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G.R. No.

157451

Testamentary Capacity

December 16, 2005

LETICIA VALMONTE ORTEGA, petitioner vs JOSEFINA C. VALMONTE, respondent


G.R. No. 157451, December 16, 2005
FACTS:
Two years after the arrival of Placido from the United States and at the age of 80
he wed Josefina Valmonte who was then 28 years old. But in a little more than two
years of wedded bliss, Placido died on October 8, 1984. Before death however, Placido
executed a notarial last will and testament, granting unto said Josefina certain
properties, written in English and consisting of two (2) pages, and dated June 15, 1983
but acknowledged only on August 9, 1983. The oppositor Leticia attacked the mental
capacity of the testator, declaring that at the time of the execution of the notarial will
the testator was already 83 years old and was no longer of sound mind. She knew
whereof she spoke because in 1983 Placido lived in the Makati residence and asked
Leticias family to live with him and they took care of him. During that time, the
testators physical and mental condition showed deterioration, aberrations and senility.
This was corroborated by her daughter Mary Jane Ortega for whom Placido took a fancy
and wanted to marry.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Placido Valmonte has testamentary capacity at the time he
allegedly executed the subject will.
HELD:
The court ruled that in determining the capacity of the testator to make a will,
the Civil Code gives the following guidelines:
Article 798. In order to make a will it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at
the time of its execution.
Article 799. To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full
possession of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken,
unimpaired, or shattered by disease, injury or other cause.
It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to
know the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of his bounty, and
the character of the testamentary act.
Article 800. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind, in the absence of
proof to the contrary.
The burden of proof that the testator was not of sound mind at the time of
making his dispositions is on the person who opposes the probate of the will; but if the
testator, one month, or less, before making his will was publicly known to be insane, the
person who maintains the validity of the will must prove that the testator made it
during a lucid interval.
According to Article 799, the three things that the testator must have the ability
to know to be considered of sound mind are as follows: (1) the nature of the estate to
be disposed of, (2) the proper objects of the testators bounty, and (3) the character of
the testamentary act. Applying this test to the present case, we find that the appellate
court was correct in holding that Placido had testamentary capacity at the time of the
execution of his will.

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G.R. No. 157451

Testamentary Capacity

December 16, 2005

It must be noted that despite his advanced age, he was still able to identify
accurately the kinds of property he owned, the extent of his shares in them and even
their locations. As regards the proper objects of his bounty, it was sufficient that he
identified his wife as sole beneficiary. As we have stated earlier, the omission of some
relatives from the will did not affect its formal validity. There being no showing of fraud
in its execution, intent in its disposition becomes irrelevant.

Page 2 of 2

G.R. No. L-6801

Testamentary Capacity

March 14, 1912

JULIANA BAGTAS, plaintiffs-appellee,


v.
ISIDRO PAGUIO, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
TRENT, J.:
Facts:
Testators body was paralyzed on the left side, his hearing was impaired, he had
lost his power of speech, his head fell to one side, and saliva ran from his mouth.
However, he retained the use of his right hand and was able to write fairly well. Through
the medium of signs he was able to indicate his wishes to his wife and to other members
of his family.
At the time of the execution of the will there were present the four testamentary
witnesses, Agustin Paguio, Anacleto Paguio, and Pedro Paguio, and attorney, Seor
Marco, and one Florentino Ramos. Anacleto Paguio and the attorney have since died,
and consequently their testimony was not available upon the trial of the case in the
lower court. The other three testamentary witnesses and the witness Florentino Ramos
testified as to the manner in which the will was executed. According to the
uncontroverted testimony of these witnesses the will was executed in the following
manner:
Pioquinto Paguio, the testator, wrote out on pieces of paper notes and
items relating to the disposition of his property, and these notes were in turn
delivered to Seor Marco, who transcribed them and put them in form. The
witnesses testify that the pieces of paper upon which the notes were written are
delivered to attorney by the testator; that the attorney read them to the testator
asking if they were his testamentary dispositions; that the testator assented each
time with an affirmative movement of his head; that after the will as a whole had
been thus written by the attorney, it was read in a loud voice in the presence of
the testator and the witnesses; that Seor Marco gave the document to the
testator; that the latter, after looking over it, signed it in the presence of the four
subscribing witnesses; and that they in turn signed it in the presence of the
testator and each other.
Issue:
Whether or not the testator was of sound mind.
Held:
Supreme Court held that the presumption of a sound mind was not rebutted.
Witnesses testified that the testator wrote the disposition in pieces of paper; he
was asked whether they were indeed dispositions to which he nodded his head in
affirmation; and the will was read to him out loud.
The rule of law relating to the presumption of mental soundness is well
established, and the testator in the case at bar never having been adjudged insane by a
court of competent jurisdiction, this presumption continues, and it is therefore
incumbent upon the opponents to overcome this legal presumption by proper evidence.
They have failed to do. There are many cases and authorities which we might cite to
show that the courts have repeatedly held that mere weakness of mind and body,
induced by age and disease do not render a person incapable of making a will. The law
does not require that a person shall continue in the full enjoyment and use of his
pristine physical and mental powers in order to execute a valid will. If such were the

G.R. No. L-6801

Testamentary Capacity

March 14, 1912

legal standard, few indeed would be the number of wills that could meet such exacting
requirements. The authorities, both medical and legal, are universal in statement that
the question of mental capacity is one of degree, and that there are many gradations
from the highest degree of mental soundness to the lowest conditions of diseased
mentality which are denominated as insanity and idiocy.
At the time of the execution of the will it does not appear that his conduct was
irrational in any particular. He seems to have comprehended clearly what the nature of
the business was in which he was engaged. The evidence show that the writing and
execution of the will occupied a period several hours and that the testator was present
during all this time, taking an active part in all the proceedings. Again, the will in the
case at bar is perfectly reasonable and its dispositions are those of a rational person.

G.R. No. L-24665

Testamentary Capacity

October 13, 1926

Estate of the deceased Isidra Abquilan. ATANASIO ABQUILAN, Petitioner-Appellant,


v. FELICIANA ABQUILAN, opponent-appellee.
Simeon Bitanga and Vicente Sotto for appellant.
R. Nolan and Feria and La O for appellee.
STREET, J.:
Facts:
On November 6, 1924, the date when the will purports to have been executed,
the supposed testatrix, Isidra Abquilan, was not in a condition such as to enable her to
have participated in the act, she being in fact at that time suffering from paralysis to
cerebral haemorrhage in such degree as completely to discapacitate1 her for intelligent
participation in the act of making a will. It appears that the deceased left no forced
heirs, and her only heirs, in case of intestacy, are her brother, Atanasio Abquilan, the
proponent of the will, and Feliciana Abquilan, a sister, who is the opponent.
Issue:
Whether or not the testator possesses testamentary capacity to make the will
valid.
Ruling:
No. On November 6, 1924, the date when the will purports to have been
executed, the supposed testatrix was not in a condition such as to enable her to have
participated in the act, she being in fact at that time suffering from paralysis to cerebral
haemorrhage in such degree as completely to discapacitate2 her for intelligent
participation in the act of making a will. A careful comparison of the name of the
testatrix as signed in two places to the Exhibit A, with many of her authentic signatures
leads to the conclusion that the signatures to the supposed will were made by some
other person. Furthermore, the combined testimony of Juan Serato and Alejandro
Genito completely demonstrate in our opinion that no will at all was made on
November 6, the date attributed to the questioned document, and that, instead an
attempt was made on the night of that day to fabricate another will, which failed of
completion because of the refusal of Alejandro Genito to be party to the making of a will
in which the testatrix took no part. The instrument before us was undoubtedly
fabricated later, probably on November 7, at a time when the condition of the deceased
was such as to make rational participation on her part in the act of making a will
impossible.

1
2

The case was decided in 1926, discapacitate is an archaic form of incapacitate.


Ibid.

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G.R. No. 4445

Testamentary Capacity

September 18, 1909

CATALINA BUGNAO v. FRANCISCO UBAG, ET AL


CARSON, J.:
FACTS:
The instrument was propounded by his widow, Catalina Bugnao, the sole
beneficiary thereunder, and probate was contested by the appellants, who are brothers
and sisters of the deceased, and who would be entitled to share in the distribution of his
estate, if probate were denied, as it appears that the deceased left no heirs in the direct
ascending or descending line.
Appellants contend that the evidence of record is not sufficient to establish the
execution of the alleged will in the manner and form prescribed in section 618 of the
Code of Civil Procedure; and that at the time when it is alleged that the will was
executed, Ubag was not of sound mind and memory, and was physically and mentally
incapable of making a will.
ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT THE WILL IS VALID.
RULING:
It is valid. While a number of a contradictions in the testimony of alleged
subscribing witnesses to will as to the circumstances under which it was executed, or a
single contradiction as to a particular incident to which the attention of such witnesses
must have been directed, may in certain cases justify the conclusion that the alleged
witnesses were not present, together, at the time when the alleged will was executed, a
mere lapse of memory on the part of these witnesses as to the precise details of an
unimportant incident ,to which his attention was not directed, does not necessarily put
in doubt the truth and veracity of the testimony in support of the execution of the will.
Testamentary capacity defined; proof of the existence of all the elements in the
following definition of testamentary capacity, which was frequently been adopted in the
U.S , held sufficient to establish the existence of such capacity in the absence of proof of
very exceptional circumstances: Testamentary capacity is the capacity to comprehend
the nature of the transaction in which the testator is engaged at that time, to recollect
the property to be disposed of and the persons who would naturally be supposed to have
claims upon the testator, and to comprehend the manner in which the instrument will
distribute his property among the objects of his bounty.

G.R. No. L-25966

Testamentary Capacity

November 1, 1926

In the matter of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez, deceased. MANUEL TORRES, special
administrator, and LUZ LOPEZ DE BUENO, heir, appellee,
v.
MARGARITA LOPEZ, opponent-appellant.
FACTS:
Tomas Rodriguez, had been judicially declared incapable of taking care of himself
and had been placed under the care of his cousin Vicente F. Lopez, as guardian. On
January 7, 1924, or only four days after the will above-mentioned was made, Vicente F.
Lopez died; and the testator, Tomas Rodriguez, died on February 25, 1924, thereafter.
At the time the will was made Vicente F. Lopez had not presented his final accounts as
guardian, and no such accounts had been presented by him at the time of his death.
Margariat Lopez was a cousin and nearest relative of the decedent.
Margarita Lopez, claims said half by the intestate succession as next of kin and
nearest heir; while the appellee, Luz Lopez de Bueno, claims the same by accredition
and in the character of universal heir the will of the decedent.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Vicente F. Lopez guardian of the decedent has capacity to inherit
from the will.
RULING:
The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative.
Article 753 of the Civil Code which in effect declares that, with certain exceptions
in favor of near relatives, no testamentary provision shall be valid when made by a ward
in favor of his guardian before the final accounts of the latter have been approved. The
provision made in the will of Tomas Rodriguez in favor of Vicente F. Lopez was not any
general incapacity on his part, but a special incapacity due to the accidental relation of
guardian and ward existing between the parties.
In addition, Article 982 of the Civil Code provides that accretion takes place in a
testamentary succession, first when the two or more persons are called to the same
inheritance or the same portion thereof without special designation of shares; and
secondly, when one of the persons so called dies before the testator or renounces the
inheritance or is disqualifying to receive it. The will executed calls Vicente F. Lopez and
his daughter, Luz Lopez de Bueno, to the same inheritance without special designation
of shares. One of the persons named as heir has predeceased the testator, this person
being also disqualified to receive the estate even if he had been alive at the time of the
testator's death. Therefore, its effect is to give to the survivor, Luz Lopez de Bueno, not
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G.R. No. L-25966

Testamentary Capacity

November 1, 1926

only the undivided half which she would have received in conjunction with her father if
he had been alive and qualified to take, but also the half which pertained to him. Luz
Lopez de Bueno entitled to the whole estate.
The Supreme Court made emphasis that between articles 912 and 983, the
former is the more general dealing with the general topic of intestate succession while
the latter is more specific, defining the particular conditions under which accretion takes
place. In case of conflict, the provisions of the former article must be considered limited
by the latter. Under paragraph 4 of article 912, intestate succession occurs when the
heir instituted is disqualified to succeed (incapaz de suceder), while, under the last
provision in paragraph 2 of article 982, accretion occurs when one of the persons called
to inherit under the will is disqualified to receive the inheritance (incapaz de recibirla). A
distinction is then drawn between incapacity to succeed and incapacity to take, and it is
contended that the disability of Vicente F. Lopez was such as to bring the case under
article 912 rather than 982. However, the disability to which Vicente F. Lopez was
subject was not a general disability to succeed but an accidental incapacity to receive
the legacy, a consideration which makes a case for accretion rather than for intestate
succession.

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G.R. No. 39033

Testamentary Capacity

November 13, 1933

Sancho vs Abella
FACTS:
The testatrix, Matea Abella, consulted Dr. Antonio Querol of San Fernando La
Union who diagnosed her to be suffering from dyspepsia and cancer of the stomach.
Thus, on or about April 26, 1932, Matea Abella ordered a sexton of the convent where
she stayed to call Attorney Teodoro R. Reinoso to whom she expressed her desire to
make a will. After the will had been drafted in Ilocano, the dialect of the testatrix,
Macario Calug read it to her and she approved it. When the will had been copied clean,
it was again read to the testatrix and she expressed her approval thereof. The opponent
claims that, inasmuch as the testatrix was 88 years of age when she made her will, she
was already suffering from senile debility and therefore her mental faculties were not
functioning normally anymore and that she was not fully aware of her acts. As an
indication of her senile debility, she attempted to prove that the testatrix had very poor
memory in connection with her properties and interest; that she could not go
downstairs without assistance, and that she could not recall her recent acts.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Matea Abella has testamentary capacity at the time she
allegedly executed the subject will.
HELD:
As to the mental sanity of the testatrix at the time of the execution of her will,
the court ruled that it is an undisputed fact the she left her home in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, on
April 13, 1932, in order to go to San Fernando, La Union, to consult Dr. Antonio
Querol of whose ability she had heard so much regarding her headaches and
stomach trouble, stopping at the convent of the parish church; the fact of her having
walked twice to the aforesaid doctor's clinic, accompanied by her niece, Filomena Inay;
the fact that she had personally furnished the aforesaid doctor with all the necessary
data regarding the history of her illness the fact of her having brought with her in her
trunk the deeds to her properties; the fact of her having called for Attorney Teodoro R.
Reinoso; the fact of her having personally furnished said attorney all the data she
wished to embody in her relative to her properties and the persons in whose favor she
wished to bequeath them; the fact of her not wishing to sign her will on the night of
April 28, 1932, but the following day, in order to be able to see it better, and the fact of
her having affixed her signature, in her own handwriting, to the original as well as to the
copies of her will which consisted of nine pages. All these data show that the testatrix
was not so physically weak, nor so blind, nor so deaf, nor so lacking in intelligence that
she could not, with full understanding thereof, dispose of her properties and make a
will. Neither senile debility, nor blindness, nor deafness, nor poor memory, is by itself
sufficient to incapacitate a person for making his will. Neither senile ability, nor
deafness, nor blindness, nor poor memory, is by itself sufficient to establish the
presumption that the person suffering therefrom is not in the full enjoyment of his
mental faculties, when there is sufficient evidence of his mental sanity at the time of the
execution of the will

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G.R. Nos. L-46430-31

Testamentary Capacity

July 30, 1979

FRANCISCA ALSUA-BETTS, JOSEPH O. BETTS, JOSE MADARETA, ESTEBAN P. RAMIREZ, and THE
REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR ALBAY PROVINCE, petitioners,
v.
COURT OF APPEALS, AMPARO ALSUA BUENVIAJE, FERNANDO BUENVIAJE, FERNANDO ALSUA,
represented by his guardian, CLOTILDE S. ALSUA and PABLO ALSUA, respondents.
GUERRERO, J.:

Facts:
On November 25, 1949, Don Jesus Alsua and his wife, Doa Florentina Rella,
both of Ligao, Albay, together with all their living children, Francisca Alsua-Betts, Pablo
Alsua, Fernando Alsua thru this judicial guardian Clotilde Samson, and Amparo Alsua de
Buenviaje, entered into a duly notarised agreement, Escritura de Particin Extrajudicial
over the then present and existing properties of the spouses Don Jesus and Doa
Florentina enumerated in a prepared inventory, the essential features of which are
stated in private respondents brief. The four children were allotted properties in
accordance to the said extra-judicial partition.
On January 5, 1955, Don Jesus and Doa Florentina, also known as Doa Tinay
separately executed their respective holographic wills, the provisions of which were in
conformity and in implementation of the extra-judicial partition of November 25, 1949.
On August 14, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus and Doa Tinay executed their
mutual and reciprocal codicils amending and supplementing their respective
holographic wins. The codicils similarly acknowledged and provided that one-half of all
the properties of the spouses, conjugal and paraphernal had been disposed of,
conveyed to and partitioned among their legitimate heirs in the "Escritura de Particin"
of November 25, 1949. Also on the same day of August 14, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus
and Doa Tinay both filed their respective supplemental petitions for the probate of
their respective codicils in the probate proceedings earlier filed. On February 19, 1957,
their respective holographic wins and the codicils thereto were duly admitted to
probate.
Upon the death of Doa Tinay on October 2, 1959, Don Jesus was named
executor to serve without bond in an order issued by the probate court on October 13,
1959. Letters testamentary having been issued in favour of Don Jesus, he took his oath
of office and performed his duties as such until July 1, 1960.
Thereafter in the early part of November, 1959, Don Jesus cancelled his
holographic will in the presence of his bookkeeper and secretary, whom he instructed to
make a list of all his remaining properties with their corresponding descriptions. His
lawyer was then instructed to draft a new will which was duly signed by Don Jesus and
his attesting witnesses on November 14, 1959 at his home in Ligao, Albay. This notarial
will and testament of Don Jesus executed on November 14, 1959 had three essential
features:
(a) It expressly cancelled, revoked and annulled all the provisions of Don Jesus' holographic will
of January 5, 1955 and his codicil of August 14, 1956;

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G.R. Nos. L-46430-31

Testamentary Capacity

July 30, 1979

(b) It provided for the collation of all his properties donated to his four living children by virtue of
the "Escritura de Particin Extra-judicial" of 1949, and that such properties be taken into
account in the partition of his estate among the children; and
(c) It instituted his children as legatees/devisees of certain specific properties, and as to the rest
of the properties and whatever may be subsequently acquired in the future, before his death,
were to be given to Francisca and Pablo, naming Francesca as executrix to serve without a
bond.

After all debts, funeral charges and other expenses of the estate of Doa Tinay
had been paid, all her heirs including Don Jesus, submitted to the probate court for
approval a deed of partition executed on December 19, 1959 and which essentially
confirmed the provisions of the partition of 1949, the holographic will and codicil of
Doa Tinay. On July 6, 1960, the court approved the partition of 1959 and on January 6,
1961 declared the termination of the proceedings on the estate of Doa Tinay.
On May 6, 1964, Don Jesus Alsua died.
On May 20, 1964, petitioner herein Francisca Alsua-Betts, as the executrix
named in the will of November 14, 1959, filed a petition for the probate of said new will
of Don Jesus Alsua before the Court of First Instance of Albay and was docketed as
Special Proceedings No. 699. Oppositions thereto were filed by Pablo, Amparo and
Fernando, thru his judicial guardian Clotilde Samson, on the following grounds:
(a) that Don Jesus was not of sound and disposing mind at the time of the execution of the
alleged will;
(b) that the will was executed under duress or influence of fear or threats; or it was procured by
undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the main beneficiaries and of
person or persons in collusion with them, or the signature of the testator was secured by or
thru fraud;
(c) that the will was not executed according to the formal requirements of the law; and
(d) that the alleged will subject of probate contravened the Extrajudicial Partition of 1949
agreed upon by him, his deceased spouse, Doa Tinay, and all his children, Francisco, Pablo,
Amparo and Fernando thru his judicial guardian Clotilde Samson, and also contravened Don
Jesus' own probated holographic will and codicil of 1955 and 1956, respectively, essentially
confirming and implementing the said partition of 1949 which had already been partially
executed by all the signatories thereto in the partition of the estate of Doa Tinay in
December, 1959.

The Court of First Instance of Albay promulgated a decision on January 15, 1973,
where it approved the November 14, 1959 will of Don Jesus Alsua and orders that the
same be made the basis for division and distribution of the estate of said testator.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court.
Issue:
Whether or not the Court of First Instance was correct in approving and allowing
the last will and testament of Don Jesus Alsua.
Held:
The Supreme Court held that the will fully complied with the formal requisites of
law wherein the testator signed the will in the proper place, three witnesses signed, and

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G.R. Nos. L-46430-31

Testamentary Capacity

July 30, 1979

the will was notarisedsigned and sealed. Also the will was nine pages long and in each
page, the testator and witnesses signed in every page.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Extra-judicial Partition is null and void Article
1056 and in relation to Article 1271 of the old Civil Code1. As such Don Jesus was not
bound by it. Also as provided in Article 828 of the New Civil Code2, a will may be
revoked anytime before the testators death, and can therefore make a new one.
The Civil Code itself provides that in order to make a will, it is essential that the
testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution3, and the law presumes that every
person is of sound mind in the absence of proof to the contrary4. In the case at bar, the
acceptance by the respondent court of the findings of fact of the trial court on the due
execution of the last win and testament of Don Jesus has foreclosed any and all claim to
the contrary that the will was not executed in accordance with the requirements of the
law. More than that, gleaned from the quoted portions of the appealed decision, the
described behaviour of Don Jesus is neither that of a mentally incapacitated person nor
one suffering from "senile dementia" as claimed by private respondents. From these
accepted facts, We find that: (a) it was Don Jesus himself who gave detailed instructions
to his lawyer as to how he wanted to divide his properties among his children by means
of a list of his properties should pertain; (b) the semi-final draft of the contested will
prepared by his lawyer was even corrected by Don Jesus; (c) on the day of the signing of
the will at his house in Ligao, "Don Jesus was in bright and lively spirits ..., leading in the
conversation which ran from problems of farming and the merits of French-made
wines"; (d) the signing of the will by Don Jesus and his attesting witnesses was made
after a statement from Don Jesus of the purpose of their meeting or gathering.
Clearly then, Don Jesus knew exactly what his actions were and the fun
implications thereof.

Art. 1056. If the testator should make a partition of his property by an act inter vivos, or by will, such partition shall stand in so far as it does not
prejudice the legitime of the forced heirs. ...
Art. 1271. All things, even future ones, which are not excluded from the commerce of man, may be the subject-matter of contracts.
Nevertheless, no contract may be entered into with respect to future inheritances, except those the object of which is to make a division inter vivos of
an estate, in accordance with Article 1056.
All services not contrary to law or to good morals may also be the subject- matter of contract.
2
3
4

A will may be revoked by the testator at any time before his death. Any waiver or restriction of this right is void.
Article 798
Article 800

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G.R. No. L-19910

Testamentary Capacity

May 31, 1971

IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF MARIE GARNIER GARREAU. LIRIO


PFANNENSCHMIDT RAMIREZ, petitioner-appellant,
v.
JOSE MA. RAMIREZ, oppositor-appellee.
Jose W. Diokno for petitioner-appellant. Sycip, Salazar, Luna & Associates for oppositorappellee.
Makalintal, J.:
Facts:
Maria Gamier Garreau, widow of Ramon Ramirez, was a native of Asnier Paris,
France, but a Filipino citizen residing in Madrid, Spain, where she died childless at the
age of 84 on January 11, 1959. The will in question was an "open" one, executed before
a notary public in Madrid on May 24, 1958, and instituting her niece Lirio (Lily)
Pfannenschmidt now appellant, as sole and universal heir. Lirio is one of the four
children of Jose Ramirez, brother of the testatrix husband Ramon, the other three being
Elsa, Esperanza and Horacio. Ramon had a half-brother, Jorge P. Ramirez, whose son,
Jose Maria Ramirez, now appellee, opposed the petition for probate filed by Urio on
February 20, 1959, alleging in his opposition, inter alia, that there was a prior will
executed by the testatrix in Manila in 1949. The photostat copy of that will, marked in
the record as Exhibit D and Exhibit 2-J, shows that the testatrix instituted her husband as
her universal 'heir, and in the event that he should predecease her (which he did),
named her niece Lily Ramirez and her nephews Horacio Ramirez and Jose Ma. Ramirez
as substitute heirs to all her properties in equal shares. This previous will, however, is
not involved in this case, and has been referred to by the parties only in relation to the
background circumstances concerning the execution of the "open" will in 1958.
Issue:
Whether or not the testator possesses testamentary capacity to make the will
valid.
Ruling:
No. The order of the trial court denying probate is based in no small part on a
number of letters written by the petitioner herself, in which she used quite strong terms
to describe the mental infirmity of the testatrix. Those letters were written by her in
1956 and 1957 to her uncle, Jose Eugenio Ramirez de la Cavada, another brother of the
testatrix husband, Ramon Ramirez. He arrived in Madrid in 1954 and his niece Lily who
was then residing there, came to him and said that she could not accept the fact that
Jose Maria Ramirez (herein oppositor-appellee) had been named as heir in the will of
her aunt, not being a member of the same family group. When he arrived in Madrid he
found his sister-in-law "ya una mujer muy incapacitada." But from his own observations,
Jose Eugenio Ramirez declared that his sister-in-law was even then mentally
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G.R. No. L-19910

Testamentary Capacity

May 31, 1971

incapacitated, citing by way of example her attitude and personal reaction when her
husband died in 1956. She was present at his death and saw his body just before he was
buried; but when she went to her room after the funeral and saw that his bed was no
longer there she came out crying asking where her husband was and saying that she was
going to look for him. She had totally forgotten that he had passed away. Apart from
that, she was easily susceptible to any suggestion from others, particularly those close
to her and after doing what she was told would promptly forget all about it. Another
deponent, Julio Escribano Langa, a resident of Madrid who had known the spouses
Ramon Ramirez and Maria Gamier Garreau for about nine years, testified to the same
mental condition of the testatrix: her susceptibility to another person's influence; her
lack of memory for recent events, her lack of understanding of, or volition for deciding,
certain matters such as the making of a last will.

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G.R. No. 76648

Testamentary Capacity

February 26, 1988

THE HEIRS OF THE LATE MATILDE MONTINOLA-SANSON v. COURT OF APPEALS and


EDUARDO F. HERNANDEZ
GANCAYCO, J.:
FACTS:
This case arose from a petition filed by private respondent Atty. Eduardo F.
Hernandez on April 22, 1981 with the Court of First Instance of Manila (now Regional
Trial Court) seeking the probate of the holographic will of the late Herminia Montinola
executed on January 28, 1980. The testatrix, who died single, parentless and childless on
March 29, 1981 at the age of 70 years, devised in this will several of her real properties
to specified persons.
On April 29, 1981, private respondent who was named executor in the will filed
an urgent motion for appointment of special administrator. With the conformity of all
the relatives and heirs of the testatrix except oppositor, the court in its order of May 5,
1981 appointed private respondent as Special Administrator of the testate estate of
deceased.
On June 29,1981, Matilde Montinola Sanson (petitioner), the only surviving sister
of the deceased but who was not named in the said win, filed her Opposition to Probate
of Will, alleging inter alia: that the subject will was not entirely written, dated and
signed by the testatrix herself and the same was falsely dated or antedated; that the
testatrix was not in full possession of her mental faculties to make testamentary
dispositions; that undue influence was exerted upon the person and mind of the
testatrix by the beneficiaries named in the win; and that the will failed to institute a
residual heir to the remainder of the estate.
ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL IN QUESTION WAS WHOLLY
WRITTEN, DATED AND SIGNED BY THE LATE HERMINIA MONTINOLA.
RULING:
In the alleged antedating of the will, petitioner failed to present competent
proof that the will was actually executed sometime in June 1980 when the testatrix was
already seriously ill and dying of terminal lung cancer. She relied only on the supposed
inconsistencies in the testimony of Asuncion Gemperle, niece and constant companion
of testatrix, which upon careful examination did not prove such claim of antedating.
The factual findings of the probate court and the Court of Appeals that the will in
question was executed according to the formalities required by law are conclusive on
the Supreme Court when supported by evidence.
We have examined the records of this case and find no error in the conclusion
arrived at by the respondent court that the contested will was duly executed in
accordance with law.
Article 842 of the Civil Code provides that one who has no compulsory heirs may
dispose by will of all his estate or any part of it in favour of any person having capacity
to succeed.
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G.R. No. 76648

Testamentary Capacity

February 26, 1988

It is within the right of the testatrix not to include her only sister who is not a
compulsory heir in her will.
Petitioner still insists that the fact that in her holographic will the testatrix failed
to dispose of all of her estate is an indication of the unsoundness of her mind.
We cannot subscribe to this contention. Art. 841 of the Civil Code provides
A will shall be valid even though it should not contain an institution of an
heir, or such institution should not comprise the entire estate, and even
though the person so instituted should not accept the inheritance or
should be incapacitated to succeed.
In such cases, the testamentary dispositions made in accordance with law
shall be complied with and the remainder of the estate shall pass to the
legal heirs.
Thus, the fact that in her holographic will, testatrix disposed of only eleven (11)
of her real properties does not invalidate the will, or is it an indication that the testatrix
was of unsound mind. The portion of the estate undisposed of shall pass on to the heirs
of the deceased in intestate succession.
Neither is undue influence present just because blood relatives, other than
compulsory heirs have been omitted, for while blood ties are strong in the Philippines, it
is the testator's right to disregard non-compulsory heirs.

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