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Pacioles, Jr. vs. Chuatoco-Ching [G.R. No. 127920.

August 9, 2005] o There should be a hearing to determine the issue – W/N the
TOPIC: Distribution and closure of estate properties are entirely conjugal or paraphernal properties of
Miguelita or a co-ownership between the oppositor and the
FACTS: petitioner in their partnership venture.
 Miguelita died intestate. She was survived by her husband, petitioner  Petitioner filed before CA a Petition for Certiorari. – This was denied.
Pacioles, Jr. and two minor children.
 He filed a verified petition for the settlement of her estate before RTC. He ISSUE: May a trial court, acting as an intestate court, hear and pass upon questions
prayed that (a) letters of administration be issued in his name, and (b) that of ownership involving properties claimed to be part of the decedent’s estate?
the net residue of the estate be divided among the compulsory heirs.
 Respondent Miguela, who is the mother of Miguelita, filed an opposition on GR: The jurisdiction of the trial court either as an intestate or a probate court relates
the grounds that (a) petitioner is incompetent and unfit to exercise the only to matters having to do with the settlement of the estate and probate of will of
duties of an administrator; and (b) the bulk of Miguelita’s estate is deceased persons but does not extend to the determination of questions of
composed of “paraphernal properties.” Respondent prayed that the letters ownership that arise during the proceedings.
of administration be issued to her instead. Afterwards, she also filed a
motion for her appointment as special administratrix. XPN: When its purpose is to determine whether or not a property should be
 Petitioner moved to strike out respondent’s opposition, alleging that the included in the inventory. The adjudication is merely incidental and provisional.
latter has no direct and material interest in the estate, she not being a
compulsory heir, and that he, being the surviving spouse, has the  Pastor, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals --- “As a rule, the question of ownership is an
preferential right to be appointed as administrator under the law. extraneous matter which the probate court cannot resolve with finality.
 Respondent countered that she has direct and material interest in the estate Thus, for the purpose of determining whether a certain property should or
because she gave half of her inherited properties to Miguelita on condition should not be included in the inventory of estate properties, the probate
that both of them “would undertake whatever business endeavor they court may pass upon the title thereto, but such determination is
decided to, in the capacity of business partners.” provisional, not conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate
o In her omnibus motion, she nominated her son, Emmanuel Ching, action to resolve title.”
to act as special administrator. o The Court of Appeals relied heavily on the above principle in
 Intestate court ruled for joint administration between petitioner and sustaining the jurisdiction of the intestate court to conduct a
Emmanuel. Both were issued letters of administration after taking their oath hearing on respondent’s claim. Such reliance is misplaced. Under
and paying the docket fees. Notice to creditors was published. the said principle, the key consideration is that the purpose of the
 Petitioner submitted to the intestate court an inventory of Miguelita’s intestate or probate court in hearing and passing upon questions
estate. Emanuel did not submit an inventory. of ownership is merely to determine whether or not a property
 Intestate court declared petitioner and his two minor children as the only should be included in the inventory.
compulsory heirs of Miguelita.  The facts of this case show that such was not the purpose of the intestate
 Petitioner filed before intestate court an omnibus motion including, among court.
others, a partition and distribution of the estate among the declared heirs. o First - The inventory was not disputed. Respondent could have
o Respondent opposed on the ground that partition and distribution opposed petitioner’s inventory and sought the exclusion of the
is premature considering that there is yet no determination specific properties which she believed or considered to be hers.
“whether the properties specified in the inventory are conjugal, BUT instead of doing so, she expressly adopted the inventory,
paraphernal or owned in a joint venture.” taking exception only to the low valuation placed on the real estate
o Respondent contends that she owns bulk of Miguelita’s estate as properties.
an heir and co-owner. o Second - Emmanuel did not file an inventory. He could have
 Intestate court ruled in favor of respondent – It denied the action for submitted an inventory, excluding therefrom those properties
partition and distribution of estate. which respondent considered to be hers. The fact that he did not
endeavor to submit one shows that he acquiesced with petitioner’s
inventory.
o Obviously, respondent’s purpose here was not to obtain from the
intestate court a ruling of what properties should or should not be
included in the inventory. She wanted something else, i.e., to
secure from the intestate court a final determination of her claim
of ownership over properties comprising the bulk of Miguelita’s
estate.
 Clearly, the RTC, acting as an intestate court, had overstepped its
jurisdiction. Its proper course should have been to maintain a hands-off
stance on the matter. It is well- settled in this jurisdiction, sanctioned and
reiterated in a long line of decisions, that when a question arises as to
ownership of property alleged to be a part of the estate of the deceased
person, but claimed by some other person to be his property, not by virtue
of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by title adverse to that of
the deceased and his estate, such question cannot be determined in the
course of an intestate or probate proceedings.
o The intestate or probate court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate
such contentions, which must be submitted to the court in the
exercise of its general jurisdiction as a regional trial court.
 Jurisprudence states that: probate court or one in charge of proceedings
whether testate or intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to
properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which are claimed to
belong to outside parties. All that the said court could do as regards said
properties is to determine whether they should or should not be included in
the inventory or list of properties to be administered by the administrator.
If there is no dispute, well and good, but if there is, then the parties, the
administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action
for a final determination of the conflicting claims of title because the
probate court cannot do so.
 Hence, respondent’s recourse is to file a separate action with a court of
general jurisdiction. The intestate court is not the appropriate forum for the
resolution of her adverse claim of ownership over properties ostensibly
belonging to Miguelita's estate.