
be filed of deprived heirs and creditors. [Sec. 1, Rule 74]
NOT BINDING ON ANY PERSON WHO:
(1) Has not participated in the extrajudicial settlement; or
(2) Had no notice thereof. [Sec. 1, Rule 74]
VALIDITY OF ORAL PARTITION
Such is VALID, because there is no law that requires
partition among heirs to be in writing to be valid. [Pada
Kilario v. CA (2000)]
Requirement under Rule 74.1 is merely for the protection
of creditors and the heirs themselves against tardy claims.
Where there are no creditors, the requirements no longer
apply.
VALIDITY OF COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
Such is VALID, binding upon the parties as individuals,
upon the perfection of the contract, even without previous
authority of the court to enter into such agreement. [Borja
v. Vda. De Borja (1972)]

If there is only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the


entire estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of
register of deeds. [Sec. 1, Rule 74]
BOND REQUIREMENT
File a bond equal to the value of the personal property
involved as certified to under oath by the parties,
conditioned upon the payment of any just claim that may
be filed [Sec. 1, Rule 74]
SUMMARY SETTLEMENT OF ESTATES OF SMALL
VALUE
WHEN ALLOWED
(1) Gross value of estate does not exceed P10,000
(2) Fact is made to appear to the RTC
(3) Through petition of an interested person
(4) Upon hearing
(a) Held not less than 1 month nor more than 3
months
(b) Counted from the date of the last publication
of a notice
(5) Notice
(a) Which shall be published once a week for 3
consecutive weeks
(b) In a newspaper of general circulation in the
province
(c) It is not required that publication be for a
complete 21 days. What is required is that it be
published for once a week for 3 consecutive
weeks.
(6) Notice to interested persons as the court may direct.
[Sec. 2, Rule 74]
Upon fulfillment of the requisites, the court may proceed
summarily without the appointment of an
executor/administrator and without delay,
(1) to grant, if proper, allowance of the will, if any there be
(2) to determine who are persons legally entitled to
participate in the estate
(3) to apportion and divide among them after the payment
of such debts of the estate
(4) persons in own right if of lawful age, or their guardians,
will be entitled to receive and enter into possession of the
portions of the estate so awarded to them respectively.
[Sec. 2, Rule 74]
PROCEDURE

NO PRECLUSION FROM INSTITUTING ADMINISTRATION


PROCEEDINGS
Sec. 1, Rule 74 does not preclude the heirs from instituting
administration proceedings, even if the estate has no
debts or obligations, if they do not desire to resort for
good reasons to an ordinary action for partition. While Sec.
1 allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves
as they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action for
partition, the said provision does not compel them to do
as if they have good reasons to take a different course of
action. [Pereira v CA (1989)]
TWO-YEAR PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD
Claim by creditors and deprived heirs must be filed within
2 years from the time of distribution/ publication.
PRESUMPTION OF NO DEBTS
It shall be presumed that the decedent left no debts if no
creditor files a petition for letters of administration within
2 years after the death of the decedent. [Sec. 4, Rule 74]
AFFIDAVIT OF SELF-ADJUDICATION BY SOLE HEIR
Affidavit of Self-adjudication by sole heir

Death of the decedent

Application for summary settlement with an


allegation that the gross value of the estate does not
exceed P10K

Publication of notice of the fact of summary


settlement once a week for 3 consecutive weeks in a
newspaper of general circulation in the province, and
after such other notice to interested persons as the
court may direct

Hearing to be held not less than 1 month nor more


than 3 months from the date of the last publication
of notice

Court to proceed summarily, without appointing an


executor/administrator (executor/administrator),
and to make orders as may be necessary

Grant allowance of the will, if any

Determine persons entitled to estate

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Pay debts of estate which are due

Filing of bond fixed by the court

Partition of estate
Notes: There is no requirement regarding the lack of debts
(unlike extrajudicial partition) in summary settlement of
estates of small value since the court will make provisions
for such in its resolution of the proceedings.
REMEDIES OF AGGRIEVED PARTIES AFTER EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE
(1) CLAIM AGAINST THE BOND OR THE ESTATE
WITHIN TWO
YEARS
Bond and real estate remain charged
Rule: bond and real estate shall remain charged with a
liability to creditor, heirs or other persons for the full
period of 2 years after such distribution, notwithstanding
any transfers of real estate that may have been made.
When applicable: There is an heir or other person who
(a) has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation in
the estate:
He shall have a right to compel the settlement of the
estate in the courts for the purpose of satisfying such
lawful participation.
(b) has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation
payable in money: The court having jurisdiction of the
estate may, by order for that purpose, after hearing,
(i) settle the amount of such debts or lawful
participation, and
(ii) order how much and in what manner each
distributee shall contribute in the payment
thereof, and
(iii) may issue execution against the bond or
against the real estate belonging to the deceased,
or both.
When not applicable:
(a) To persons who have participated or taken part or had
notice of the extrajudicial partition
(b) When the provisions of Sec. 1 of Rule 74 have been
strictly complied with (all persons or heirs of the decedent
have taken part in the extrajudicial settlement or are
represented by themselves or through guardians)
This is only a Bar against the parties who had taken part in
the extrajudicial proceedings, but not against third
persons not parties thereto
Period for Claim of Minor or Incapacitated Person
If on the date of the expiration of the period of 2 years,
the person authorized to file a claim is:
(1) a minor or mentally incapacitated, or is in prison or
(2) outside the Philippines,
He may present his claim within 1 year after such
disability is removed. [Sec. 5, Rule 74]
After the two years has passed, claimant must file an
ordinary action against the distributes within the statute of
limitations.
(2) ACTION TO ANNUL A DEED OF EXTRAJUDICIAL
PARTITION
Prescriptive period: within 4 years from the discovery of
the fraud (deemed to have taken place when said
instrument was filed with the Register of Deeds and new

certificates of title were issued in the name of


respondents). [Gerona v. De Guzman, 11 SCRA 154
(1964)] Note, this was decided before the New Civil Code
took effect.
HOWEVER in Amerol v. Bagumbaran (1987), the Court
applied Article 1144 (NCC) which stated that actions upon
an obligation created by law must be brought within 10
years from the time the right of action accrues. Since
implied or constructive trusts are obligations created by
law, then the prescriptive period to enforce the same
prescribes in 10 years. Thus, an action for reconveyance
based on an implied or constructive trust must perforce
prescribe in 10 years and not otherwise.
Optional: See also separate opinion of Justice Padilla re
Amerol v. Bagumbayan, which distinguishes between dolo
causante (4 years) and dolo incidente (10 years).
(3) NEW ACTION TO ANNUL SETTLEMENT WITHIN
REGLEMENTARY PERIOD OF TWO YEAR
(4) REOPENING BY INTERVENTION BEFORE
RENDITION OF
JUDGMENT WITHIN THE REGLEMETARY PERIOD OF
TWO
YEARS
(5) PETITION FOR RELIEF ON THE GROUND OF
FRAUD,
ACCIDENT, MISTAKE OR EXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE
within 60 days after the petitioner learns of the judgment,
final order or other proceedings to be set aside and not
more than 6 months after such judgment or order is
entered or taken
(6) RESCISSION IN CASE OF PRETERITION
PRODUCTION AND PROBATE OF WILL
NATURE OF PROBATE PROCEEDING
(1) In Rem
(2) Mandatory
(3) Imbued with public policy, thus imprescriptible and the
doctrine of estoppel does not apply
General Rule: A probate proceeding only looks at extrinsic
validity.
Extrinsic validity - due execution of the will (whether or
not the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the
will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law)
Exception:
Principle of Practical Consideration
The probate court may pass upon the intrinsic validity of
the will because there is apparent defect in its face this
is also known as the principle of practical consideration
[Nepomuceno v CA (1985)].
(Ex. When on the face of the will the petitioner appears to
be preterited)
But the remedy of certiorari is available, where the
grounds for dismissal are indubitable (e.g. grave abuse of
discretion of the judge when there is clearly preterition
and the said judge still continues the probate proceedings)
EFFECT OF PROBATE OF WILL
Decree of probate is conclusive as to its due execution,
subject to the right of appeal. (Thus, no suit for forgery of
a will, which has been duly probated and such order
becoming final)[Rodelas v Aranza (1982)]:

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General Rule: If a holographic will has been lost or


destroyed and no other copy is available, the will cannot
be probated because the best and only evidence is the
handwriting of the testator in said will.

be his will at the time of fixing his signature thereto [Sec.


9, Rule 76]

Exception: A photostatic copy or Xerox of the holographic


will may be allowed because comparison can be made
with the standard writings of the testator.

REPROBATE; REQUISITES BEFORE WILL PROVED


OUTSIDE ALLOWED IN THE PHILIPPINES; EFFECTS
OF PROBATE REPROBATE

WHO MAY PETITION FOR PROBATE; PERSONS ENTITLED TO


NOTICE

Wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according to


the laws of such country, may be allowed, filed, and
recorded by the proper Court of First Instance in the
Philippines (now RTC). [Sec. 1, Rule 77]

PETITIONER FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF THE WILL


(1) Executor
(2) Devisee
(3) Legatee
(4) Other person interested in the estate
(5) Testator himself, during his lifetime [Sec. 1, Rule 76]
MEANING OF INTEREST IN ESTATE
An interested party is one who would be benefited by the
estate such as an heir or one who has claim against the
estate like a creditor. [Sumilang v. Ramagosa (1967)]
JURISDICTION, HOW ACQUIRED
(1) Attaching a mere copy of will to the petition or
(2) Delivery of will, even if no petition is filed or
(3) Filing of the original petition and compliance with Sec
3-4 Rule 76.
(a) Publication for 3 weeks of the order
(b) Notice to all interested persons (If by mail, 20
days before hearing; if through personal service,
10 days before hearing)
If testator files for probate of his will, no publication is
required and notice is only to the compulsory heirs. [Sec.
3, Rule 76]
ALLOWANCE OR DISALLOWANCE OF WILL
CONTENTS OF PETITION FOR ALLOWANCE OF WILL
(1) Jurisdictional facts
(a) Death of the decedent
(b) Residence at the time of death in the province
where the probate court is sitting
(c) Or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country,
his leaving his estate in such province
(2) Names, ages, and residences of the heirs, legatees,
and devisees of the testator or decedent
(3) Probable value and character of the property of the
estate
(4) Name of the person for whom letters are prayed
(5) If the will has not been delivered to the court, the
name of the person having custody of it. [Sec. 2, Rule 76]
DEFECT IN PETITION
Defect in petition will not void the allowance of the will, or
the issuance of letters testamentary or of administration
with the will annexed. [Sec. 2, Rule 76]
GROUNDS FOR DISALLOWING A WILL
(1) If not executed and attested as required by law
(2) If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally
incapable to make a will, at the time of its execution
(3) If executed under duress, or the influence of fear, or
threats
(4) If procured by undue and improper pressure and
influence, on the part of the beneficiary, or of some other
person for his benefit
(5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud
or trick, and he did not intend that the instrument should

Note: The grounds for disallowance of will are exclusive.

REQUISITES FOR ALLOWANCE


(1) Copy of the will
(2) Order or decree of the allowance in foreign country
(3) Filed with a petition for allowance in the Philippines by
executor or other person interested
(4) Court having jurisdiction shall fix a time and place for
the hearing
(5) Cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an
original will presented for allowance. [Sec. 2, Rule 77]
EFFECT
The will shall have the same effect as if originally proved
and allowed in such court.
LETTERS TESTAMENTARY AND OF ADMINISTRATION
WHEN AND TO WHOM LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
GRANTED
Letters Testamentary issued to the executor named in
the will, if s/he is competent, accepts the trust, and gives
the required bond. [Sec. 4, Rule 78]
Letters of Administration issued to an administratorwhen
(1) No executor named or
(2) Executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the
trust, or fail to give bond or
(3) Or person dies intestate. [1st par., Sec. 6, Rule 78]
WHO ARE INCOMPETENT TO SERVE
(1) Minor
(2) Non-resident
(3) One who, in the opinion of the court, is unfit to exercise
the duties of the trust by reason of drunkenness,
improvidence, want of understanding or integrity or
conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude. [Sec. 1,
Rule 78]
An executor of an executor cannot administer the estate
of the first testator. [Sec. 2, Rule 78]
ORDER OF PREFERENCE
ORDER OF PREFERENCE IN THE GRANT OF
ADMINISTRATION
(1) Surviving spouse or next of kin, or both, or to such
person as the surviving spouse, or next of kin requests to
have appointed, if competent and willing to serve.
(2) If those in (a) be incompetent or unwilling, or if the
husband or widow, or next of kin, neglects for 30 days
after the death of the person to apply for administration or
to request that administration be granted to some other
person, it may be granted to one or more of the principal
creditors, if competent and willing to serve.
(3) If there is no (b), it may be granted to such other
person as the court may select. [Sec. 6, Rule 78]
Next of kin are those entitled by law to receive the
decedent properties. [Gonzalez v. Aguinaldo, et al.,
(1990)]

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REASON FOR ORDER OF PREFERENCE


Those who would reap the benefit of a wise, speedy and
economical administration of the estate, or, on the other
hand, suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence or
mismanagement, have the highest interest and most
influential motive to administer the estate correctly.
[Gonzalez v. Aguinaldo, et al., (1990)]
Mere failure to apply for letters of administration does not
remove preference. [1 ALR 1247]
General Rule: The court cannot set aside order of
preference
Exceptions: If the person enjoying such preferential rights
is
(1) Unsuitable
(2) Incompetent
(3) Unwilling
(4) Neglect to apply for letters 30 days after the death of
the decedent
Court may reject order of preference when circumstances
warrant. [Villamor v. Court of Appeals, (1988)]

(4) Name of person to whom letter is prayed [Sec. 2, Rule


79]
JURISDICTIONAL FACTS
(1) Death of the testator
(2) His/her residence at the time of death in the province
where the probate court is sitting or,
(3) If an inhabitant of a foreign country, his/her having left
his estate in such province [Diez v. Serra, (1927)]
PUBLICATION AND NOTICE
Publication of notice for 3 weeks successively and notice
to heirs, creditors and interested persons are jurisdictional.
[Sec. 3, Rule 79 and Secs. 3 & 4, Rule 76]
SIMULTANEOUS FILING OF OPPOSITION AND PETITION:
A petition may, at the same time, be filed for letters of
administration to himself, or to any competent person or
person named in the opposition. [Sec. 4, Rule 79]
Lack of interest in the proceedings is equal to lack of legal
capacity to institute proceedings. [Herrera]
Appointment of Regular Administrator is final and thus,
appealable.

The order of preference is not absolute for it depends on


the attendant facts and circumstances of each case. The
selection of an administrator lies in the sound discretion of
the trial court. [In Re Suntay, (2007)]
30-DAY PERIOD MAY BE WAIVED
Just as the order of preference is not absolute and may be
disregarded for valid cause, so may the 30- day period be
likewise waived under the permissive tone in paragraph
(b) of said rule which merely provides that said letters as
an alternative, may be granted to one or more of the
principal creditors. [Herrera]
Co-administrators may be appointed. [Matute v. Court of
Appeals (1969)]
OPPOSITION TO ISSUANCE OF LETTERS
TESTAMENTARY; SIMULTANEOUS FILING OF PETITION
FOR ADMINISTRATION
Who may oppose: Any person interested in will [Sec. 1,
Rule 79]
MEANING OF INTERESTED PERSON
One who would be benefited by the estate, such as an
heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a
creditor; thus interest must be immaterial and direct, not
merely indirect or contingent.
[Saguinsin v. Lindayag, 6 SCRA 874]
GROUNDS
(1) Incompetency of the person/s named in the will as
executor/s, or
(2) Contestants right to the administration [Sec. 4, Rule
79]
Form required: State in writing the grounds why letter
should not issue; the court shall then hear and pass upon
sufficiency of such grounds. [Sec. 1, Rule 79]
CONTENTS
(1) Jurisdictional facts
(2) Name, age and residence of heirs and the name and
age of creditors
(3) Probable value of the estate

POWERS AND DUTIES OF EXECUTORS AND


ADMINISTRATORS; RESTRICTIONS ON THE POWERS
GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF EXECUTORS AND
ADMINISTRATORS
(1) Have Access to Partnership Books and Property at All
Times
(a) Have access to, and may examine and take
copies of, books and papers relating to the
partnership business,
(b) Examine and make invoices of the property
belonging to such partnership
(c) The surviving partner or partners, on request,
shall exhibit to him all such books, papers, and
property in their hands or control. [Sec. 1,
Rule 84]
Failure to freely permit the exercise of the may subject any
partner for contempt.
(2) Keep Buildings in Tenantable Repair
(a) Houses and other structures and fences
belonging to the estate, and
(b) Deliver the same in such repair to the heirs or
devisees when directed so to do by the court.
[Sec. 2, Rule 84]
(3) Right to Possession and Management of the Real and
Personal Properties
(a) So long as it is necessary for the payment of
the debts and the expenses of administration
(b) Administrator cannot exercise the right of legal
redemption over a portion of the property owned
in common sold by one of the other co-owners
since this is not within the powers of
administrator. [Sec. 3, Rule 84]
Note: When the estate of a deceased is already subject of
a testate or intestate proceeding, the administrator cannot
enter into any transaction involving it without any prior
approval of the Court. [Estate of Olave v. Reyes (1983)]

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