Art. 788.

If the testamentary disposition admits of different interpretations, in case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative shall be preferred. (n) The underlying principles here is that testacy is preferred over intestacy. Why? The testamentary act is the express will of the decedent whereas in intestacy, there is only an implied will provided by law. “That the thing may rather be effective than be without effect.” A translation made in accordance with the idiomatic usage of the language from which it is made will prevail over a literal translation which, while word for word correct, is not idiomatic. The will must be given effect. (Dionisio v Dionisio) Art. 789. When there is an imperfect description, or when no person or property exactly answers the description, mistakes and omissions must be corrected, if the error appears from the context of the will or form extrinsic evidence, excluding oral declarations of the testator as to his intention; and when an uncertainty arises upon the face of the will, as to the application of any of its provisions, the testator’s intention is to be ascertained from the words of the will, taking into consideration the circumstances under which it was made, excluding such oral declarations. Two kinds of ambiguity: 1) Latent – not obvious on the face of the will. “When there is an imperfect description, or when no person (latent as to person) or property (latent as to property) exactly answers the description.” 2) Patent – Obvious on the face of the will. “When uncertainty arises upon the face of the of the will to the application of its provisions.” It may be patent as to person or patent as to property. The ambiguity should as far as practicable be cleared up or resolved so as to give effect to the testamentary disposition. Method for resolving ambiguity: any evidence is admissible and relevant, excluding in either case oral declarations of the testator as to his intention. Art. 790. The words of a will are to be taken in their ordinary and grammatical sense, unless a clear intention to use them in another sense can be gathered, and that other can be ascertained. Technical words in a will are to be taken in their technical sense, unless the context clearly indicates a contrary intention, or unless it satisfactorily appears that he was unacquainted with such technical sense. (675a) Same as the rules laid down in Rule 130, sections 10 and 14 of the Rules of Court. It is also similar to the rule provided in Art. 1370: “If the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control.” Art. 791. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy. (n) Sam as the rule in contracts, and that found in Rule 130, section 11 of the Rules of Court.

as if the testator had possessed it at the time of making the will. 795.” Such a conflict is irreconcilable. (n) Aspects of validity of wills: 1) Extrinsic – requirements of form (formal validity) Governing law as to time: Filipinos – the law in force at the time the will was executed Foreigners –same. But. if the thing bequeathed. But. Exception: It clearly appears in the will that the testator wishes to give a less or greater interest. Every devise or legacy shall cover all the interest which the testator could device or bequeath in the property disposed of. if the testator erroneously believed that the thing pertained to him. 794. (n) This Article poses a problem: it speaks of the time when the will is made rather than the time of the decedents death. though not belonging to the testator when he made the will. This provision was taken from the Code of Civil procedure. (n) This article makes applicable to wills the severability or separability principle in statutory construction frequently expressly provided in a separability clause. for after all.” Art. and referred only to relatives of the decedent who succeeded by intestacy. Or reform the law to read “Property acquired after the making of a will passes thereby unless the contrary clearly appears from the words or the context of the will. these were the testamentary dispositions contemplated by the Code of Civil Procedure. which as provided in a previous article. 930 which provides “the legacy or devise of a thing belonging to another person is void. and those taking property in a will were called legatees and devisees. Governing law as to place: . afterwards becomes his. Art. unless it clearly appears from the will that he intended to convey a less interest. from which this article was taken. nor did it contemplate the concept of an “inheritance”. which did not provide for institution of an heir in a will. Solution of Balane: The article be liberally construed. this provision never contemplated the concept of an heir. Thus. such an interpretation will still conflict with Art. but provided the will is probated here. unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made.Art. 793. The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is made. by whatever title. the disposition shall take effect. should it expressly appear by the will that such was his intention. is the time when succession is vested. Art. 792. Solution of Tolentino: Construe the present article as referring only to devisees and legatees. The invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions. Property acquired after the making of a will shall only pass thereby. (n) General Rule: In a legacy or devise the testator gives exactly the interest he has in the thing.

. A will executed prior to the enactment of law providing additional formalities. and the death of the testator occurred after the enactment of the subsequent law. residence. From the death of the testator. such must be resolved against retrospective application. the legacy or bequest then becomes a completed act.Filipinos – laws of citizenship. All persons who are not expressly prohibited by law may make a will. The general rule is that the legislature cannot validate void wills. Foreigners – same 2) Intrinsic– Substance of the provisions (substantive validity) Governing law as to time: Filipinos – law as of the time of death Foreigners – depends on their personal law. In case of doubt. Disqualifications: Only natural persons may make a will. This is so because although the will operates upon and after the disposition of his estate among his heirs and among the legatees is given solemn expression at the time the will is executed. Laws are to be applied prospectively unless a contrary intention was expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language of the law. or those under 18 years of age may not make will. but in accordance with the law then existing at the time of its execution. place of execution of Philippine law. which would invalidate such will. Minors. (In re will of Riosa) The validity of a will as to form is to be judged not by the law in force at the time of the testator’s death or at the time the supposed will is presented in court for probate or when the petition is decided by the Court at the time the instrument is executed. (years are to be computed under the Gregorian calendar. which is also true for wills. Governing law as to place: Filipinos – Philippine law Foreigners – their national law The validity of the execution of a will must be tested by the statutes in force at the time of its execution and that statutes subsequently enacted have no retrospective effect.Testamentary Capacity and Intent Art. and no subsequent law with more liberal requirements or which dispenses with such requirements as to execution should be allowed to validate a defective will and thereby divest the heirs of their vested rights in the estate by intestate succession. When one executes a will which is invalid for failure to observe and follow the legal requirements at the time of its execution then upon his death he should be regarded and declared as having died intestate. shall not invalidate a will. the title of the legatees and devisees under it become a vested right. and in reality. (662) Testamentary capacity – The legal capacity to make a will. if he leaves a will. and his heirs will then inherit by intestate succession. protected under the due process clause against subsequent change in the statute adding new legal requirements of execution of wills. The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is made. 796. (Enriquez v Abadia) SUBSECTION 2. Juridical persons are not allowed to make wills. with one year have 12 calendar months) . domicile.

Those of unsound mind are also not permitted to make wills. if they so desire. or that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties. 798. The testator could be mentally aberrant medically. Persons of either sex under eighteen years of age cannot make a will. 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. In case of conflict in the testimony of the witnesses and the findings of the court as to the soundness of mind of the testator. injury or other causes. (n) Art. or vice versa. unimpaired or unshattered by disease. (n) Soundness of mind: defined both positively and negatively Negatively: 1) Not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties. In order to make a will it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution. unimpaired and unshattered by disease or otherwise. Failure of memory is not sufficient unless it be total or extands to his immediate family or property. The actual seeing of the signature by the witnesses is not necessary. the proper objects of his bounty. under ordinary circumstances. and to refuse its probate. (n) The time for determining mental capacity is at the time of the execution of the will. without sufficient evidence to the contrary. the name having been written by others. Positively: He must be able to know: 1) The nature of the estate to be disposed of – fairly accurate knowledge of what he owns 2) The proper objects of his bounty – know. To constitute a sound mind and disposing memory. there is no reason to assume that the testator was of unsound mind at the time of the execution of the will. his knowledge expectedly deceasing as the degrees become more remote. it is not necessary that the mind shall be wholly unbroken. unimpaired. and the character of the testamentary act. but retained the use of his right hand by which he could write and communicate. his hearing was impaired. If testator suffered paralysis of the left side of his body. Art. there is a presumption or mental soundness which must be overcome by competent proof. Art. or unshattered by disease. To be of sound mind. he is legally presumed to be of a sound mind and disposing memory. and fell to one side with saliva dripping from one side of his mouth. and 2) Not necessary that the testator’s mind be wholly unbroken. but testamentary capable. his relatives in the most proximate degrees. it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties. injury or other cause. Where a testator has never been adjudged insane by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Bagtas v Pagio) One who makes a will may sign the same by the use of a mark. It is sufficient is the signature are made where it is possible for each of the necessary parties. 799. and no other temporal criterion is to be imposed. or that his mind be wholly unbroken. (Yap Tua v Cu Kuan and Yap Ca Llu) . to see the signature placed upon the will. 797. 3) The character of the testamentary act – He need only know that the document he is executing is one that disposes of his property upon his death.

one month. (n) This provision seems to suggest that a married man may not make a will without his wife’s consent. nor the presence of the parish priest. (Sancho v Abella) Where the family physician attended the testatrix during her last illness and saw her on the day when the alleged document of revocation was executed. Supervening incapacity does not invalidate an effective will. A married woman may make a will without the consent of her husband. suffering from defective eyesight and hearing. Art. and without the authority of the court. 801. while she is stopping in a convent within the diocese.” Art. one month or less. 803. constitutes undue influence sufficient to justify annulment of a legacy in favor of a bishop of a diocese. nor a priest acting as a witness. the person who maintains the validity of the will must prove that the testator made it during a lucid interval. 97 of the Family Code: “Either spouse may dispose by will of his or her interest in the community property. made in her will by a testatrix 88 years of age. cannot prevail over the contrary testimony of the attending physician. but if the testator. the testimony of the attesting witnesses tending to imply that the testatrix was sound mind at the time of the execution of the said document. before the execution of the will was publicly known to be insane. 800. 802. 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. Neither the fact being given accommodations in a convent. (n) Art. But such is rebuttable. before making his will was publicly known to be insane. and before the said order is lifted. 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. (n) Presumption: The general rule is that a person is sane.Neither senile debility. nor deafness nor blindness. or less. 2) When the testator executed the will after being placed under guardianship or ordered committed for sanity. in the absence of proof to the contrary. when there is sufficient evidence of his mental sanity at the time of the execution of the will. A married woman may dispose by will of all her separate property as well as her share of the conjugal partnership or absolute community property. (n) Art. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind. (Gonzales v Gonzales de Carungcong) Art. Instances of rebuttable presumption of sanity: 1) When the testator. nor is the will of an incapable validated by the supervening of capacity. Suggestion: “A married person may make a will without the spouses consent. most especially if he saw her at the time of the execution of the said document.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful