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Testate Estate of the late Reverend Father Pascual Rigor, The Parish Priest, G.R. No. L-22036, April 30, 1979.

[AQUINO, J.]

FACTS

Father Rigor died leaving a will naming as devisees the testator’s three sisters. The will also contained a bequest to be given to the nearest male relative who shall pursue an ecclesiastical career until his ordination as priest. Inasmuch as no nephew of the testator claimed the devise and as the administratrix and the legal heirs believed that the parish priest of Victoria had no right to administer the ricelands, the same were not delivered to that ecclesiastic.

ISSUE

Whether the testator’s nearest male relative who took the priesthood after the testator’s death falls within the intention of the testator in providing to whom the bequest is to be given.

RULING

NO. The Court held that the said bequest refers to the testator’s nearest male relative living at the time of his death and not to any indefinite time thereafter. “In order to be capacitated to inherit, the heir, devisee or legatee must be living at the moment the succession opens, except in case of representation, when it is proper” (Art. 1025, Civil Code).Inasmuch as the testator was not survived by any nephew who became a priest, the unavoidable conclusion is that the bequest in question was ineffectual or inoperative. Therefore, the administration of the rice lands by the parish priest of Victoria, as envisaged in the will was likewise inoperative.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Cayetano v. Leonidas, G.R. No. L-54919, May 30, 1984.

[GUTIERREZ, JR., J.]

FACTS

The testatrix was an American citizen at the time of her death and was a permanent resident of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; that the testatrix died in Manila while temporarily residing with her sister; that during her lifetime, the testatrix made her last will and testament according to the laws of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; that after the testatrix death, her last will and testament was presented, probated, allowed, and registered with the Registry of Wills at the County of Philadelphia, U.S.A. An opposition to the reprobate of the will was filed by herein petitioner alleging among other things that the intrinsic provisions of the will are null and void. The petitioner maintains that since the respondent judge allowed the reprobate of Adoracion’s will, Hermogenes C. Campos was divested of his legitime which was reserved by the law for him.

ISSUES

[1]Whether or not the Philippine law will apply to determine the intrinsic validity of a will executed by an undisputed foreigner.

[2] Whether or not Philippine law will apply to determine the capacity to succeed of Adoracion’s heirs.

RULING

[1] NO. It is a settled rule that as regards the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will, as provided for by Article 16(2) and 1039 of the Civil Code, the national law of the decedent must apply. This was squarely applied in the case of Bellis v. Bellis (20 SCRA 358).“It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent’s national law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.”

[2] NO. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent. (Article 1039, Civil Code) The law which governs Adoracion Campo’s will is the law of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., which is the national law of the decedent. Although the parties admit that the Pennsylvania law does not provide for legitimes and that all the estate may be given away by the testatrix to a complete stranger, the petitioner argues that such law should not apply because it would be contrary to the sound and established public policy and would run counter to the specific provisions of Philippine Law.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Bellis v. Bellis, G.R. No. 23678, June 6, 1967.

[BENGZON, J.P., J.]

FACTS

Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas of the United States. He executed a will in the Philippines, disposing a part of his estate in favor of his illegitimate children, before he died a resident of San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will was probated in the CFI of Manila.

ISSUE

Which law must apply to the dispositions in the will, the Texas Law or Philippine law?

RULING

It is the Texas Law. Texas Law should govern the execution of the will and the successional rights of the illegitimate children. As stated in Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, it renders applicable the national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard the amount of successional rights, among others. Here, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. The Doctrine of Renvoi was discussed but not applied in this case. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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In the Matter of the Testate Estate of Edward E. Christiansen, 61 O.G. #46, p.7302.

[LABRADOR, J.]

FACTS

Edward Christensen was born in New York but migrated to California where he resided. Later, the Philippines became his domicile until the time of his death. In his will, he acknowledged Maria Lucy Christensen as his only heir but left a legacy of sum of money to Maria Helen Christensen. Helen posits that California law is clear that the matter is referred back to the law of the domicile and therefore Philippine Law is applicable. Lucy contends that the national law of the deceased must apply hence Helen is not compulsory heir and so Edward could freely dispose his property.

 

ISSUE

Which is the relevant law insofar as the amount of successional rights of Helen and Lucy are concerned?

RULING

It is ultimately the Philippine Law. The California law has two rules on the matter. The internal law which should apply to Californians domiciled in California and the conflicts rule which should apply to Californians domiciled outside of California. Edward being domiciled outside California (in the Philippines) follows that the law of his domicile. The validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, Helen, should be governed by the Philippine law in determining the successional rights of Helen.

 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Testate Estate of the late Bernabe Rodriguez, G.R. No. 1627-R, July 1, 1948.

FACTS

Petitioner Araniego, widow of the deceased, filed a petition for probate of the latter’s will before the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Respondents opposed the petition. They contended that since the deceased named Araniego as his universal heir and the latter having likewise named the deceased as her universal heir, making them reciprocal beneficiaries of each other, both testators violated the prohibition on joint wills under the Civil Code, and the probate must be denied.

 

ISSUE

Whether the wills executed by testators reciprocally making the other as beneficiary is a joint will prohibited by law.

 

RULING

NO. Article 669 of the old Civil Code (Art. 818 of the new Civil Code) prohibits the making of a will jointly by two or more persons either for their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person. In other words, it is making such will conjointly or in the same document that is prohibited. Here, the two testators, who were husband and wife, instructed the other as universal heir in their respective wills, said wills are not conjoint because they are made in different instruments. Hence, there is no joint will to speak of and the prohibition in the Civil Code is inapplicable.

 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Dela Cerna v. Potot, G.R. No. L-20234, December 23, 1964.

[REYES, J.B.L., J.]

FACTS

A joint will was executed by Bernabe dela Cerna and Gervasia Rebaca. Bernabe dela Cerna died on August 30, 1939, and the aforesaid will was probated on October 31, 1939. Upon the death of Gervasia Rebaca on October 14, 1952, another petition for the probate of the same will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed on November 6, 1952. The second probate was denied because the will was allegedly executed contrary to the prohibition of joint wills.

 

ISSUE

Whether a joint will may be denied subsequent probate after it was admitted in prior probate proceedings.

 

RULING

NO. It is true the law (Art. 669, old Civil Code; Art. 818, new Civil Code) prohibits the making of a will jointly by two or more persons either for their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person. However, as in the present case, the joint last will and testament has been admitted to probate by final order of a Court of competent jurisdiction, so that there seems to be no alternative except to give effect to the provisions thereof that are not contrary to law. It follows that the validity of the joint will, in so far as the estate of Gervasia was concerned, must be, on her death, reexamined and adjudicated de novo, since a joint will is considered a separate will of each testator.

 

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Probate of Will of the late William R. Giberson, G.R. No. L-4113, June 30, 1952.

[PABLO, J.]

FACTS

Lela G. Dalton presented on February 10, 1949 an application with the Court of First Instance of Cebu for the probate of the holographic will of William R. Giberson, a citizen of the State of Illinois, United States, dated April 29, 1920 in San Francisco, California. Spring Giberson, legitimate son of William R. Giberson, presented an opposition alleging that the will is apocrypha (with questionable authenticity), it does not represent the true will of the late Giberson, and has not been granted according to the law.

 

ISSUE

Whether the wills executed outside the Philippines may be probated without being first probated in the country of its execution.

 

RULING

YES.  Section 635 of the Code of Civil Procedure stating that “a will made out of the Philippine Islands… may be proved, allowed, and recorded in the Philippine Islands, and shall have the same effect as if executed according to the laws of these Islands” is still in force and has not been abrogated by Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. Here, the will of William Giberson need not be probated first in the State of Illinois, USA before it may be probated here in the Philippines. The Court opined that Section 635 of the Code of Civil Procedure is substantive in nature and therefore could not have been repealed by the Rules of Court which are only procedural in nature.

 

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