Succession Planning- Step By Step GuideFull description
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Basic Principles of Succession up to Capacity and Intent
Succession and Property
Compiled cases for succession. Full text
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I. GENERAL PROVISIONS A. Definition and Concept Applicable laws, Effectivity 1. Civil Code of the Philippines: August 30, 1950 2. Family Code: August 3, 1988 Prior to the New Civil Code: the Old Civil Code (the Spanish Code of 1889) was in effect Succession in General By succession, the transmissible property, rights and obligations of a person pass, upon his death, to his heirs and other successor’s mortis causa. The Corpse in Succession Succession refers only to the inheritance or universality of the property of the deceased transmitted to his successor’s mortis causa. It has no reference to the corps which cannot be considered as part of the inheritance, inasmuch as it is not property. Related Matters 1. Disposition of the corpse (Articles 305 to 310, NCC) 2. Validity of authorization given by a person to the parts of his corps for medical, surgical, and scientific purposes (RA 349, as amended by RA 1056) 3. Surviving Spouse given priority over the next of kin (i.e. actual order in which relatives are obliged to support the deceased) as to the duty and right to make funeral arrangements. Article 744, NCC: Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, or a person are transmitted through his death to another or others, either by his will or by operation of law.
Two concepts of succession 1. The transmission of the property, rights and obligations of a person 2. The universality or entirety of the property, rights and obligations transmitted by any of the forms of succession admitted in law. First concept more accurate a. Article 772: succession is a mode of acquiring ownership b. Etymological meaning of succession: to substitute, to subrogate, or to put one person in place of another. Succession defined (Tolentino) • The mode of acquiring ownership, by virtue of which the inheritance of a person is transmitted to us, either according to his express will and words, or if by some natural or accidental circumstances he has made no will, according to his presumed will provided by law as analogous to what he would made had he executed one. • A mode of acquisition, by virtue of which one succeeds to the universality of the transmissible rights, active and passive, of a person who has died. Succession and inheritance distinguished Succession refers to the legal mode by which this inheritance is transmitted to the persons entitled to it surviving the deceased.
Inheritance refers to the objective element of succession, to the mass or totality of the patrimony of a deceased person.
Article 712, NCC: “Ownership is acquired by occupation and by intellectual
creation. “Ownership and other real rights over property are acquired and transmitted by law, by donation, by testate and intestate succession, and in consequence of certain contracts, by tradition”. “They may also be acquired by means of prescription.” Mode and Title distinguished Mode of acquiring ownership and other Title for acquiring ownership and other 1
real rights is the specific cause which gives rise to them, as the result of the presence of a special condition of things, of the aptitude and intent of persons, and of compliance with the conditions established by law. Mode the proximate cause, of the acquisition.
real rights is the juridical act which gives the name to the acquisition of the real right, but which in itself is insufficient to produce it. Title is the remote cause
The civil code is illogical and scientific, neither daring to abandon the theory of title and mode (the traditional Roman law distinction. In following the Spanish Code), nor adapting itself to modern trends (German, Swiss and Austrian Codes). The Different Modes of Acquiring Ownership 1. Occupation 2. intellectual Creation 3. Law 4. Donation 5. Succession (Testate and Intestate) 6. Tradition (in consequence of certain contracts) 7. Prescription Article 1311, NCC: “Contracts take effect only between the parties, their assigns and heirs, except in case where the rights and obligations arising from the contract are not transmissible by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law. The heir is not liable beyond the value of the property he received from the decedent.
“if a contract should contain some stipulation in favor of a third person, he may demand its fulfillment provided he communicated his acceptance to the obligor before its revocation. A mere incidental benefit or interest of a person is not sufficient. The contracting parties must have clearly and deliberately conferred a favor upon a third person.” Contracts bind heirs 1. As a general rule, rights and obligations under a contract are transmitted to the heirs of the parties. The heirs are not considered as third parties, because there is privity of interest between them and their predecessor. 2. Transmissible contracts a. A lease contract is transmissible to the heirs of the lessee b. The heirs of a party in whose favor a trust exists, may enforce the trust against the trustee c. The heirs of a person bound to reconvey a piece of property may be compelled to make the reconveyance. d. Obligations, except money debts, are transmissible to the heirs of the parties, and they may be compelled to fulfill the same. The heirs of the parties to a contract may make a valid novation of said contract. 3. Intransmissible contracts a. Purely personal i. By provision of law ii. By the very nature of the obligations arising therefrom (such as those requiring special personal qualifications of the obligor) b. Money debts (which merely constitute as a charge against his estate) Basis of Law of Succession The law of succession is based partly on the law of family relations, and partly on the law of property. Sanchez Roman: “Succession aims to make possible and effective the orderly enjoyment by the human species of the essential elements of physical life, giving a note of subsistence and perpetuity of the patrimony which cannot be maintained without the transmissibility of the property constituting it.” Law on Family Relations
1. Donat: “God has united us to the family to which we are born; family ties create rights and obligations, and the successional right is nothing more than a right founded upon a duty.” 2. Laurent: “Succession springs from natural law. The individual, during life, seeks to accumulate wealth in order to perform his duty of service and assistance to the members of his family. The knowledge that, upon death, the products of his effort and work will be enjoyed by those who are the natural objects of his affection within the family furnishes the greatest incentives to his initiative, industry, and thrift.
Law of Property 1. Navarro Amandi: “Succession is but a corollary to the right of property; without it, the right of ownership would be an imperfect thing.” 2. Sanchez Roman: Characteristics of Production of Wealth a. Individuality: prevent stagnation of wealth b. Inequality: A product of the independence and freedom of human activities, through labor and the peculiar qualities of each one c. Transmissibility: A salient feature of the right of property, which is incomplete without the right to transmit the same. The Code Commission followed the prevailing tendency towards a new concept of legal order, which pursues the socialization of ownership, not in the sense of “socialism” but in the sense of effectivity adapting property to the needs of society. In retrospect, the Old Civil Code was drafted when the prevailing philosophy was that of extreme individualism in the law of property and of succession. Means employed by the Code to attain the stability of the social order 1. The Purification of the system of private ownership of its abuses (e.g. prohibitions in donations inter vivos) 2. The Closing of those channels upon which wealth has flowed in torrents from generation to generation of a particular family (e.g. limited fideicommissary substitutions in Article 863, and the increased free portion when children and descendants survive in Article 888) 3. The Emancipation of innocent persons from bondage of undue conservation which has denied them the rights to share in the estate of their parents (e.g. illegitimate children) 4. The Elimination of distant relatives who may succeed to property to the accumulation of which they have not contributed anything (e.g. right to succeed without a will within the 5th degree and no longer the 6th degree) 5. The Staying of the dead hand to prevent it from meddling with the affairs of the living (e.g. elimination of the substitutions known as pupilar and ejemplar) Fundamental Changes in the NCC 1. Greater freedom is given to the testator in the choice of the form for his will or testament (i.e. Execution of holographic will has been permitted without witnesses or attestations) 2. Greater facility in the probate of wills is provided or the introduction of the system of probate during the lifetime of the testator (i.e. Probate can only be effected after the death of the testator in the prior legislation) anti mortem probate 3. The surviving spouse is given a better position in the law of succession (e.g. legitime changed from usufruct to full ownership; higher degree in the order of succession in intestate succession) 4. In the legitime of legitimate children and descendants (the mejora or betterment) has been abolished 5. The reservas and reversions (except reserve ironcal, which was reincorporated by Congress) has been abolished B. Subjects of Succession
1. Who are the subjects? Article 775, NCC Decedents and Testators 1. Decedent: a person whose property is transmitted through succession (generally speaking, as he/she may or may not have left a will) 2. Testator: a decedent who left a will 3
Article 782, NCC Concept of Heir (General) Anyone who succeeds to the whole or to a portion or fraction of the inheritance (understood as the indeterminate mass or totality of the transmissible property, rights, and obligations of the deceased), whether by virtue of a will or by intestacy. 1. includes all relatives who succeed by virtue of the laws of intestate succession 2. includes all persons, whether relatives or not, who take what might be called the residuary estate under a will Kinds of Heirs 1. Compulsory heirs a. Those who succeed by force of law to some portion of the inheritance, in an amount predetermined by law, of which they cannot be deprived by the testator, except by a valid disinheritance. b. Succeeds regardless of the will of the decedent 2. Voluntary or testamentary heirs (free portion) a. Those who are instituted by the testator in his will, to succeed to the inheritance or the portion thereof of which the testator can freely dispose; their right to the succession depends entirely upon the will b. Succeeds by reason of a will 3. Legal or Intestate heirs a. Those who succeed to the estate of the decedent who dies without a valid will, or to the portion of such estate not disposed of by will b. Succeeds in the absence of a will Legatees and Devisees 1. Legatees: one who is given a gift of personal property by will 2. Devisee: one to whom real property is one to whom real property is given by will There are devisee(s) and/or legatee(s) only in testamentary succession The devisee or legatee, by express disposition of the testator, succeeds him in a determinate or individualized thing or quantity, without continuing his personality Importance of the difference between heir(s) and legatee(s) Although the difference between “heir” and “legatee” (or devisee), which is transcendental in the Spanish law, has lost much of its importance in Philippine jurisdiction it does not mean that the distinction has been entirely abolished so as to render the provisions of the Code regarding institution of heirs useless or superfluous. Article 887, NCC Compulsory and Intestate heirs distinguished COMPULSORY HEIRS INTESTATE HEIRS Called to succession by operation Called to succession by of law operation of law Succeeds to his legitime even Succeeds only when the when the testator has so deceased has not disposed of disposed of his property by will his property by will * an heir of whatever classification is absolutely free to accept or renounce the inheritance Law on Legitime explained • the law on legitime is a restriction, not on the freedom to the heir to accept or repudiate the inheritance, but on the freedom of the testator to dispose of his property • the fact of being a compulsory heir imposes no obligation to accept or receive the legitime Kinds of Compulsory Heirs 1. Primary a. Those who have precedence over and exclude the other compulsory heirs b. Legitimate children and descendants (legitimate, legitimated, adopted) 2. Secondary a. Those who succeed only in the absence of primary heirs b. The legitimate parents and ascendants 3. Concurring a. Those who succeed together with the primary or the secondary heirs b. The illegitimate children, and the surviving spouse Primary Compulsory Heirs 4
1. Legitimate Children and Descendants a. Rationale: Since the law on legitime flows from natural law, it follows that relatives in the direct line should receive preference in the succession; and since in the ordinary course of nature, the father or mother should die ahead of the child, the law confers preferential legitimary rights upon the children and descendants. b. Application: if there are children, all of them living and with capacity to succeed and none of them has been disinherited, only such children succeed to the exclusion of the other descendants who may be existing at the time of the testator’s death. Thus, the nearest in degree exclude the more remote, except in cases where representation is proper (incapacity). 2. Legitimated Children (children legitimated by subsequent marriage of the parents) have the same position as legitimate children and descendants. a. Article 272,NCC: Children who are legitimated by subsequent marriage shall enjoy the same rights as legitimate children b. Article 274,NCC: The legitimation of children who died before the celebration of the marriage shall benefit their descendants. 3. Adopted Children have the same successional rights, in relation to the adopting parents, as those of the legitimate child in relation to its parents a. Article 189 (1), FC: For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including the right of the adopted to use the surname of the adopters.
Parents and Ascendants 1. Legitimate and Legitimated (Secondary Compulsory Heirs) a. Entitled to legitime only when the deceased does not have legitimate children and descendants b. Concurrence of illegitimate children and their descendants with parents or ascendants of the deceased is not an obstacle to the forced succession of the parents and ascendants because the share of the illegitimate children are taken from the free portion and do not affect the legitime of the parents and ascendants 2. Illegitimate parents (Compulsory heir to the extent provided by Article 903) a. Article ___, NCC: the legitime of the parents who have an illegitimate child, when such chilled leaves neither legitimate descendants, nor a surviving spouse, nor illegitimate children, is one-half of the hereditary estate of such illegitimate child. If only legitimate or illegitimate children are left, the parents are not entitled to any legitime whatsoever. If only the widow or widower survives with parents of the illegitimate child, the legitime of the parents is one-fourth of the hereditary estate of the child, and that of the surviving spouse also one-fourth of the estate. b. Compulsory heirs only in the absence of legitimate, or illegitimate children of the decedent 3. Adopting parents (not a Compulsory heir, according to Tolentino, as the law is silent) a. Article 342, NCC omitted by FC (impliedly repealed): the adopter shall not be a legal heir of the adopted person, whose parents by nature shall inherit from him b. Article 190, FC: legal or intestate succession to the estate of the adopted shall be governed by the following rules: i. Legitimate and illegitimate children and descendants and the surviving spouse of the adopted shall inherit from the adopted in accordance with the ordinary rules of legal or intestate succession; ii. When the parents, legitimate or illegitimate, or the legitimate descendants of the adopted concur with the adopters, they shall divide the entire estate, one-half to be inherited by the parents or ascendants and the other half, by the adopters; iii. When the surviving spouse or the illegitimate children and the surviving spouse of the adopted, they shall divide the entire estate in equal shares, one-third to be inherited by the illegitimate children, one-third by the surviving spouse, and one-third by the adopters; iv. When only the adopters survive, they shall inherit the entire estate; and v. When only collateral blood relatives of the adopted survive, then the ordinary rules of legal or intestate succession shall apply. c. Article 189 (1), FC: For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including the right of the adopted to use the surname of the adopters. 5
d. The fact that Article 190 FC enumerates the cases where adopters inherit by legal
or intestate succession to the estate of the deceased adopted person (not making him generally a legal heir), and is silent as to their becoming compulsory heirs, indicated that the latter (compulsory heirs) was not intended. Adoption is for the benefit of the adopted, and unless the law clearly intends to favor the adopter, all doubts should be resolved against him. Due to the silence of the law on legitimes, he cannot be entitled to the legitime of legitimate parents and in the law of intestate, he is not given, in general, the same rights as a legitimate parent but only such as are specifically provided in Article 190 of the Family Code.
Illegitimate Children 1. acknowledged natural children 2. natural children by legal fiction 3. other illegitimate children (e.g. adulterous children (spurious)) Natural Children by legal fiction previously not granted successional rights in previous legislation a. Article 287, NCC (repealed by FC): illegitimate children other than natural in accordance with article 269 and other than natural children by legal fiction are entitled to support such successional rights as are granted in this Code. b. Article 269, NCC (repealed by FC): only natural children can be legitimated. Children born outside wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, are natural. Construction of Article 887 NCC vis-à-vis illegitimate children 1. Article 887 (4) and (5) are merged into one as a group of compulsory heir. 2. Illegitimate children required to prove their filiation. They are not required to be first recognized by their putative parents. Enforcement of the Right 1. Successional rights recognized by the New Code can be claimed only by those whose parents die after the effectivity of the Code. To retroactively apply the new right would impair the vested rights of heirs, and would amount to deprivation of property without due process of the law. 2. Illegitimate children can claim successional rights even if they were born prior to the effectivity of the Code, as the death of the parent and not the birth of the illegitimate child, determines the right of such child to succeed. Surviving spouse 1. Valid marriage required between deceased and the survivor 2. When marriage is null and void ab initio (as in bigamous and incestuous marriages), the survivor in the supposed marriage is NOT a surviving spouse entitled to legitime 3. But when the marriage is bigamous and the spouses contracted the marriage in good faith, BOTH widows share equally in the portion which is the legitime of the surviving spouse (following the principles of the Laws of the Partidas) 4. When the marriage is merely voidable, the existing marriage remains valid and produces civil effects until set aside by the court having jurisdiction in a proper action for annulment. Effects of Legal Separation 1. Article 892 must be read in conjunction with Article 63 (4) of the Family Code (formerly Article 106, NCC) a. Article 892, NCC: b. Article 63 (4), FC: 2. Guilty spouse excluded from succession, testate or intestate. Therefore, in case of legal separation, the widow/ widower will be entitled to succeed only when he or she is the innocent spouse Effect of Reconciliation 1. Article 66 (2), FC (formerly Article 108, NCC): the final decree of legal separation shall be set aside, but the separation of property and any forfeiture of the share of the guilty spouse already affected shall subsist, unless the spouses agree to revive their former property regime. 2. If after such reconciliation, one of the spouses should die, the survivor gets his/her legitime regardless of whether he or she is the guilty party. 6
Effect of Death before Decree If the death occurred during the pendency of the legal separation proceedings, the action is allowed to continue, not for the purpose of the suspension of the marriage (which is already dissolved by death) but for the purpose merely of determining whether there is no ground for legal separation. Effect of separation in fact Right of legitime is preserved. The law cannot be expected to inquire into facts not judicially established. Article 1003, NCC Collateral relatives Articles 1004-1010, NCC Applications a. Full blooded brothers and sisters (proceeding from the same father and mother inherit in equal shares b. Concurrence of half brothers and sisters alone, Article 1007 applies. There is equal division of all the property of the common parent, irrespective of the time when the property was acquired. c. Concurrence of full and half brothers and sisters, full blooded take portion in inheritance twice those of half blood brothers and sisters d. When all the brothers of the decedent may have predeceased him; or the only brother or all the brothers may have repudiated the inheritance; or such brothers may all be incapacitated: Nephews and nieces to succeed by their own right, and not by the right of representation. e. Concurrence of uncles and aunts with nephews and nieces: The law allows the right of representation because the number of nephews and nieces will directly affect the apportionment should it be made per capita. f. Concurrence of nephews and nieces alone: there is no need for the right of representation as there are no uncles or aunts who will be prejudiced. g. Concurrence of full-blood and half-blood nephews and nieces: full blood and half blood relationship of nephews and nieces taken into account in view of Article 1009, contrary to the generality that Article 975 seems to suggest. h. Concurrence of brothers and sisters with nephews and nieces: brothers or sisters shall inherit per capita while nephews and nieces shall inherit per stirpes pursuant to Article 1005. Thus, brothers or sisters inherit their own right while nephews or nieces inherit by the right of representation. i. Concurrence of nephews or nieces of half blooded brothers and sisters with nieces and nephews: same rule in Article 1005 apply in Article 1008. Brothers and sisters shall inherit in their own right (the whole blooded taking twice the share of those half blood), while nephews or nieces inherit by the right of representation (the whole blooded taking the portion of their father/mother which is double to that pertaining to the father/mother of the half blooded nephews and nieces. Article 1009, although it does not state any order of preference, must be understood in connection with the general rule that the nearest relatives exclude the father. 2. Capacity to Succeed a. Determination Article 1034, NCC 1. Paragraph 1: inasmuch as succession opens at the death of the decedent, it is only logical that it is only then that the capacity of the heir is determined. 2. Paragraph 2: it is only a clarification of the general principle, because as long as the judgment of in second, third, and fifth causes of unworthiness has not become final or the month allowed in the fourth cause has not elapsed, the reason for incapacity cannot exist. Therefore, the determination as to whether capacity to exist should be suspended up to that time. 3. Paragraph 3: in case the institution is conditional, there is taken into consideration, not only the moment of death of the decedent, but also the time when the condition is fulfilled, because it is why at the latter moment that the rights to the succession are consolidated and produce their effects. 7
Conditional institution What is referred in paragraph 3 is suspensive condition, because this is the condition on the fulfillment of which the right depended thereon are perfected.
1. Death (of heir) before condition. As discussed in Article 8778, the death of the heir, devisee, or legatee before the happening of the suspensive condition renders the testamentary disposition inoperative and without effect. He does not transmit anything to his heirs, even if his death occurs after that of the testator. No right has been vested upon the heir, et.al., because the condition has not yet been fulfilled. 2. Condition after death. Even if the condition should happen after the death of the hair, et.al., his own heirs cannot claim any right through him, because his death has extinguished his personality and capacity to succeed. He would be wanting in the capacity to succeed at the time of compliance with the condition. Article 1039, NCC Reason for the adoption of the new article: the provision is in line with the principle established in Article 16, paragraph 2, which provides “intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. Rule as to the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will: as regards the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will, as provided by Articles 16 (2) and 1039 of the Civil Code, the national law of the decedent must apply. CAYETANO VS. LEONIDES 129 SCRA 524 Facts: Adoracion Campos, a citizen and permanent resident of USA died and left a will executed in the said country. She died leaving properties both in the Philippines and the USA. As a compulsory heir, Hermogenes, Adoracion’s father, executed an affidavit of Adoracion whereby he adjudicated into himself the ownership of the entire estate of Adoracion. Nenita, the sister of the decedent, filed a petition for reprobate of the will which was allegedly executed in the USA and for her appointment as administrator of the state of the said decedent. The petitioner argue that since the respondent judge allowed the reprobate of the will, Hermogenes was divestive of his legitime which was reserved by law for him. Issue: whether the Philippine law shall apply in as much as the National Law of the deceased does not provide legitime? Held: Under Article 16 (2) and Article 1039 of the Civil Code, the law which governs Adoracion’s will is the law of the USA which is the National Law of the deceased. It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs maybe involved in our system legitimes. Congress has not intended to extend the same succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chose to leave the amount of successional rights to the decedent’s national law. Specific must prevail over general law. b. Who may succeed? Article 1024, NCC Capacity presumed Every person has capacity to succeed mortis cuasa. The presumption of the law, in the absence of some provision excluding him, is always in favor of capacity. Only persons may succeed mortis cuasa In order to be considered a person, either natural or artificial, it is necessary to have legal existence or juridical personality. Once endowed with juridical personality, the person’s capacity to succeed follows as a matter of course, unless some special cause for disqualification or incapacity exists. Requisites for the possession of capacity to succeed 1. General capacity of the person, whether natural or artificial, according to law 2. No incapacity or prohibition to succeed expressly provided by law. Applicability of rules of incapacity (2nd paragraph construed) Provisions relating to incapacity apply equally to testate and intestate succession. This is a general statement which is not supported by the specific provisions of the law providing for 8
incapacity to succeed. Incapacity under paragraphs 1 to 5 of Article 1027, as well as Article 1028 are applicable only to testamentary succession. Thus, the provision of the second paragraph must be considered only as a general rule, without prejudice to the determination of the true scope of specific disqualifications. Kinds of incapacity 1. Absolute per se: those absolutely incapacitated are disqualified to succeed in any form, to anyone, or to any quantity of property. (already died at the time of death of decedent) 2. Relative or par accidens: those who are relatively incapacitated are disqualified only with respect to certain persons or property. (not yet alive) 3. Unworthiness (A relative incapacity): by reason of certain acts a person who has capacity to succeed is deprived of it. Article 1025, NCC Conditions prescribed by Article 41 For civil purposes, the fetus is considered born if it is alive at the time it is completely delivered from the mother’s womb. However, if the fetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed born if it dies within twenty-four hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb. Judicial Existence Essential 1. Although the conceived child is considered born for all purposes favorable to it, nevertheless, it lacks true juridical personality. It acquires personality only when it is subsequently born with the conditions mentioned in Article 41. 2. When the institution is under suspensive condition or from a day certain, the succession does not really open except from the happening of the condition or the arrival of the day certain. In such cases, even if the unborn person instituted has not yet been conceived at the time of the death of the testator, if it is subsequently born and has legal personality at the time the condition happens of the day arrives, then it has the capacity to succeed. (if there is condition, it will prevail over the death) Deviating Comments by authorities on capacity to succeed 1. Manresa. In certain cases a child not even conceived at the time of the death of the testator may yet succeed mortis causa. Manresa’s example however is really the institution of a class and not of particular individuals, hence the presence of any number within the class at the time the succession opens makes the institution valid; whereas, if the class does not exist at all, the institution is void. 2. Manresa. The actual existence of an association or corporation at the time of the death of testator is not essential. The fact of actual existence, he maintains, is different form the fact of being permitted by law. He maintains that the existence of the corporation at the time of the testator’s death does not render it incapacitated to succeed, if it is subsequently organized. 3. Scaevola. Strictly adhering to legal principles, Manresa’s corporation cannot succeed, but that justice and the dictates of practical existence demand that the probable public and private utility that may be produced by such dispositions should not be nullified. Sanchez Roman’s view in consonance with concept of capacity to succeed 1. Associations or corporations which do not legally exist at the time of the opening of succession are incapacitated to succeed. Permission by the law is a necessary result of their legal existence, and its absence presupposes the inexistence of the juridical entity. 2. There is absolute incapacity when there is no civil personality. Incapacity to succeed is a consequence of the inexistence of natural or juridical parsons before the civil law. 3. The heir who dies before, as well as he who is not yet conceived at the time of the death of the testator, cannot succeed because of lack of juridical personality at the precise moment when the transmission of successional rights takes place. Article 1026, NCC Capacity by law Not all entries mentioned herein are persons having juridical existence. They succeed, not by virtue of the general rule of capacity, but by reason of the special provision of this article conferring capacity upon them. Article 1029, NCC 9
Scope of Application 1. The disposition referred to should not be confused with one which has merely the character of a condition, burden or charge imposed upon an heir, legatee or devisee. 2. the article contemplates a case where the testator has made a disposition for the application of the whole or part of his property for prayers and pious works for the benefit of his soul, but has not specified the particular prayers or pious works to which his property shall be applied. 3. The disposition made herein is applicable only when the testator has not provided otherwise in his will. The moment the testator specifies the application to be made, or the person charged with such duty, then this property cannot be distributed in the manner prescribed by the article. 4. if the testator should dispose of his property only for pious works, without any mention of prayers; or if he merely disposes of it for prayers, without referring to pious works, the distribution provided for in this article cannot be observed. Soul as beneficiary The real beneficiary in such a will is the soul of the testator. Although death extinguishes juridical existence, this article allows dispositions for the benefit of the soul, giving due respect to the religious and moral ideas of the deceased. Thus, if the testator merely states that he institutes his soul (something that has no legal existence) it is believed that the present article will apply. Article 1030, NCC Application of the article This article contemplates a disposition in favor of persons who may be unknown to the testator A class herein is instituted, and the class is determined. It is the determination of the individuals belonging to the class that is left to the persons mentioned by the law. In case the testator has not designated the person to make the designation of the poor and the distribution of the property among them, the executor or administrator of the estate shall do so. Under the Rules of Court, there will invariably be an executor or administration for the settlement and distribution of the estate in a case as contemplated by the article. The intervention of the justice of the peace, the mayor, and the municipal treasurer will never take place. Appeal to the Court *under the present state of the law, the determination that there are none who qualify as “poor” can be contested by persons claiming to be poor. The selection of some as poor can also be impugned by others. *the Court cannot be considered as a mere rubber stamp to give the seal of approval to whatever may be reported to it. However, there is a very strong presumption in favor of upholding the selection or conclusions of the persons designated to make the determination of two are poor, in the absence of manifest error or bad faith, as such persons are practically the agents of the testator in making the selection. None qualifying as poor (intestacy) *When none qualify as poor, the property should be distributed as in case of intestacy, the portion originally destined for the poor passing to the legal heirs of the testator. *unlike Article 1029, the present article is an institution of a definite and determined class, whose existence is essential for the validity of the testamentary disposition. In case, thus where the express will of the testator cannot be given effect for legal reasons, the law supplies his presumed will in the form of intestate succession. PARISH PRIEST OF VICTORIA VS. RIGOR 89 SCRA 493 Facts: Father Rigor, the parish priest of Pullilan, Bulacan, died on August 9, 1933 which was probated by the CFI of Tarlac. In his will, he named as devisees, his nearest relatives, his three sisters and his cousin. In addition the will contained the following controversial request to his nearest male relative who would study for the priesthood. The heirs of Father Rigor, prayed that the bequest declared inoperative and that they be adjudged as the persons entitled to said rice lands since no nearest male relatives of the testator has ever studied for the priesthood. Issue: whether the bequest to a nearest male relative who would study for the priesthood could be operative despite no male relative ever studied for the priesthood.
Held: The Court held that the 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 or legatees must be living at the moment the succession opens, except in case of representation when it is proper (Article 1025,CC). To construe them as referring to the nearest male relative at anytime after his death would “render the provisions difficult to apply and create uncertainty as to the disposition of his estate.” c. Who are incapable of succeeding? Article 1027, NCC (relative incapacity) Extent of incapacity 1. Disqualifications (1-5) apply only to testamentary succession. The persons disqualified are disqualified only under certain circumstances, and in relation to particular testators. Their disqualification is thus only relative. 2. Disqualification (6) is misplaced, it has no common basis with the others preceding it. The disqualified entities are absolutely incapacitated. They cannot succeed any person at any time or under any circumstance by testament or by intestacy, this paragraph should have formed part of Article 1025. Disqualification of Priest or Minister 1. The purpose of the provision is not to restrict the liberty of the testator to dispose of his property, but to safeguard the legal heirs from being defrauded by suggestions of some confessors who may induce penitents to dispose of their property in the manner and to the persons contemplated by the prohibition. 2. If the testamentary disposition was made before the last illness, it produces legal effect even if the priest received the confession of the testator or administered spiritual aid to him during his last illness. Will during the last illness 1. Last illness means that of which the testator died. It is immaterial whether the illness was protracted or brief, chronic or acute. The illness must be such, however, that there is danger that the testator may die of it. 2. it is not essential that the testator die of the particular illness during which the will was made. If it cannot be determined whether at the time of his death he was already completely cured or not of the illness during which he made his will, the testamentary disposition remains inoperative even if the death be due, not to such illness, but to some other cause such as an accident. 3. if the testator recovers from his illness and he enjoys normal health for a sufficient length of time as to enable him to reflect on the wisdom and the consequence of the testamentary disposition he made during his illness, then his failure to revoke the testament must be considered as a ratification of the same. But if no such sufficient length of time has elapsed, tacit confirmation cannot be presumed and the nullity of the disposition remains. Confession during last illness • The law requires that the priest must have heard the confession of the testator during his last illness. A priest, however, who does not hear the confession of the testator during his last illness, but acts merely as his adviser, staying by his side during such illness, is not incapacitated by the article. • The law has extended expressly the disqualification to ministers of other religions, which do not provide for confession, like those by Catholic priests, but for spiritual aid or assistance before death. Will made after confession • The prohibited disposition is that which the testator may make in favor of the priest who may have shriven him; the verbs used are both in subjunctive mode, but they give rise to the inference that the confession takes place before the making of the testamentary disposition. • If there has been undue influence by the confessor even before the will was made, the remedy is not under the present article but under Article 839, which provides among the other cause of disallowing a will: “if it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiary or some other person.” When no testamentary benefit 11
to be inoperative, the testamentary disposition must be in favor of the disqualified. When the disposition is not equivalent to making such persons as heirs, legatees or devisees, the disposition may be valid if it does not give any benefit to them. The law does not incapacitate the disqualified from being executors since under the Rules of Court, the executor becomes as such only after letters testamentary have been issued to him, and all of his acts are subject to the supervision and approval of the probate court. He may receive compensation for his services as executor (just payment and not an act of liberality) but such compensation is regulated by law. It is valid that the testator leave certain sums for the confessor or his relatives within the 4th civil degree for the performance of certain determinate services, such as writing a book, etc.. when a person has the qualifications for the work.
No prejudice to intestacy • if the confessor or minister or his relatives within the 4th civil degree are also relatives of the testators are compulsory heirs, it is clear that they get their legitimes, because these are given to them by force of law and not by the will of the testator (intestate succession). If they, however, may succeed only in case of intestacy, or even if compulsory heirs as to the free portion is concerned, the prohibition applies. • A void testamentary disposition does not absolutely disqualify the relatives form succeeding, if they are entitled to succeed according to the order of intestate succession. There will be intestacy with respect to the past ineffectively disposed, unless, it passes by right of accretion to other heirs. • If the priest or his relatives happen to be the only intestate heirs, they get the property, not as testamentary heirs but intestate heirs. Incapacity of guardian • a testamentary disposition made by a ward in favor of his guardian before the approval of the final accounts of the guardianship is void, even if the ward dies after the approval of such accounts. • The determined point with respect to time is the date of the final approval of the final account. “Final accounts” means that which is submitted by the guardian upon the termination of his authority as guardian, either by his removal or resignation or the disappearance of the cause of guardianship. What guardian covered All guardians, whether a guardian of his person or a guardian for his properties, are covered by the disqualification. They are disqualified as long as they have any responsibility as guardians. Relatives of guardian • the last does not disqualify the relatives of the guardian to succeed the ward by will • if it can be shown that the guardian’s relatives have been instituted merely as an indirect means of enabling the guardian to benefit from the inheritance left by the ward, then the institution is void, not because of the present article but by reason of Article 1031. Incapacity of Testamentary Witness The exception provided by Article 823 should be read into the provisions of paragraph 4 of the present article. If there are three other component witnesses to the will, the fact that the beneficiary attested such will does not have any material effect upon the existence or validity of the will. His intervention thus is not essential to the effectivity of the disposition in his favor. No beneficial interest A testamentary disposition which does not give a beneficial interest to the witness does not disqualify him. Thus, a provision giving to the witness a trust or power to sell does not constitute such an interest as will render him incompetent or will avoid the testamentary disposition. Incapacity of physician, nurse, or druggist, etc. • the physician, surgeon, nurse, health officer or druggist who took care of the testator during his last illness has such a great deal of influence over the mind of the testator that he is absolutely prohibited to succeed under the testator’s will. • To be disqualified, the recipient must have taken care of the testator during his last illness, in a manner that is continuous. A doctor called in for consultation by the physician attending the testator would not be disqualified, nor the pharmacists who merely prepared the medicine for him. 12
It is not necessary that the recipient be a legal practitioner of his profession. any person practicing medicine legally or illegally and even their assistants are deemed included in the prohibition. The disqualification applies only when the will was made during the last illness of the testator and after the beneficiary had at least begun to take care of him.
Provision for remuneration A testamentary provision which is remuneratory (payment of professional fees) is valid as such disposition is not a gratuitous act but simply a compliance with an obligation to pay for services rendered. Applicability to intestacy • The paragraphs of the present article, except the last, refer only to testamentary succession and does not include intestate succession. • The purpose of these disqualifications is to avoid testamentary disposition in favor of persons who are conclusively presumed to have influenced the making of the will in their favor by reason of their special relations to the testator. This reason cannot exist in intestate succession, where it is the law and not the decedent that disposes of the property in favor of the heirs. Exceptions as to close relatives The exception in paragraph 3 does not extend to the other paragraphs. The different paragraphs of the present article cam from different independent articles of the old Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure, and it was only in Article 753 of the old Civil Code, referring to the disqualification of the guardian, that the exception in question was provided. Article 1028, NCC Article 739 Application of the Article These disqualifications are based on considerations of morality, and are intended to prevent circumventing of the prohibitions on donations by resorting to the making of a will as means of disposing of property in favor of the disqualified donee. Article 1031, NCC (Y caused the death of grandchild of X) Interposition prohibited • What the law prohibits to be done directly cannot be done by indirection. The article renders void attempts to go around the prohibitions against dispositions in favor of incapacitated persons. • The interposition may be made in either of these ways: o By the institution of a person who has capacity, with a verbal charge or direction to deliver the inheritance to the incapacitated person o By disguising the disposition in the form of a contract o By simulating debts in favor of the incapacitated Proof of interposition • The prohibited interposition must always be proved, it cannot be presumed. • It is enough to show the absence of benefit to the person instituted, and the ultimate enjoyment of the inheritance by the incapacitated person. • The property need not be actually delivered to the incapacitated person, if it is he who really enjoys and benefits from it. Who are disqualified persons • The parties who are really disqualified are those who are in the position to wield an influence upon the mind of the testator: the priest, the guardian, and the attesting witness. • Dispositions made in favor of their relatives who are expressly mentioned by the law are rendered void, not because those relatives are “disqualified,” but because the law presumes juris et de jure that they are merely interposed for the benefit of the real incapacitated person. Hence, a testamentary disposition instituting an heir or legatee, with 13
the intention that the relatives mentioned should ultimately be the real beneficiaries, is not such an interposition as is prohibited by the article. • They do not include those who are such by reason of unworthiness. The institution of the unworthy person, with knowledge of the cause of unworthiness, is by itself a tacit pardon by the testator. If such institution is valid, there is no reason why the interposition should be void. (X gave – Y, guilty of adultery/ convicted of adultery) Frustration of testator’s intent • When a testator disposes of his property in a prohibited manner, he must be held to assume the risk that his will be frustrated. • Even if he does not intend the person interposed to benefit under his will, the law should discourage violations of its provisions, and the solution suggested will at least tend to have the effect. Article 1032, NCC – unworthiness Nature and basis of unworthiness • The incapacity is based on considerations of morality, which have made the law deprive of inheritance those who have made themselves unworthy of it according to ordinary social appreciation. • Unworthiness produces its effects, even against the will of the deceased, as when he pardons the act of unworthiness in a manner different from what the law prescribes in Article 1033. • The causes of incapacity by reason of unworthiness are applicable to testate and intestate succession, despite the fact that some paragraphs thereof expressly refer only to “testator” • Incapacity by reason of unworthiness is not absolute, it does not disqualify a person to succeed every other person, but merely disqualifies him to succeed the particular person against whom the act of unworthiness has been committed. Abandonment of Children • abandonment of children is a ground for disinheritance (Article 920) • “Abandonment” as a cause of unworthiness, is not used in the limited sense of having exposed the children to the danger of death, but in the broad and general sense of not giving proper care to the children, not supporting them, and not attending to their physical, moral or educational welfare. Inducing immorality, Attempts against virtue • Similarly discussed under Article 920 • To be disqualified under these grounds, there must be some positive act showing perversion on the part of the parent; he must have led or persuaded the daughter to live a corrupt of immoral life, or he must have made an attempt against her virtue. • Mere act of inducing his daughter to lead a disgraceful life, even if the latter refuses to obey him, would be a sufficient cause for unworthiness, inasmuch as the unsuccessful act shows the moral perversity of the parent. • Mere tolerance by a parent of the immoral or corrupt life which his daughter has chosen to live, however, does not make him unworthy of succession. Attempt against life • Also discussed as a ground fro disinheritance under Article 919 • Elements of this cause to operate o The heir must have made an attempt against the life of the decedent, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants o There must have been a final conviction of such attempt • The degree of the commission of the crime is not material: whether there may be a mitigating circumstance does not alter the situation. What is important is that there was a homicidal intent. Further, where the heir is merely an accomplice, he remains to be unworthy. • It is essential that the heir must have been convicted by final judgment to become unworthy. Hence, when the case is dismissed because the heir dies before the judgment can be rendered, or because the crime has prescribed, or because of some lawful defense, there will be no unworthiness. 14
Executive clemency or prescription of penalty does not save him from unworthiness to succeed inasmuch as such facts imply the final conviction.
False accusation • Elements of cause are discussed under Article 919 • False accusation includes not only the filing of complaint against the decedent without cause, but also declaring or testifying falsely as a witness against him. • False testimony is equivalent to false accusation; but one who merely testifies to the truth, even if it may incriminate the decedent and be the basis of his conviction, does not become unworthy. Failure to report violent death • Requisites of the cause: o The heir must be of full age o He knows of the violent death of the decedent o There is an obligation to make an accusation o Failure of the heir to report such death to the proper authorities within one month • This cause of unworthiness will never have the occasion to operate, as there is no obligation to make an accusation for violent deaths under Philippine law. Under Philippine law, deaths occasioned by crime (violent deaths) are prosecuted de oficio or at the instance of the government, and no one is required to make any accusation. • In the event that there should be some time a law requiring persons who have knowledge of violent deaths to denounce the same, the cause of unworthiness will apply only when there is a failure within one month to report such death. The heir, devisee or legatee escapes liability by reporting the violent death even if he omits to reveal the identity of the author of the crime or even helps him to escape. Adultery of concubinage • The heir, devisee or legatee who is convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the decedent is unworthy to succeed the offended decedent. The mere commission of the offense is not enough to disqualify. • The testator’s spouse is not rendered unworthy by the article. Only his or her paramour is disqualified to succeed the offended spouse. • If the offended spouse asks for legal separation, on the ground of adultery or concubinage, and it is decreed, the guilty spouse is rendered incapacitate to succeed the offended spouse ab intestate or by a will already existing at the time of the legal separation, under Article 63 of the Family Code: “(4) The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in the will of the innocent spouse shall be revoked by operation of law.” • The article does not disqualify the guilty pair from succeeding each other. Under Article 1028 in relation to Article 739, however, they cannot succeed each other by will or testament. Acts relating to will • the acts constituting the cause of unworthiness o causing the testator to make a will o causing the testator to change an existing will o preventing the decedent from making a will o preventing the testator from revoking his will o supplanting, concealing, or altering the testator’s will o falsifying or forging a supposed will of the decedent • The first four acts must have been committed through fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence. The last two acts by themselves, executed in any manner, will cause incapacity. Effects of unworthiness • Incapacity by reason of unworthiness disqualifies a person from succeeding to the estate of the person against whom the act of unworthiness has been committed. • Loss of legitime applies to the causes of unworthiness, even if the express provision on loss of legitime merely does away with the cause of doubt as to the effect of unworthiness upon the legitime. The reproduction of Article 761 of the old Civil Code in Article 1036 in present code shoes clearly by implication that the intention of the law is to exclude the compulsory heir who is unworthy from his legitime, but preserving the right of 15
representation in the descending line, just as in the case of disinheritance. Article 1035 uses the words “persons excluded from inheritance” in referring to the unworthy heir, and exclusion can only mean total exclusion from the inheritance including the legitime. Summary of the effects • Disqualification by reason of unworthiness is a kind of legal disinheritance. It is a penalty declared by law ___ ___ ___ offenses committed by the heir, etc. against the decedent. • The law cannot permit that the inheritance be acquired in full or in party by those guilty of these offenses against the deceased. The effect of unworthiness is thus an exclusion from the entire inheritance; it causes constitute impediments to success. • The unworthy heir, etc., is treated by the law as if he did not exist, or had predeceased the decedent. He inherits nothing. On donations • Donations inter vivos are not affected by the incapacity of the donee to succeed the donor. Such donations shall be considered as having been made to strangers, even if the donees should be compulsory heirs. • It should be noted that the act of unworthiness may constitute an act of ingratitude which would entitle the donor, during his lifetime to revoke the donation. Article 1033, NCC Pardon of unworthiness • The testator is given the power to condone the causes of unworthiness. Since the incapacity arises from the offense or act committed against the decedent, it is only reasonable that the latter should be given the right to determine whether the incapacity should subsist or not. • The pardon may be either express or implied. The forms of such pardon are limited to those expressly specified by the law, no other form being admissible. o Express pardon: made by the execution of a document or any writing in which the decedent condones the cause of incapacity. The only cardinal requisite is that the pardon must be after the act of unworthiness has been committed. o Implied pardon: tacit or implied pardon of the cause of unworthiness is effected if the testator had knowledge thereof at the time he made the will. The mere silence of the testator, or his omission to expressly disinherit the offender, is not tacit pardon. Reconciliation, like what can be made to make disinheritance ineffective, cannot restore the unworthy heir in such case. • Exclusive clemency, or pardon by the President, does not erase the unworthiness or incapacity of the heir. Revocation of Pardon Whether the pardon of unworthiness can be revoked or not depends upon the manner in which the pardon is made. • if the pardon is express, or made in writing other than a will, then the pardon is immediately operative and irrevocable • if the pardon is tacitly made by instituting the disqualified person in a will, the subsequent revocation of the will or of the institution should be considered as rendering the pardon ineffective. As the institution does not become operative except upon the death of the testator, the institution never became effective when the institution or the will itself has been revoked. The same result follows if the will is void because it lacks the formalities required by the law. Effect of pardon • once the act of unworthiness is pardoned, the heir is restored to full capacity to succeed the decedent, as if the cause of unworthiness had never existed. • The capacity that has been recovered cannot cease except by a new cause. d. effect of alienations by the excluded heir Article 1036, NCC Validity of alienation • The validity of alienation made by the disqualified heir before the declaration of incapacity is made to depend upon the good faith of the transferee, irrespective of the good or bad faith of the heir who made the alienation. 16
If the transferee acted in good faith, or without the knowledge of the facts which render the transferor unworthy, the alienation, whether gratuitous or for a valuable consideration, is valid as to such transferee.
e. rights of the excluded heir Article 1035, NCC Representation of unworthy heir • Unworthiness disqualifies a compulsory heir from succeeding even to his legitime. His act, however, being personal, should prejudice the innocent children and descendants of an unworthy child or descendant. Application of Article 1035 • Article 1035 provides for the representation of the unworthy child or descendant by his children and descendants. • Only a child or descendant can be represented; unworthy parents and ascendants, or the surviving spouse cannot be represented. • If the unworthy child or descendant does not himself have children or descendants, his other heirs cannot acquire his rights, which are reserved by the article only for his children and descendants. Amounts transferred • The children and descendants of the unworthy child or descendant shall acquire his rights to the legitime. • If the unworthy child or descendant is the only compulsory heir, or if when concurring with the children or descendants who are compulsory heirs there is no substitute appointed, then there shall be intestate succession. The children or descendants of the unworthy heir will get not only their parent’s legitime but also whatever part of the free portion may be subject to distribution among the intestate heirs. Article 1037, NCC Indemnity for expenses • The disqualified person who has entered upon the property may have incurred necessary and useful expenses, as well as expenses for ornamentation, on the hereditary property. • When he is obliged to return the property to the rightful heir, his right to indemnity for such expenses or to remove the improvements he has made depends upon his good or bad faith. • The rules on possessors in good faith or in bad faith shall be applicable. Necessary expenses for preservation therefore must be reimbursed to every possessor, whether he be in good faith or in bad faith. Article 1014, NCC Sources of provision This article was taken from Rule 92 (now Rule 91, Section 4, ROC) Rule 9, Section 4, Rules of Court - “When and by whom claim to estate filed. – If a devisee, legatee, heir, widow, widower or other person entitled to such estate appears and files a claim thereto with the court within 5 years from the date of such judgment, such parson shall have possession of and title to the same, or if sold, the municipality or city shall be accountable to him for the proceeds, after deducting reasonable charges for the care of the estate; but a claim not made within said time shall be forever barred.” f. liabilities of the excluded heir Article 1038, NCC (what to return: property and fruits, accessions, rents) Restitution with fruits
The obligation to make restoration (restitution of the hereditary property, together with all its fruits and accessions, to the rightful owner) is imposed upon all incapacitated persons, whether the incapacity be absolute, relative, or by reason of unworthiness. The law here conclusively considers the incapacitated heir as a possessor in bad faith. Whatever the true nature of the possession, whether in good or bad faith, the incapacitated person returns the thing with its accessions and the fruits and rentals he has received or could have received through the exercise of reasonable diligence. If the incapacitated person has not received rentals, but has himself occupied the hereditary property; it is just that although he does not materially receive the rentals from a 3rd person, he should be obliged to pay the reasonable amount of rentals, which would be the true measure of the benefit he receives.
Improvements and deteriorations • Outside of the matters covered by Articles 1036, 1037 and 1038, the rights and obligations of the incapacitated persons who has entered upon the hereditary property are governed by the general rules applicable to possessors, in which the determining factor is good or bad faith. • This includes such matters as the right to improvements and the liability for losses and deteriorations. g. prescription of action Article 1040, NCC Action to recover inheritance • As a consequence of Article 1038, a limit should be fixed as to the time within which the action to compel such restitution may be brought, i.e., 5 years from the moment of possession by the disqualified person. • The action is not one solely for the purpose of declaring the incapacity of the heir who has taken possession of the hereditary property. The action is essentially to compel such heir or legatee to restore the property, its accessories, fruits and rentals; but where the judgment to that effect depends upon a finding in the same cause that the heir or legatee in possession is incapacitated. Parties to action • plaintiff o Those who may have an interest in the succession, obviously including those who would inherit the property once the incapacity of possessor is declared. o If no substitution is provided and the right of accretion does not exist, and there are several intestate heirs, the action pertains in the first instance to those of the nearest degree; if they do not wish to bring the action, then those next in degree may bring it, and so on in their order or succession. • Defendant o If at the time the action is brought, the property has passed to the heirs of the incapacitated person, such heirs may be made defendants o If the property has been alienated to the incapacitated person, the transferred is the proper defendant. o This is based on the principle that neither the heirs nor the transferee of the incapacitated person can acquire a greater right that he has. This is without prejudice, of course, to the provision of the Spanish Mortgage Law and the Land Registration Law. Effects of administration proceedings • if the administration proceedings have been instituted for the settlement of the estate of the testator, and in such proceedings an order of distribution is issued by the court, in which property is adjudged to a person who is incapacitated, it may be asked whether such adjudication is conclusive and can no longer be attacked once the administration proceedings have been terminated. • The conflicting rights to the property of the deceased are to be litigated, and the question of who is entitled to the properties left is determined, in the administration proceedings. • The determination is conclusive upon all parties interested who may have notice of such hearing, whether actually appearing therein or not therein. Thus, if in the order of distribution, property of the deceased is given to an incapacitated person, such 18
adjudication will be conclusive upon all those who had notice of the hearing before the distribution. A sensu contrario, it does not bind those who have no notice of the hearing. C. Object of Succession Article 776, NCC What inheritance includes • The inheritance does not include everything that belongs to the deceased at the time of his death. • Inheritance is limited to the deceased’s property, rights, and obligations not extinguished by his death. • In addition, however, to the transmissible rights and obligations existing at the time of the decedent’s death, all property accruing thereto from that time will pertain to the heir. Rights and obligations extinguished by death (enumeration) 1. Those arising from marriage, either with respect to the persons or as regards the property of the spouses. 2. The action for legal separation, which belongs only to the innocent spouses. 3. The action to annul marriage. 4. The obligations to give legal support, except in cases expressly provided by law. 5. The right to receive support. 6. The rights of patria potestas 7. The right of the guardian. 8. The right of usufruct. 9. The right of the donor to revoke the donation by reason of ingratitude of the donee, if he does not revoke the donation even if he can do so. 10.The rights arising from agency, nut not the effects of the agency already executed. 11.Criminal responsibility. Rights which are intransmissible 1. Rights arising from public law (e.g. suffrage and public employment) 2. Private rights founded on purely personal relations 3. Private rights whose duration is limited by law to the lifetime of the owner 4. Private rights which require the intervention of the owner for their exercise Rules observed 1. Rights which are purely personal, not in the inaccurate equivalent of this term in contractual obligations, but in its proper sense, are, by their nature and purpose, intransmissible, for they are extinguished by death (e.g. civil personality, family rights, discharge of public office). 2. Rights which are patrimonial or relating to property are, as a general rule, not extinguished by death and properly constitute part of the inheritance, except those expressly provided by law or by the will of the testator (e.g. usufruct, personal servitudes). 3. Rights of obligation are by nature transmissible and may constitute part of the inheritance, both with respect to the rights of the creditor and as regards the obligations of the debtor. Exceptions: a. Those which are personal, in the sense that the personal qualifications and circumstances of the debtor have been taken into account in the creation of the obligations. b. Those that are intransmissible by express agreement or by will of the testator. c. Those that are intransmissible by express provision of law, such as life pensions given under contracts. Obligations of deceased • Debts: The provisions of the Rules of Court on the settlement of the estate of the deceased person cannot be overlooked. The heirs of the deceased are no longer liable for the debts he may leave at the time of his death. Such debts are chargeable against the property or assets left by the deceased. Only what remains after all such debts have been paid will be subject to distribution among the heirs. If the decedent’s property is not sufficient to cover all of them, the heirs cannot be made to pay the uncollected balance. • Money debts: Only money debts are chargeable against the estate left by the deceased, those are the obligations which do not pass to the heirs, but constitute a charge against the hereditary property. 19
Other obligations which do not constitute money debts are not extinguished by death, and must still be considered as forming part of the inheritance (e.g. lease, obligation to pay rent, deliver land sold by the decedent, especially sale by installment). (Relate Section 1311, NCC; especially when estate passed on to the heirs prior or without proceedings).
Article 781, NCC Tolentino: Article 781 erroneous • Article 781 is not only a superfluity but also creates an erroneous concept of inheritance. It is juridically erroneous to say that inheritance includes such accession. • An heir, even without the article, is entitled to the accessions and fruits which have accrued since the death of the decedent, by virtue of the right of accession. • Inheritance is property acquired mortis causa; it is transmitted by death. The accession to such property is not transmitted by death; it is acquired already by virtue of the right of ownership which is vested from the moment of the predecessor’s death in the successor. Article 1311, NCC Article 1429, NCC Article 1178, NCC Applications of Article 1178 • when there is no stipulation with regard to the assignment of an obligation, all rights acquired by virtue of an obligation are transmissible in accordance with law. • An instrument evidencing a credit may be transferred or assigned by the creditor to another, and the transferee would be considered in lawful possession of the same as well as of the credit, unless the contrary is shown. Article 1347, NCC Outside the commerce of man • All kinds of things and interests whose alienation or free exchange is restricted by law or stipulation, which parties cannot modify at will. • In Roman law, it includes those things which are not susceptible of appropriation or of private ownership and which are not transmissible. Corpse- cannot be inherited, it is outside the commerce of man. As long as legal wife/husband has a right to the corpse. Examples of things outside the commerce of man 1. Services which imply an absolute submission by those who render them, sacrificing their liberty, their independence or beliefs, or disregarding in any manner the equality and dignity of persons (e.g. perpetual servitude of slavery). 2. Personal rights (e.g. patria potestas or marital authority, the status and capacity of persons, and honorary titles and distinctions). 3. Public offices, inherent attributes of the public authority, and political rights of individuals (e.g. right of suffrage). 4. Property while they pertain to the public dominion (e.g. roads, plazas, squares and rivers). 5. Sacred things, common things (e.g. air and the sea), and res nullius (as long as they have not been appropriated). Existence of object The object • must be in existence at the time of the perfection of the contract, or • has the possibility or potentiality of coming into existence at some future time Future things • future things can be object of contracts • future things are those which do not belong to the obligor at the time the contract is made but may be made, raised, or acquired by the obligor after the perfection of the contract • future things includes not only material objects but also future rights • contracts involving future things may either be 20
o conditional, or subject to the coming into existence of the thing, or o
aleatory, or one of the parties bears the risk of the thing never coming into existence
Future inheritance • the law generally does not allow contracts on future inheritance CONTRACTS ON FUTURE INHERITANCE In order to be future inheritance, the succession must not have been opened at the time of the contract. An agreement for the partition of the estate of a living person, made between those who, in case of death, would be in a position to inherit from him, is void. A contract renouncing the right to inherit from who is still alive, is also void.
CONTRACTS BY FIDEICOMMISSARY HEIR ON EVENTUAL RIGHTS The contract entered into by a fideicommissary heir with respect to his eventual rights would be valid, even if executed while the fiduciary is still alive, provided that the testator has already died. The rights of the fideicommissary heir comes from the testator not from fiduciary.
Requisites for the prohibition 1. that the succession has not yet been opened 2. that the object of the contract forms part of the inheritance, and 3. that the promissory has, with respect to the object, an expectancy of a right which is purely hereditary in nature Inheritance before partition not future inheritance: after the death of a person, the properties and rights left by him by way of inheritance can be the subject-matter of a contract among or by his heirs, even before a partition thereof has been made, because the rights of the heirs are transmitted to them from the moment of the death of the decedent. Not part of the inheritance • When the object of the contract is not part of the inheritance, the prohibition does not apply, even if delivery of such object is dependent upon the death of one of the contracting parties (e.g. life insurance, reversion of donated property upon the death of donee) • If the right of the party over the thing is not by virtue of succession, but as a creditor, the contract does not fall within the prohibition of Article 1348 Contrary to law or morals • Contract is void if at the time it is entered into, the object is contrary to law or morals. The law need not be penal in nature. It is enough that it be mandatory or prohibitive (A statute requiring all debts in money to be paid in Philippine currency, a promissory note in dollars is null and void, but does not defeat the creditor’s claim which shall be paid in pesos) • The determination of morality depends on our sense of our/the courts sense of decency, whether an act is in consonance with the respect due to society or is repugnant to it Prestation of third party • The prestation promised in a contract must be personal to the party. A person can obligate only himself. He cannot obligate a 3rd person. • In a contract in which the prestation of a 3rd person is promised, the 3rd person is not bound, only the promissory is bound by the contract to use all means so that the 3 rd person may perform the prestation. Article 108, RPC The action to demand restoration, reparation, and indemnification likewise descends to the heirs of the person injured. REYES VS. CA JULY 31, 1954 Facts: decedent Benedicto de los Reyes, before his death, sold properties to one of the heirs of the executor. The heirs of the former claimed that the said properties should be part of the inheritance. Trial Court declared the subject properties having been sold before the death was no longer part of the inheritance. Issue: whether the properties sold are part of the inheritance? (Void contract) 21
Held: yes, the properties are part of the inheritance, according to the Civil Code, even these properties sold by the decedent may still be the object of succession and would be part of the estate and as much, the heirs may still be entitled to the subject properties. Such case may be considered as a circumvention of the law as the forced heirs may be deprived of their rights to their legitime. The appealed decision is reversed and the deed of sale was annulled and the parcel of land involved mere declared as pertaining to the estate of the decedent Benedicto de los Reyes. (If the contract is void, the property still forms part of the inheritance in order not to prejudice the heir) LEON GUINTO VS SANTIAGO MEDINA OCTOBER 7, 1953 Facts: on October 3, 1941 Leon Guinto filed an action for forcible entry against Santiago Medina. Guinto alleged that he has been in possession of the said land since 1934, and that on 1941 by means of force and intimidation. Medina deprived him of his possession. Trial Court rendered decision in favor of Guinto. While the case was on its original appeal Santiago died. Issue: whether the liability of heirs may exceed the amount of inheritance? Held: no, the heirs of the original defendants in this case has been merely substituted in his place upon his death, their liability for damages (money debt) is only to the extent of the value of the property that they might have received if any from him. D. Opening of Succession Article 777, NCC Transmission of Successional Rights • the language of the article is criticized by some commentators. Inasmuch as the death of a person merely consolidates and renders immutable, in certain sense, rights which up to that moment were nothing but mere expectancy. For before the death of the testator, the law may change, the will of the testator may vary, and even circumstances may be modified to such an extent that he who expected to receive property may be deprived of it. When death supervenes, however, the will of the testator becomes immutable. The law as to the succession can no longer be changed, disinheritance cannot be effected, and the rights to the succession acquire a character of marked permanence. • What the article really means is that the succession is opened by the death of the person from whom the inheritance comes. Therefore, it should be understood as “the rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death, and by virtue of prior manifestations of his will or of cause predetermined by law.” Death the determining point • The moment of death is the determining point when the heirs acquire a definite right to the inheritance, whether such right be pure or conditional. • The right of the heirs to the property of the deceased vests in them even before judicial declaration of their being heirs in the testate or intestate proceedings. • It is immaterial whether a short or long period of time elapses between the death of the predecessor and the entry in the possession of the properties of the inheritance, because the right is always deemed to retroact to the moment of death. Illustrations • The right of the state to collect the inheritance tax accrues at the moment of death, notwithstanding the postponement of the actual possession and enjoyment of the estate by the heir, and the tax is based on the value of the property at that time, regardless of any subsequent appreciation or depreciation. • A bequest of land to the nearest male relative of the testator who would study for the priesthood means the grantor’s nearest male relative at the time of his death and not any indefinite time thereafter. Possession of hereditary estate • To the heir passes not only the right of ownership, but also the right of possession, as of the moment of death of the predecessor. The possession of the hereditary property is deemed transmitted to the heir without interruption and from the moment of the death of the decedent in case the inheritance is accepted. • While the hereditary estate is under administration, the heirs cannot compel the administrator to deliver to them the property inherited. 22
Elements for transmission 1. The express will of the testator, within the limits prescribed by the law, calling certain persons to succeed him, or on the absence of a will, the provisions of the law prescribing the presumed will of the document. 2. Death of the person whose succession is in question: A person is not made to succeed by the mere fact of death of the predecessor for such will deny him the right to accept or repudiate the inheritance. 3. The acceptance of the inheritance by the person called to the succession. Presumption of Death • Death is not limited to natural or physical demise, it includes presumed death occasioned by prolonged legal absence. • Under Article 390 o After the absence of 10 years, a person shall be presumed to be dead for the purpose of opening his succession, but if he disappeared after the age of 75, an absence of 5 years will be sufficient in order that his succession may be opened. o The death is considered to have taken place on the last day of the period of absence required by law. • Under Article 391 o The disappearance of the persons enumerated therein is under circumstances which give rise to the conviction or belief that they are victims of some catastrophe or fatal event. o The presumptive date is fixed on the very day of the occurrence of the event which may have occasioned death. Article 2263, NCC Moment of Death • The decisive fact which gives origin to the right of heirs, devisees and legatees is the death of the decedent. • The provisions of the new Code, relaxing the rigidity of the rules of the old Code regarding proof or recognition of natural children, were held inapplicable to one claiming recognition and a share in the state of the alleged natural father who died before the new Code want into effect. Article 2253, NCC New rights created • The article gives a retroactive effect to newly created rights, provided they do not prejudice or impair any vested or acquired right. • Successional rights granted in favor of illegitimate children cannot be given retroactive effect and be made to apply to the estate of the deceased who died before the effectivity of the new Civil Code, for the same would have the effect of impairing the vested rights of another who is deemed to have become owner of property of the deceased upon the latter’s death during the regime of the old Civil Code. Article 533, NCC Article 1347, NCC Article 1461, NCC Things with potential existence • A valid sale may be made of a thing, which though not et actually in existence, is reasonably certain to come into existence as the natural increment or usual incident of something already in existence, and then belonging to the vendor, and the title will vest in the buyer the moment the thing comes into existence. • A man may sell property of which he is potentially and not actually possessed. • One who sells something he does not yet own is bound by the sale when he acquires the thing later. Emptio rei speratae vs Emptio spei EMPTIO REI SPERATAE (purchase of an expected thing)
EMPTIO SPEI (purchase of a hope or expectancy) 23
If the parties make the contract depend upon the existence of the thing, so that if the thing does not come into existence the contract is considered as not made and there is no obligation to pay the prize. Such contract is valid under the 2nd paragraph of the article
If the parties intend the contract to exist at all events so that the buyer will have to pay the price even if the thing does not actually come into the existence, the contract is aleatory, and the price should be paid even if the thing does not come into existence. Under the last paragraph of the article, such contract is void.
Illustrations • An agreement for the sale of property yet to be adjudicated by the court is valid and binding. • A sale of property to which the vendors did not have any title yet at the time of the execution of the deed of sale. Article 130, NCC Article replaced by Article 84 of the Family Code Article 132, NCC Article 390, NCC Presumption of Death; Judicial declaration not necessary • The presumption of death is created by law, and arises without any necessity of a judicial declaration. • The presumption can be availed of in any action or proceedings; but there can be no independent proceeding for the express purpose of securing a judicial declaration that a person is presumptively dead, except for purposes of re-marriage under the Family Code. • Such a judicial declaration does not add anything to the force of the presumption, which will still be only prima facie and can be thrown by proof that the absentee is actually alive. When death deemed to occur • The presumption of death provided in the article arises from ordinary absence. • The presumption is created, because it is different to conceive that a living person would abandon persons and things for a long period of time without returning to his domicile or sending news of himself. • The death is presumed to have taken place on the last day of the period of absence required by law. • The period is to be computed from the same date as the period provided in Article 384. Article 391, NCC Presumptive death of missing persons • The article establishes a declaration of presumptive death in case of qualified absence. • The persons presumed dead herein cannot be considered as merely absentees; they are more properly designated as missing persons. • The disappearance is not under normal conditions, which would merely create a doubt as to their existence, but under circumstances which give rise to the conviction or belief that they are victims of some catastrophe or fatal event. • The presumptive date of death is fixed on the very day of the occurrence of the event from which death is presumed, and if such date cannot be fixed, the court determines the middle of the period in which the event could have happened. Loss of vessel or airplane • These terms must be understood in their broad meanings. Vessels will include all watercraft, and aeroplanes will include all aircraft, whether airplanes, balloons, zeppelins, hydroplanes, space craft, etc. • The los of the vessel must be during a sea voyage. This will include not only voyages in the open sea but also passage along the mouths of rivers, canals, etc. in the course of such voyage. Trips which are only in inland waters are not included. Missing in war 24
The term “war” is construed generally, but includes all military operations or undertakings in armed fighting, and not limited to war as understood in international law. It is not enough, however, that the disappearance of such persons be during wartime; it is necessary that it be during military operations. The presumption applies not only to soldiers, but also to: o Those who are employed by or render services to the armed forces (e.g. nurses, doctors, strokers in warships, etc) o Those who render voluntary service (e.g. guides, guerillas) o Those who follow or stay with the armed forces (e.g. reporters, photographers, and cameraman) In the German Code, the period necessary to give rise to the presumption of death must be computed from the conclusion of peace or the actual end of the war, as there is a possibility that the missing person might have been taken as a prisoner of war and still alive.
In danger of death • other circumstances include o earthquakes o fires o explosions o inundations o dangerous expeditions o cave-ins of mines o volcanic eruptions o landslides • period of reckoning the 4-year period o the death should be considered to have taken place on the day of the danger o if the danger continues for several days, it is contended that the period should be computed from the last day of such danger o In cases of expeditions or similar ventures of which nothing is heard after it has stated, the date when it should be completed, if favorably concluded, is taken into account. Article 84, FC Present property • The law permits donation propter nuptias of not more than 1/5 of the present property of the donor spouse. • If present property is given by anyone other than one of the future spouses, the amount that can be given by donation propter nuptias is the same that can be given in ordinary donation. In excess of 1/5 • Article limits the donation propter nuptias between spouses when they agree on a regime other than the absolute community of property, and the donation is in the marriage settlement. • If the regime adopted by the spouses is the absolute community of property, the limitation is not applicable because all the property of the spouses become absolute community property. • In the marriage settlement excludes the property donated from the absolute community, the limitation logically applies. Basis of the law • The law is based on the policy that no spouse should be allowed to take advantage of the love or tender feelings of the other to acquire property from the latter (that’s why Article 87 prohibits donation between spouses during marriage) • The rule is relaxed when donation is made before or at the time of marriage in a marriage settlement, as a concession to custom or the practice of giving some property to the spouses at the time of marriage. • In view of the reason of the law, whether the donation is in a marriage or not, as long as it is made in view of the marriage, the limitation to 1/5 of present property shall apply. Donation of future property • these donations take effect upon the death of the donor spouse
• • •
it cannot be made in the marriage settlement but in a will or testament. Its limits are governed by the rules of testamentary succession provided by the Civil Code. Since the will can be revoked by the testator at any time before his death, the donation propter nuptias of future property may be so revoked. Persons other than the affianced parties cannot give donations propter nuptias of future property (Article 761, NCC)
Article 86, FC Revocation of donation propter nuptias • Present article enumerates causes for the donor to revoke a donation propter nuptias that has already taken effect. The action to revoke the donation, however, may be waived by the donor. • Some donations propter nuptias are revoked by operation of law, and the donor does not have to bring an action for revocation, such as: o When a subsequent marriage is contracted by one whose spouse has been declared presumptively dead, if the donee had contracted the marriage in bad faith (Article 43) o Donations made in the marriage settlement, if the marriage does not take place (Article 81) o If the donation is subject to a suspensive condition, and the condition does not take place, in which case the donations does not take effect Acts of ingratitude which are grounds for revoking donations 1. if the donee should commit some offense against the person, honor or property of the donor, or of his wife or children under his parental authority 2. if the donee imputes the donor any criminal offense, or any act involving moral turpitude, even though he should prove it, unless the crime or the act has been committed against the donee himself, his wife or children under his authority 3. if the donee unduly refuses to support the donor when he is legally or morally bound to give such support (Article 765, NCC) Requisites for the transmission of successional rights 1. express will of the testator or provision of law 2. death of the person whose property is the subject of succession 3. acceptance of the inheritance Acceptance and repudiation defined • Acceptance of the inheritance: the act by which the person called to succeed by universal title by the testator or by law manifests his will in making his own the universality of the rights and obligations which are transmitted to him. • Repudiation is the manifestation by such heir of his desire not to succeed to the said universality Acceptance necessary • the heir is such by the mere fact that he is so designated in the will by the testator or he is called by law to succeed. The right of succession is transmitted to him from the moment of the death of the decedent. No person, however, can be forced to take any property through inheritance. • So long as the person called to the succession does not manifest his willingness to be an heir, the inheritance remains in a condition of suspension. By the act of acceptance this condition is completely altered, and the heir is deemed to have accepted the inheritance from the death of the decedent. • The acceptance of the inheritance is the confirmation of the institution of the heir, the perfection of the right to succeed. Article 1041, NCC Voluntary acts • the freedom to accept or repudiate the inheritance follows the principle that rights granted by law may be waived, provided such waiver is not contrary to public interest or public order or prejudicial to 3rd persons.
Repudiation and acceptance – being essentially voluntary and free acts – violence, intimidation, undue influence, error and deceit will defeat the effects of either. Articles in the law of contracts on the effects of causes vitiating consent are applicable to them.
Partial acceptance * Philippine jurisdiction permitted partial acceptance or repudiation. The heir in Philippine law is not the continuation of the personality of the deceased. He stands on the same footing as a mere legatee in the Civil Code. If the legatee may accept or repudiate partially, there is no reason why the heir should not be allowed to do so. Creditors of the estate would not be prejudiced by partial Article 1042 Retroactive Effect • By the nature of things, the continuity of ownership of property should not suffer interruption. When acceptance is made, the law makes it retroact to the moment of the death of the decedent. • By fiction of law, the will of the heir to take the inheritance is made simultaneous with the death of the decedent. Term or Condition The total suppression of Article 990 of the old Civil Code does not mean the consequent elimination of the express prohibition on acceptance with a term or condition, as the very nature of transmission or property mortis causa argues against the validity of acceptance or repudiation with a term or subject to a condition would be contrary to the fundamental principle of succession. It would also be inconsistent with the irrevocable character of acceptance or repudiation, provided for in Article 1054. Article 1043 Prerequisite of acceptance 1. He must be certain of the death of the person from whom he is to inherit: o The will of man is changeable. Even just before the moment of his death he may change his mind. Until the death of the person whose inheritance as accepted or repudiated, the person is not an heir either by the will of the deceased or by the law. o The person inheriting must survive the decedent and must have capacity to succeed. The person who accepts or repudiates an inheritance from a living person cannot know whether he will survive or predecease the decedent or whether he will have the capacity to succeed in the latter’s succession. 2. The person must be certain of his rights to the inheritance before he can accept or repudiate. Where acceptance or repudiation is ineffective • When he knows that the will in which he is instituted is null and void. • When he is not sure whether there are other relatives nearer in degree. • When he is not certain whether he has been instituted heir or not. Article 1044 Capacity to accept • Any person who has the free disposal of his property may accept or repudiate. • Persons having the capacity to succeed but not having the capacity to dispose of their property may not accept or repudiate. Their legal representatives may do so for them. (no free disposal of his property) Minors and incapacitated persons • When judicial approval not required o Generally, acceptance of the inheritance may be made by the parents or guardian of minors or incapacitated persons without the need of judicial approval. o Acceptance, where the act is purely beneficial to the minor or incapacitated person, the intervention of the court is unnecessary. • When judicial approval required o Acceptance, where the institution, devise or legacy is subject to a charge or condition to be performed by the minor or incapacitated beneficiary. o Repudiation must always be judicially authorized. 27
Institution of poor • The persons designated by the testator to determine the beneficiaries in an institution of the poor in general can only accept the inheritance; they have no power to repudiate. • Individuals who may be selected as poor have the freedom to accept or repudiate the property or portion that may be given to them. Article 1045 Action by representatives • The law has taken for granted that the acceptance by their representatives will always be beneficial to the institutions, while the repudiation may not. • Since these institutions may by their nature be of public interest, the law has required judicial approval. Article 1046 Public establishment • The term refers to organizations which have their own social and public purpose, separate from the mere manifestations of the governmental functions of the State. • It does not refer to mere administrative organizations which do not have a separate existence as a legal entity, inasmuch as these organizations find their legal representatives of the State or the Government. • It is indispensable that the organization must have a distinct public service to fulfill, and performs successive acts to realize it, these are what make it similar to the natural or juridical person, and thus endow it with capacity to succeed. A provincial governor cannot be regarded as a public establishment and thus may accept and receive a testamentary devise in trust without the previous approval of the central government. Approval of Government The approval required by the article must be given by the head of the department to which the public establishment belongs or is subordinate. Article 1047 Acceptance by wife • Article 114 which provides that “the wife cannot, without the husband’s consent, acquire any property by gratuitous title except from her ascendants, descendants, parents-in-law, and collateral relatives within the fourth degree was left out from the Family Code, and can be considered no longer in force. (A Filipina cannot be presumed that every donation or legacy in her favor hides an infidelity on her part. Donations made to induce her to commit marital infidelity may be prevented by the application of Article 1028 in relation of Article 739). • The married woman, this, can now freely accept inheritance without need for the husband’s consent. Article 1048 Article 1049 Article 1050 Tacit acceptance of inheritance 1. When heir sells, donates, or assigns his right: This is considered an acceptance because it involves alienation, and no one can transmit anything that is not his own. When he therefore, disposes of the same without express acceptance, it can necessarily be inferred that he considers the property as his own. 2. When the heir renounces it for the benefit of one or more heirs o The act of renunciation, being made in favor of only one or more, but not of all the heirs indiscriminately, really involves a cession. It is an act of disposition. o Even if the renunciation is made in favor of all, but such persons are not the ones called by the law in case of intestacy, it will remain to be a cession, an act of disposition. 28
3. When the renunciation is in favor of all heirs indiscriminately for consideration:
The repudiation made for a valuable considerations is not a renunciation at all. The law considers renunciation with consideration as an acceptance, not only when made in favor of the co-heirs, but also when in favor of substitutes, or of persons called to the inheritance by virtue of intestate succession or the right of accretion. 4. Other acts of tacit acceptance o When the heir demands partition of the inheritance o When he performs such like acts which show the clear intention to accept o Under Article 1057, a failure to signify acceptance or repudiation within 30 days after an order of distribution by the probate court (shall be deemed accepted) Acts not constituting acceptance • Where the law expressly mentions cases from which acceptance may not be inferred o Repudiation without consideration in favor of the persons to whom his share will pass in the absence of the heir repudiating o When the heir gratuitously renounces his part in favor of all the persons to whom the share will pass by right of accretion, substitution, or by intestate succession. • Where the acts which the heir has the right to perform without the character of an heir o When an heir acts as administrator of the estate (where he may be obligated to administer the property, pay debts, collect credits, bring suits, etc) o Acts that the heir may perform in the interest of the firm, where he is a partner of the deceased, or co-ownership, though they necessarily affect the property of the deceased o When the heir continues possessing the property of the deceased after the death of the latter • Acts of mere administration and preservation do not, by themselves, amount to acceptance; as the property of the deceased must not be abandoned o Keeping of documents o Harvesting of fruits of the estate o Deposit of jewels and other valuables in some institution for safekeeping o The inventory of the property o The repair of buildings, etc. Article 1051 Formality of repudiation • Repudiation must be in a public or authentic writing or one presented to the judge • Act of repudiation is more solemn than the act of acceptance o Repudiation makes the transmission of the right of succession ineffective, producing thereby more violent and disturbing consequences which the law cannot permit by mere implications or presumptions. o Repudiation involves acts of disposition and alienation, acts which by their nature require formalities. o Publicity of repudiation is needed for the benefit of the creditors and the public interest. o Repudiation opens the way for other heirs, and it is necessary that this calling of other heirs must be based on certainty. Authentic instrument • Authentic instrument refers to document distinct and apart from a public or notarial instrument, as the Code could not have used the term “authentic” as a mere synonym or surplusage. • Authentic instrument refers to one whose genuineness is admitted or clearly proved. It is sufficient that repudiation appear in writing in an indubitable manner. Article 1052 Acceptance by creditors • Repudiation affects the co-heirs and his creditors. His co-heirs will gratuitously receive more property while his creditors will necessarily be prejudiced, thus the law choose to favor the creditors. • The acceptance shall benefit the creditor only insofar as it covers the amount of their credits. The excess shall be adjudicated to the person to whom it may pertain under the law. 29
Requisites to entitle creditor to accept for the heir 1. There must be a repudiation by the heir-debtor in legal form, a repudiation valid in law 2. There must credits existing against the heir who repudiates (it is not necessary that there be many creditors, one will suffice) 3. Judicial authorization must be obtained before the creditors may accept for the debtor 4. Act of repudiation prejudices the claims of the creditors. When repudiation is not prejudicial to creditors • When creditors become such after the repudiation. • When the inheritance is useless to the heir who repudiates, in the sense that he would receive nothing because the debts of the estate exceeds its assets. • When the heir-debtor is solvent and has sufficient proportion of which the creditor may recover what is due them. Nature of creditor’s acceptance • The acceptance of the creditors does not annul or revoke the repudiation made by the heir. • The repudiation is simply rescinded to an extent sufficient to protect the interest of the creditors. Article 1053 Article 1054 Article 1055 Heir in two capacities • Repudiation of express will includes that of the presumed will: When an heir is such by will and by law, and he repudiates the inheritance as a testamentary heir, he is considered to have repudiated the inheritance also as legal heir. (The act of repudiation reveals that the heir does not appreciate the will of the testator and thus does not deserve to likewise become a succession in intestacy). • Repudiation of the presumed will still leaves the express will open to respect: When the heir repudiates as a legal heir, he may later on accept as a testamentary heir. (This is by reason of delicacy, where a person may not desire to succeed by intestacy, but willing to accept as testamentary heir in order not to contradict the will of the dead. (X – A (heir), A died, can heirs of A inherit from X? – depends if A accepted or repudiated. If A did not accept, it cannot be inferred that he repudiated. If he repudiated, the heirs cannot inherit. If X represented as Compulsory Heir, can he accept as Voluntary Heir? – yes, as long as he does not know that he is a Voluntary Heir.) Article 1056 Irrevocability of acceptance • Acceptance or repudiation, once made, affects either the perfection of rights in the heir or the vesting of rights in others. To allow the heir to change his mind and revoke his acceptance or repudiation would lead to confusion and serious results. • Exceptions: o When the acceptance or repudiation suffers from any of the vices which annul consent (Article 1330, the vices which annul consent are mistake or error, violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud). o When an unknown will appears. Effect of mistake
When error refers to the substance of the thing, the consent given has no effect. (e.g. relative is alive; else, if dead, the consent is vitiated by mistake) • When error refers to the principal conditions of the thing, the acceptance or repudiation will likewise be without effect. The error must be based on facts and circumstances which the heir could not have known notwithstanding due diligence on his part. These are errors in the appraisement, errors arising from false hopes or fears, from risks and other circumstances, occurring before the act of acceptance for repudiation. Effect of violence or intimidation 30
• • •
The act of repudiation or acceptance through violence or intimidation is without effect, as consent is non-existent. Violence refers to the external acts imposed upon the heir to accept or repudiate. Intimidation works internally upon the mind of the heir forcing him to accept or repudiate.
Effect of fraud • The fraud must be practiced by a third person (creditor, legatee, co-heir, or stranger) • The fraud must be serious and must consist of insidious words or machinations without which the heir would not have accepted or repudiated the inheritance. Appearance of unknown will • When the acceptance or repudiation may be impugned o When the will institutes a person other than the one who has repudiated or accepted (the person having no right in the inheritance cannot accept or repudiate the same) o If the will grants additional legacies or revokes some (the acceptance or repudiation may be revoked as the acts were made in the absence of the new charges or where the legacies are revoked) • When the acceptance or repudiation may not be impugned o When the unknown will only clarify doubtful clause o When the unknown will modifies insignificant details of a previous one. Other causes of revocation • The acceptance or repudiation by a person who is not entitled to the inheritance has no legal effect. • When the institution depends o Upon the fulfillment of a suspensive condition which is not realized o Upon the birth of a posthumous child who is not born or is born dead Article 1057 USON VS NEBRADA 92 PHIL 530 Facts: Faustino Nebrada upon hi death left 5 parcels of land and leaving his only legitimate heir, Uson his wife. However, Uson claimed that upon Nebrada’s death, de Rosario a common-law wife illegally took possession of the said parcel of land. Del Rosario claimed that before Nebrada’s death, spouses executed a public document agreeing to separate as husband and wife and also renouncing her right to inherit any other property that may be left by her husband upon his death. Trial Court ruled in favor of Uson, therefore ordering del Rosario to restore the ownership and possession of said lands. Issue: whether the provisions of the NCC regarding the successional rights of illegitimate children which were declared for the first time be given retroactive effect? Held: No, such provision should not be given retroactive effect. The right of ownership of the lawful wife of a decedent who had died before the NCC took effect became vested upon his death and is so because of the imperative provision of the law which commands that the right of succession are transmitted from the moment of death. The new right recognized by the NCC, in favor of the illegitimate children of the deceased cannot be asserted to the impairment of the vested right of the lawful wife over ht elands in dispute. While Article 2253 of the NCC provides that the rights which were declared for the first time shall have retroactive effect even through the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the former legislation. Yet this is so only when the new rights do not prejudice any vested or acquired rights of the same origin. DE BORJA VS DE BORJA 46 SCRA 579 Facts: Francisco De Borja, upon the death of his wife, filed a petition for the probate of her will and after probate, was appointed executor and administrator. Jose De Borja, thereon, was appointed co-administrator of the testate estate of his mother while the widower allegedly took into himself a second wife, Tasiana Ongsingco. Upon Francisco’s death, Tasiana instituted testate proceedings and was appointed special administrator. The relationship between the children of the first marriage and Tasiana has been plagued with several court suits and in order to put an end to all these litigations a compromise agreement was entered by and between the heirs of Francisco by the first marriage and the heirs of Francisco by the second marriage. Issue: The doctrine in Guevarra vs Guevarra which held that he presentation of a will for probate is mandatory and that the settlement and distribution of an estate on the basis of intestacy. 31
When the decedent left a will is against the law and public policy is not applicable when the clear object of settlement was merely the conveyance by the heir of any and all their individual share and interest, actual or eventual, in the estate of the decedent and not the distribution of the said estate. As a hereditary share in a decedent’s estate is transmitted or immediately from the moment of death, there is no legal bar to a successor disposing his or her hereditary share immediately after such death, even after the actual extent of such share is not yet determined until the subsequent liquidation of the estate. Of course, the effect of such alienation is deemed limited to what is ultimately adjudicated to vendor heir. BONILLA VS BARCENA 71 SCRA 491 Facts: A civil action to quiet title over certain parcels of land was instituted by Fortunata Barcena. A motion to dismiss the complaint was filed by the defendants on the ground that Fortunata is dead therefore has no legal capacity to sue. Counsel for the plaintiff asked for the substitution of her minor children and her husband. The Court, however, dismissed the case on the basis that a dead person cannot be a real person in interest and has no legal personality to sue. Issue: whether the heirs may be parties in interest who may substitute the deceased in an action to quiet title over certain parcels of land? Held: Article 777 of the Civil Code provides that he right to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. From the moment of death of the decedent, the heirs become the absolute owners of the property subject to the rights and obligations of the decedent, and they cannot be deprived of their right thereto, except as provided for by the law. The moment of death is the determining factor when the heirs acquire a definite right to the inheritance, whether such right be pure or contingent. The right of the heirs to the property of the deceased vest in them even before judicial declaration of their being heirs in the testate and intestate proceedings. When Fortunata died, her claim on right to the parcels of land in litigation was not extinguished but was transmitted to her heirs upon her death. The heirs have acquired interest in the properties in litigation and become parties in interest in the case. There is therefore no reason for the court not to allow the substitution as they are now the real parties in interest in the case at bar. BOUGH VS MODESTO 47 OG 97 9 3013 Facts: On March 4, 1936 Bruno Modesto, ____ Bough and Restituto Anapol executed a private document whereby Modesto agreed that he would share with Restituto Anapol and Bough whatever property he might inherit from his deceased wife. It was provided in such document that the properties were to be divided and proportioned 1/8 each provided that Restituto pay the expense to be incurred in connection with the litigation that Modesto was facing. Bough and Restituto instituted the present action to secure judgment ordering Modesto to divide the properties left by his wife, in the manner and form provided in the private document. Modesto, in his defense alleged that the ____ had failed to comply with the terms and conditions specified in the contract and that the said contract was not contrary to law, morals and public policy. Issue: whether the contract, the object of which is Modesto’s inheritance is valid and binding between the parties? Held: The contract is valid. It is well settled that rights by inheritance are acquired and transmitted upon the death of the decedent. If this is so, it must necessarily follow that it is perfectly legal for an heir to enter into a contract of the nature of the document in this case, the understanding to be, of course, that the contract would be effective only if and when he is really declared an heir and only as regards any property that might be adjudicated to him as such. It cannot be said that the disputed contract deals and interferes with properties in Custodia legis because the reasonable interpretation that must be given to it that contemplates and provides for the partition only of such property as may be adjudicated to Modesto if when he is declared to be an heir of his deceased wife, the claims of the partition to be made in due course, that is through the probate court. It is the present action that should not be considered strictly as one for partition but only as an action intended to determine the right of the parties under the terms of the contract. BORROMEO-HERRERA VS BORROMEO 152 SCRA 171 32
Facts: Vito Borromeo, a widower and permanent resident of Cebu died without heirs but leaving properties in Cebu. Jose Junguera filed with the CFI Cebu a petition for the probate of a one-page document as the last will and testament left by said deceased, but the same was found to be a forged document. The testate proceedings was converted into an intestate proceeding as several parties filed their claims alleging that they are the heirs of the intestate of Vito Borromeo. On April 10, 1969 the trial court invoking Article 972 of the Civil Code issued an order declaring nine persons to the exclusion of others as intestate heirs of Vito. The Court also ordered that the assets of Vito be divided in 4/9 and 5/9 groups and distributed equally. On April 25, 1969 Fortunato who had earlier claimed an heir under the forged will, filed a motion praying that he be declared as one of the heirs of the deceased, alleging that he is an illegitimate son and entitled to receive a legitime like all other forced heir. In his motion for reconsideration, Fortunato attached a waiver of hereditary rights of 5 of the deceased heirs and the latter having agreed to designate their share to the former. Issue: whether hereditary rights may be waived before there has been acceptance or repudiation of an inheritance which the heir intends to transfer. Held: The prevailing jurisprudence on waiver of hereditary rights is that the properties included in an existing inheritance cannot be considered as belonging to third persons with respect to the heirs who by fiction of law continue the personality of t former. Nor does such properties have the character of a future property because the heirs acquires a right to succeed from the moment of death of the deceased until the heirs enter into possession of the hereditary property, but the acceptance in any event acts form the moment of death in accordance with the provision of the Civil Code. The right is vested although conditioned upon the adjudication of the corresponding hereditary partition. The heirs therefore could waive their hereditary rights even if the order to partition the estate was yet to be issued. E. Kinds of Succession Article 778, NCC: Succession may be: 1. Testamentay 2. legal or Intestate; or 3. Mixed 1. Testamentary Article 779 Testamentary succession preferred • One of the most fundamental principles in the law of succession is that the will of the testator, expressed in the form required by the law and exercised within the limits laid down by the law, must be recognized as the supreme law in the succession. • Testamentary succession is preferred over intestate or legal succession. 2. Legal and Intestate • •
When there is no valid testament expressing the decedent’s will, then his property must be distributed according to the provisions of law on intestate or legal succession. These provisions will also take effect, even in the presence of a will, if such will does not validly dispose of all the property of the deceased.
Article 960 (5. happening of a resolutory condition) Even if will is inoperative, there may have been legal effects to the rights of others Deceased without a will • The most general and simplest form of intestate succession. • The law gives the deceased the right to make his last will and testament. Failure by the deceased to do so, the law enters and disposes of it for him by assigning it to his nearest relatives, taking for granted that he would have made the same assignment if he had a will. 33
This excludes the cases when a person dies with a will that lacks the legal requisites or a will the whereabouts of which are not known.
When will is void A void will has no legal existence. A person who dies leaving a void will dies without a will. A will can be said to be void if there exists any cause of disallowing it. When will losses validity • The difference between a void will and a will that later lost its validity lies in the fact that the first refers to a will that has never been valid, that is null and void ab origine, ipso facto, while the second refers to a valid will which later lost its validity. • “Validity” must be interpreted as “efficacy”. A will, executed by a testator having full legal capacity and under the conditions and requisites imposed by law, is valid and never ceases to be such. It however may los its efficacy in a later time. • “loss of validity” does not refer to a will revoked by a subsequent valid will, but a will made ineffective by a second will without invalidating the first. Will does not institute heir • A will which does not contain an institution of an heir (taken generally, and including devisees and legatees), as to the whole or part of the estate, alone does not invalidate the will (See Article 841). • Absence of institution of heirs includes cases where the institution of heirs is void. • In such cases, the testamentary dispositions made in accordance with law shall be carried out, and the remainder of the property shall be carried out, and the remainder of the property shall pass to the legal heirs. Will dispose of property partially • Legal succession will take place only as to that part of which the testator has not disposed. • It includes cases where the dispositions of certain property or portions do not become effective because they are void according to law. (e.g. dispositions during testator’s last illness in favor of a priest; see Article 1027) • When the identity of the person designated as an heir, devisee, or legatee cannot be determined, the property intended for such person must be distributed as in case of intestacy. • Dispositions according to Article 846 is void. (Article 846 provides “Every dispositions in favor of an unknown person shall be void, unless by some event or circumstance his identity becomes certain. However, a disposition in favor of a definite class or group of persons shall be valid”. Non-fulfillment of condition • The condition referred to is suspensive and not resolutory, as suspensive conditions rise to rights and his non-fulfillment prevents the acquisition of such rights by the persons conditionally instituted. The property or portion which should have passed to them, if the condition happened, is thus left in the sphere of intestate succession. • Intestacy. When the event upon which a conditional legacy depends does not happen, the legacy passes to the persons named by law to succeed the testator, i.e. legal or intestate succession takes place as to the legacy. • No intestacy. If a substitute has been appointed or the right of accretion exists between the conditional heir or legatee or devisee and another, there will be no intestacy although the suspensive conditions arise. The property or portion of the conditional heir who does not succeed passes to the substitute or co-heir. Predecease or repudiation • Intestacy will not follow from the prior of the heir or his renunciation of the inheritance o If the testator has provided for substitution or o Where there is a co-heir in whose favor the right of accretion exists. Incapacity of heir instituted The instituted heir being incapable, the property assigned to him is left without any person to inherit, unless the right of accretion or substitution obtains. Other causes of intestacy • Happening of the resolutory condition, which sets aside the institution of the heir, devisee or legatee, and thus gives rise to intestate succession. 34
Upon the expiration of the term or period of the institution; when the heir, devisee or legatee (under Article 885) is instituted up to and until a day certain. The non-compliance or the impossibility of complying with the will of the testator.
Preterition – the annulment of the institution of the heir, distribution through legal succession. 3. Mixed Article 780
Testamentary succession and intestate or legal succession are compatible with each other. Mixed succession happens where there is testamentary succession as to the part validly disposed of, and at the same time, a legal or intestate succession, as to the part not validly disposed of, or to which no heir is designated by the testator.
There can be an heir, not a legatee or devisee – right of usufruct. 4. Contractual •
The marriage settlements, which affianced persons are authorized to execute before the celebration of the marriage, stipulating conditions for the conjugal partnership with respect to present and future property, provides for an exceptional case in which succession may be conferred by a contract. The donation with respect to future property in the marriage settlements is in reality a disposition mortis causa, but not executed in the form of a will. It constitutes, not only an exception in the prohibition in Article 1347, but a real case of contractual succession.
Article 130 Article 1347 Article 754 Article 84, FC TESTAMENTARY SUCCESSION II. WILLS A. Definition Article 783 Definition of Will • Roman law: The legal declaration if a man’s intentions, which he will to be performed after his death. • Popular sense: A disposition, made by a competent testator in the form prescribed by law, of property over which he has legal power of disposition, which disposition is of such nature as to take effect at the death of the testator. • Generally accepted definition: A will is an instrument by which a person makes a disposition of his property to take effect after his death, and which is, in its own nature, ambulatory and revocable during his life. (This definition is criticized in other jurisdictions, which recognize oral or nuncupative wills). • Tolentino: A will is a personal, solemn, revocable and free act by which a capacitated person disposes of his property and rights and declares or compiles with duties to take effect after his death. Non-dispositive Writings • American law: Disposition of property is not an essential characteristic of a will. o An instrument has been held valid as a will, which simply names an executor or administrator of the estate, or merely provides for the payment of debts which the 35
law would require the personal representative to pay even if the testator died without a will is held similarly. o A will may be limited to extra-patrimonial dispositions provided by law (e.g. disposition of the patria potestas of the widow in case of remarriage; or the acknowledgment of a natural child; or the form and manner of the funeral of the testator). o The dispositions, in some cases, may consist merely of moral advice, or directions as to the conduct of the heirs and the education of the children (which have no juridical importance). Philippine Civil Code: The concept of a will is limited to a disposition of property to take effect upon and after death o A will is a specie of conveyance whereby one person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law to control to a certain degree the disposition of his property, to take effect after his death. o It is only when the will disposes of property either directly or indirectly, that it has to be probated (See Article 838). o When there is no disposition of property, although the instrument may be considered as a will, it does not have to be probated, its dispositions which are provided by law (e.g. patria potestas, acknowledgment of natural child) can be given effect even without probating the will.
Exclusion of heir • The law permits a testator to disinherit a compulsory heir for any of the causes provided by law, and the disinheritance is expressly required to be made in a will (See Article 916) • A valid disinheritance is in effect a disposition of the property of the testator in favor of those who would succeed in the absence of the disinherited heir. • Unless the will is probated, the disinheritance cannot be given effect. B. Characteristics Article 783 Characteristics of Wills 1. It is a purely personal act 2. It is a free act, without violence, fraud or deceit (individual act) 3. It disposes of property 4. It is essentially revocable 5. It is formally executed (formal art/ solemn art) 6. The testator has testamentary capacity (essential requirement) 7. It is a unilateral act 8. It is an act mortis causa, or takes effect upon the death of the testator 9. It is a purely statutory right (constitutional) Revocability: Up to the moment of death, the mind of the testator may still change, and therefore, revoke what he has already expressed as his will and substitute therefor his new wishes or desires, inasmuch as that which has been previously expressed has not yet taken effect. Not necessarily gratuitous: A will is not necessarily an act of liberality or generosity. The inheritance may be so burdened with legacies that all the benefit to the heir is nullified. In some cases, there may even be no intent of liberality, such as in legacies in payment of debt. Article 839 (3), (4) Article based on Rule 76 of the Rules of Court Section 9, Rule 76: Grounds for disallowing will – the will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases: 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 it was executed under duress, or the influence of fear, or threats ; 4. if it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the part of the beneficiary, or of some other person for his benefit; 36
5. if the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick, and he did not intend that the instrument should be his will at the time of fixing his signature thereto. Denial of probate A will should not be disallowed on dubious grounds. Article 828 Revocability of wills • Revocability is an inseparable quality of every will. Wills by their nature are ambulatory and operative until the death of the testator. It may be altered, revoked or superseded at any time. • A will may be revoked at pleasure. Revocation is an act of the mind, terminating the potential capacity of the will to operate at the death of the testator, manifested by some outward and visible act or sign, symbolic thereof. Revocation and nullity distinguished Revocation and nullity of wills have the same purpose of depriving a last will of legal effect. 1. Revocation • An act of the testator • Presupposes a valid act • Takes place during the lifetime of the testator • The testator cannot renounce the right to revoke 2. Nullity • Proceeds from the law • Inherent in the testament, be it an intrinsic or extrinsic defect • Invoked after his death by his intestate or compulsory heirs • Nullity of a will can be disregarded by the heirs through voluntary compliance therewith. Article 796 Capacity to make a will • The law presumes capacity to make a will • Mere weakness of the mind or partial imbecility from disease of body or from age does not render a person incapable of making a will. • “Persons” as used herein means only natural persons. Corporations never leave orphans or widows to mourn at their funeral, and probate courts have no jurisdiction over corporate properties. Spendthrifts When a spendthrifts or prodigal is under the guardianship, he can make a will, there being no disqualification provided by law. Civil interdiction A person under civil interdiction can make a will. He is disqualified for dispositions of property only by act inter vivos but not by act mortis causa. Article 797 Computation of age • The law requires the testator to be 18 years of age or over • The Anglo-American jurisprudence, in the absence of statutory provisions on the manner of computation, sustains the view that the required age is reached at the commencement of the day preceding the anniversary of the birthday. • The Anglo-American __ should be followed in Philippine jurisprudence since the present law on the capacity of the testators of Anglo-American origin, and the interpretation given in the jurisdiction of origin should be observed here. This construction, further, is more in accord with the liberal policy of the law to presume capacity to make a will. Article 798 Article 777 Article 818 37
Background of provision • The Fuere Real (Ley 9, Tit. 6, Libro 3) allowed this kind of will between husband and wife, if they have no children. • The Partidas (Ley 35, Tit. 11, Partida 5) prohibited the same because it might lead to the commission of parricide. • Article 669 of the Civil Code was enacted, embodying the provisions of the Partidas, and making the prohibition more extensive. • To eliminate all doubts and to establish a definite policy, Article 818 was inserted in the New Civil Code. Concept of Joint and Mutual Wills 1. A Joint Will is one where the same instrument is made the will of two or more persons and is jointly signed by them. Such wills are usually executed to make testamentary dispositions of joint property. 2. Mutual Wills are separate wills of two persons, which are reciprocal in their provisions. 3. A Will that its both joint and mutual is one executed jointly by two or more persons, the provisions of which are reciprocal, and which shows on its face that the devises are made on in consideration of the other. Reasons for prohibition of a joint will 1. A will is a purely personal and unilateral act, and this is defeated if two or more persons make their wills in the same instrument. 2. it is contrary to the revocable character of a will (if one testator revokes his will by burning the instrument, the other testator would have no document left containing his testamentary disposition. 3. A joint will, if mutual or reciprocal, may expose a testator to undue influence, and may even tempt one of the testators to kill the other. Scope of prohibition • The real prohibition in the Code refers to the execution of a joint will, or the expression by two or more testators of their wills in a single document or text and by one act. • The law does not invalidate two distinct wills, independent of each other which are written on the same sheet of paper, one on each side, or even on the same side but separated by a line between. Article 784 Prohibited Delegation • It is the making of the disposition, the expression of the will of the testator that is not subject to delegation. The testator cannot substitute the mind or will of another for his own. • The more mechanical act of drafting the will may be done by a third person, inasmuch as such act does not constitute a delegation of the will or disposition. Article 785 Reason for provision The matters mentioned are testamentary in nature, and constitute expressions of the will or disposition of the testator. Being so, they cannot be delegated to a third person. Article 786 No delegation • There is no delegation of the will or testamentary disposition in the cases contemplated by the article. • The testator has expressed his will by leaving specific property or sums of money in general to specified classes or causes. • The third person entrusted to make the distribution does not make any disposition, but simply carries out details in the execution of the testamentary disposition made by the testator himself in his will. Article 787 38
Reason for the provision To delegate to a third person the power to determine whether a testamentary disposition is operative is in effect delegating the power to make the testamentary disposition; which is not permitted. Effect of prohibited disposition • It is not only the delegation which is void • The testamentary disposition, whose effectivity will depend upon the determination of the third person, is itself void. C. Interpretation of Wills Article 788 Interpretation favoring validity • Substance over form: Substance rather than form must be regarded, and the instrument should receive the most favorable construction to accomplish the purpose intended by the testator. The object of the construction of a will is to sustain it if legally possible and not to seek flaws in the instrument and declare it invalid. • Testator’s Intent: The intention of the testator is the controlling factor in the juridical relations arising from the will. It is thus necessary to interpret that intention rationally and in such manner as not to render ineffective the testamentary disposition. • Presumption: The presumption is that the testator intended a lawful thing, and courts will not seek an interpretation that will nullify his will and any part thereof. • Interpretation that will give effect to the will: If the language used is reasonably susceptible to 2 different interpretations, one which will defeat and the other which will sustain the testamentary disposition, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the construction which will give effect to the will, rather than the one which will defeat it. • When language ambiguous: When the language of the testamentary disposition is plain and unambiguous, courts are not permitted to wrest it from its natural meaning in order to save it from nullity. Article 789 Kinds of ambiguity in a will 1. Patent or extrinsic ambiguity: one which appears upon the face of the instrument 2. Latent or intrinsic ambiguity: one which cannot be seen from a mere perusal or reading of the will, but which appears only upon consideration of extrinsic circumstances. When latent or intrinsic ambiguity arise 1. when the will names a person as the beneficiary of a gift, or a thing as the subject matter of such gift, and there are two or more persons that answer to such name, or two or more things that meet such description. 2. where there is a misdescription of the beneficiary or of the thing given as a gift. Parol or extrinsic evidence • the Philippine Code, in the present article, does not make any distinction between patent and latent ambiguities insofar as the admissibility of parol or extrinsic evidence is concerned. • Extrinsic evidence is admissible to show the situation of the testator and all the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding him at the time of the making of the will, for the purpose of explaining or resolving a patent ambiguity. • Evidence of the state of his property, the condition of his family, etc., besides the evidence of the circumstances surrounding the testator, may be introduced for the court to view the matter in the same light and the point of view as the testator himself. Testator’s declaration • the extrinsic evidence cannot include oral declarations of the testator. Such oral declarations are inadmissible whether made before or after the execution of the will. • The reason for the inadmissibility of oral declaration is that the lips of the testators have been sealed by death and therefore can no longer deny or affirm the truth of what witnesses may say he declared. To admit such would create confusion and give rise to false claims. • By implication, written declarations made by the testator outside the will, are admissible. 39
Article 790 Intent of testator paramount • The supreme law in succession is the intent of the testator. • All rules of construction are designated to ascertain and give effect to that intention. • It is only when the intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public policy that it cannot be given effect. Literal meaning • Respect for the will of the testator constitutes the principal basis of the rules which the law prescribes for the correct interpretation of all the clauses of the will. • Words and provisions written in the will must be plainly construed in order to avoid a violation of his intention and real purpose. • Questions in court arising in connection with the execution of and compliance with the testamentary provisions shall be adjusted in harmony with the plain and literal meaning of the language of the testator, except where it clearly appears that his intention was other than that actually expressed. • A translation submitted to the court, 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. Technical sense of the words • A distinction is made in interpretation is often made between a will drafted by skilled testamentary draftsmen (e.g. lawyers) and a will prepared by persons who have no knowledge of the law. • Words found in the first are to be construed with some strictness, emphasis being placed upon their accepted technical meaning. • Words found in the second are to be interpreted liberally with reference to their popular meaning, or the meaning which they commonly have to a person in the situation of the one who used them. Interpretation of holographic wills • Holographic wills, being usually prepared by one who is not learned in the law, construed more liberally than ones drawn by an expert. • The words and phrases employed in such instruments should be interpreted according to their ordinary acceptation, even though they may have different technical meaning, where the circumstances surrounding the execution of the will indicate that the testator so intended. Article 791 Effectivity of all parts • Effect should, if possible, be given to all words, clauses, and provisions of the will, if they are not inconsistent with each other or with the general intent of the whole will taken in its entirety. • It is presumed that every word or clause was intended by the testator to have some meaning. No word or clause should be rejected if it is at all possible to give a reasonable effect. • No part of the will should be discarded unless in conflict with some other part, in which case that part will be enforce which expresses the intention of the testator. • Where 2 constructions are possible, the one disregarding a word or clause of the will, and the other giving effect to the will as a whole, the latter interpretation must be followed. Prevention of intestacy • Where a will has been executed, the reasonable and natural presumption is that the testator intends to dispose of all his property. • The presumption against the intestacy is so strong that courts will adopt any reasonable construction of a will in order to avoid it. Courts will give the broadest meaning to the words of bequest when it is necessary to do so in order to prevent intestacy. Article 792 Article 793 40
Observations on article • The will of the person transmits only properly owned by him at the time of the making so such will; properly acquired thereafter is transmitted only when it expressly appears in the will that such is his intention. • This is contrary to principles expressed in other provisions of the Code. It contravenes the concepts of heir and of inheritance in the Code. • The grafting of the provision (taken from the Coe of Civil Procedure, which is of American extraction), should be construed (to save the law from being inconsistent with itself) as referring only to devisees and legacies, for these are the testamentary disposition contemplated in the Code of Civil Procedure. • Even with the present construction, the present article conflicts with Article 930. the conflict is irreconcilable. Article 794 Intention of testator • When the testator does not state the extent of the interest he gives in the legatee or devisee or the property transmitted, it is understood that his whole interest passes, no more and no less. • But when the testator, under Article 794, may manifest his intention to convey a less interest, and under Article 929, he may expressly convey a larger interest. In such case, the intention of the testator will be followed. Article 930 Things belonging to another • Article refers to a legacy or devise of a determinable and specific thing totally belonging to a stranger at the time the will was made. • If the testator did not know at the time the will was made that the thing belonged to another, the legacy or device is void. • The ignorance of the testator is presumed by law. Subsequent change of ownership • if the testator did not know, at the time of making the will, that the thing belonged to another, but subsequently it I is acquired either by himself or by an heir, devisee or legatee, the devise or legacy becomes valid. • If the subsequent change of ownership transferred the thing to the very person to whom it was being given as a devise or legacy, and by lucrative title, or to another third person, the legacy is void. SOLLA VS. ASCUETA 49 PHIL 33 Facts: upon the death of Maria Solla, she left a will which provides for the following: “I also desire and order that there be given in the way legacies to my brothers and sisters, to my nephews and distributed in the following manner xx. I desire and hereby name Leandro Serrano, my grandson, as my universal heir xx, and I desire him to comply with the obligation to give and deliver to the parish priest xx a sufficient sum of money necessary for a yearly novena, ordinary masses for the repose of my soul and those of my parents, husband and children and other relatives. I repeat and insist that my heirs shall execute and comply with this request without fail, and at the hour of his death he will insist that his heirs comply with all that I have ordered.” The possession of the property left by Maria was immediately taken by Leandro Serrano and continued in possession until the latter’s death. During the lifetime of Serrano, no claim was made by the legatees in said will. Hence, the trial court ordered the executor of Leandro, Simeon Serrano, to deliver to the petitioners their respective shares as a legacy. Issue: whether the court may depart from the strict wordings of the will to give effect the true intention of the testator. Held: where the testator’s intention is manifested from the context of the will and surrounding circumstance, but is obscure by inept and inaccurate modes of expression, the language will be subordinated to the intention, and in order to give effect to such intention, the court may depart from the strict wording and read a word in a phrase in a sense different from the strict wording 41
on that which is ordinarily attributed to it and for such purpose alter the language of the will, such as restricting its application on supplying the omitted word or phrase. It clearly appears that it was Maria Solla’s intention and the letter should comply with her pious orders and that she did not mean her orders concerning her legacies. D. Law governing form Compliance with Statute • The legislature has the power the power to prescribe the formalities to be observed in the execution of a will, and by doing so does not interfere with the rights of the individual to dispose of his property. These technical mandates must be complied with. It is not the intention of the testator or attesting witnesses that matter but the intention of the legislature. o When a person fails to satisfy the statutory requirements as to execution the document will be denied probate. o When a person omits to perform some prescribed act, although the omission may be accidental and contrary to his intentions, the instrument cannot stand as a valid will. • All the formalities required by the stature are of equal importance and the courts have no discretion to dispense with them, or supply a defect caused by a failure to comply with some of them. • The rule that the intention of the testator must govern, in the interpretation of wills, does not apply to their execution. • Parol or extrinsic evidence is not admissible to show that a decedent intended to execute his will according to all the formalities prescribed by statute. Objective of formalities Liberalization of the manner of the execution of wills with the end in view of giving the testator more freedom in expressing his last wishes but with sufficient safeguards and restrictions to prevent the commission of fraud and the exercise of undue and improper pressure and influence upon the testator. 1. As to time of execution Article 795, NCC Law on formal validity • The law governing the execution and effect of wills may be amended by the legislature subsequent to the death of the testator. This, however, does not affect the operation of the will. • As vested rights are not permitted to be taken away without compensation and due process of law, it follows of necessity that if the will or any gift in it was invalid when the testator died, no subsequent state can cure the defect. • If the will was valid, or any gift in it took effect on the death of the testator, the rights of the devisee or legatee cannot be divested by any law passed afterwards, changing the requirements for wills, or for the validity of any gifts by them. • As there is no vested right in the heirs before the death of the testator, cannot constitute a deprivation of property without due process of law. • Given in the present article, however, the validity of the execution of a will is controlled by the statute enacted subsequent to the execution and prior to the death of the testator, changing the rules respecting the form of the instrument, etc., has no retrospective effect. Law on intrinsic validity • Intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. • The place of execution has no effect whatsoever upon the validity of the provisions of the will. • The law may be changed after the will has already been made, and before the death of the testator. In such case, the law at the time of testator’s death will apply. It is the law at the time when the succession opens which must determine the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will, because it is at this time that the rights are transmitted to the heirs, 42
devisees, or legatees. The principle is embodied in the transitory provisions of the present Code (Article 2263). Foreign law has to be proven Foreign laws have to be proven like any other fact in dispute. They may not be taken judicial notice of except when said laws are already within the actual knowledge of the court and they have been actually ruled upon in other cases before it and none of the parties concerned do not claim otherwise. 2. As to place of execution Article 17 Execution of contracts • A contract executed in a foreign state should be tested as to its formal validity by the laws of that country, and not by the provisions of the Civil Code. • Matters bearing upon the execution, interpretation, and validity of a contract are determined by the law of the place where the contract is made. Performance and enforcement • Matters connected with the performance of contracts are regulated by the law prevailing the place of performance. • Remedies, admissibility of evidence, and the statute of limitations, depend upon the law of the place where the action is brought. Foreign judgments Litigants by mutual agreement cannot compel the courts to approve of their actions or permit the personal relations of citizens of the Philippines to be affected by the decrees of foreign courts in a manner which Philippine government believes to be contrary to public order and good morals. Validity and effect of obligations • The Code fails to mention which shall govern the validity and effects of the obligations • Flore’s doctrince: o The designated by the parties shall be applied o If there is no stipulation on the matter, and the parties are of the same nationality, their national law shall be applied o If still not so, the law of the place of perfection of the obligation shall govern its essence and nature, and the law of the place of the performance shall govern its fulfillment. o If these places are not specified and they cannot be deducted from the nature and circumstances of the obligation, then the law of the domicile of the passive subject shall apply. Article 810 Holographic Will defined • One executed by the testator himself, writing, dating and signing it by his own hand, without the attestation of any third persons. • In the execution of the holographic will, the testator may either divulge its contents or keep them secret as he may please, and thus, he may execute what other codes call public, notarial, mystic, secret or closed will. Advantages and disadvantages Advantages (Manresa, Sanchez Roman,Planiol, Valverde): a. it is simple and easy to make, convenient for those who have no means to employ lawyers or notaries, or who are timid and want to read and reread their wills before signing them, or who have only very little property to dispose of. b.
Disadvantages (Scaevola, Buron, Morales, Comas, and Borarull): a. there is no guaranty as to the capacity of the testator b. there is no protection against violence, intimidation, or undue influence, which may never be known in case of immediate death of the testator.
this c. it may not faithfully express the will of 43
jurisdiction to set down their last wishes.
the testator due to faulty expressions.
c. it guarantees the absolute secrecy of the testamentary dispositions
d. it can be easily falsified by expert forgers, because no witness or public official intervenes in its execution. e. for the same reason, it can be easily concealed.
When testator is blind • Valverde and Caslan: A blind person cannot make a holographic will, even if he can write with ordinary characters • De Buen: There being no prohibition in the law, a blind person can make such will if he has the general testamentary capacity. The view of De Buen is more acceptable, according to Tolentino. Material to be used The material on which the will is written is not important Form and intent • There is no particular form required by law for holographic wills. They may be in any form, but the intent to dispose mortis causa must appear clearly in the context. • The intention to make a will may appear expressly or it may be inferred from the terms of the instrument. Letters as wills • A letter which is not for the sole and special purpose of manifesting the last will of the writer cannot be considered as a holographic will. • If the writer of the letter addressing himself to a friend, expresses his apprehension of death, and disposes of his property in the same act, there is a valid holographic will, if it is written, dated, and signed by the writer. (it is not a letter containing a will, but a will in the form of a letter). • If the writer of the letter does not make any definite testamentary disposition, but merely states that he is contemplating to leave his properties to another person, or is thinking of instituting a particular individual as his heir, there is no will, but merely a project. Written entirely by testator • The most essential and characteristic requisite of a holographic will is that it must be entirely written by the hand of the testator. • In case of insertion o If the insertion was made after the execution of the will, but without the consent of the testator, such insertion is considered as not written, because the validity of the will cannot be defeated by the malice or caprice of a third person. o If the insertion after the execution of the will was with the consent of the testator, the will remains valid but the insertion is void. o If the insertion after the execution is validated by the testator by his signature thereon, then the insertion becomes part of the will, and the entire will become void, because of failure to comply with the requirement that it must be wholly written by the testator. o If the insertion made by a third person is made contemporaneous to the execution of the will, then the will is void because it is not written entirely by the testator. Date of instrument • The law does not require that the will be completely executed on a single day, at one time, and in the same ink, because the unity of the act is not a requisite for this form of wills. • The exact date, month, and year on which the will was made must be indicated therein, otherwise it is void for want of an essential requisite. • The day and month may be indicated by implication, so long as the designation leaves no room for doubt as to the exact date (e.g. Christmas Day) • The validity of a holographic will is defeated by the fact that part of the date is printed. False or erroneous date 44
• • • •
A simple involuntary mistake as to the correct date, when there are other statements or material elements in the will which fix the date with certainty, does not invalidate the will. The court may allow proof of the true date, provided that such proof, which may even be extrinsic, can have a basis in the will itself. The intentional statement of a false date, or a voluntary falsity as to the date of the will, is equivalent to the inexistence of the date, and nullifies the will, because he true date of execution cannot be determined on the will itself. A date written subsequent to the writing of the will, which is the date on which the will was actually written, is not a false date. One making a holographic will, incomplete for want of date, may subsequently complete it by dating it properly.
Signature of the testator • The signature required for holographic wills is not the simple writing of the name and surname of the testator. • It is his name written by him in his usual and habitual manner. • The signature as habitually written cannot be substituted by a symbol or a seal. • A mere error in the spelling of the name does not invalidate the signature. Location for signature The signature must be at the end of the will (inferred from Article 812) Time of signing • The signature must be affixed by the testator on the day the will is written and dated: but the will can be signed even long after the testamentary disposition have been written. • There must be a correlation between the signing and the date. The date must indicate on which the will was perfected, and a date placed on the will long after the signing must be considered a false date. Witness to holographic will Signatures of witnesses to a holographic will does not invalidate the will, but will be disregarded as mere surplusage. Article 815 Compliance with the Code • The article follows the general rule expressed in Article 17, NCC • The Code did not mean to invalidate the will of a Filipino, executed in a foreign country, when it is made in conformity with our law and not in conformity with the law of the place of execution. It cannot be assumed that the Code places the Filipino citizen in a worse position than the alien in relation to Philippine Laws. • Article 819 provides an exception to the rule contained in Article 815. Filipinos cannot execute a valid joint will, even in a foreign country. Article 816 Rules of Court • Under the Rules of Court, wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according to the laws of such country, may be allowed, filed and recorded by proper CFI (RTC) in the Philippines. • The probate of the will in the foreign state or country must be proved in the same manner as any other foreign judgment. Article 817 Alien’s Will in the Philippines If an alien executes a will in the Philippines, not in conformity with our law, but in conformity with the law of his own state or country, the will can be probated in the Philippines. Law on intrinsic Validity • The provisions of Article 815 to 817 refer to the formal validity of wills executed by persons outside their own state or country. • With respect to the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will, Article 16, NCC provides that the national law of the deceased shall apply. • The place of execution does not affect the intrinsic validity of the contents of the will. 45
Article 818 Article 819 Exception to the general rule • General rule: A will may be made by a Filipino, who is abroad, in accordance with the formalities prescribed by the law in the country where the will is executed (Articles 17 and 815). • Exception: A joint will is against the public policy of the Philippines. IN RE WILL OF REV. ABADIA 50 OG#9, P 4185 Facts: September 6, 1923, father Sanchio Abadia, parish priest of Talisay executed a document purporting to be his last will and testament. He died on October 2, 1946 leaving Andrea Enriquez as legatee to his properties with an estimated value of P8,000 who thereafter filed a petition to probate the will. Some cousins and nephew of the deceased filed an opposition. During the hearings, the said will was known to be a holographic will, which was prohibited at the time it was executed. However, Enriquez contended that, the NCC should apply wherein it permits holographic wills because such was the law enforced at the time of death of Father Abadia. Issue: whether the validity of the form of the will depend on the law enforced at the time it was presented for probate? Held: The validity of a will as to form is to be judged not by the law enforce at the time of the testator’s death or at the time the supposed will is presented in the court for probate or when the petition was decided by the court but at the time when the instrument was executed. By party of reasoning, when one executes a will which is invalid for failure to obscure 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, and his heirs will then inherit by intestate succession; and no subsequent law with liberal 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. The general rule is that the legislative cannot validate void wills. FLEUMER VS HIX 54 PHIL 610 Facts: Fleumer alleged that the will was executed in Elkins, West Virginia by Hix who was resident of that place and was governed by the laws of West Virginia. The laws of a foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in our courts. The Courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the laws of the various states of American Union. Such laws must be proved as facts. Issue: whether the Courts of this jurisdiction are authorized to take judicial notice of the laws of the various states so the American Union? Held: The law of foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in our courts. The Courts of the Philippines do not authorize to take judicial notice of the laws of the various states of the American Union, such laws must be proved as facts. In the case at bar, these requirements of the law were not met. No evidence was introduced to show that the extract from the laws of West Virginia was in force at the time alleged will was executed, in addition, the due execution of the will has not established. ESTATE OF GIBERSON 48 OG #7 PAGE 2657 Facts: An action to probate document was filed alleging it was the will of Illinois citizen Giberson and was executed in California. Giberson died in UST concentration Camp in Manila. Spring, son of Giberson opposed the proceeding claiming that it is void because it does not reflect the true intent of the deceased and the same was not executed according to the law. (California law requires that the will must be probated in the place of execution before it be probate din the Philippines.) Issue: whether the will of Giberson can be probated in the Philippines despite the fact that there was no showing that the will was probated in the place of execution?
Held: The will can be probated in the Philippines due to the fact that person has a right to dispose of his property after death through a will and he is not compelled to execute the will in the Philippines. He can do so in his own country or anywhere else provided it complies with the laws of the place where it was executed. The Rules in Civil Procedure respects the right of a testator to make his will anywhere he likes and the same can be probated here. It is a substantive right and cannot be negated by rules. DELA CERNA VS POTOT 12 SCRA 576 Facts: Spouses Bernabe de la Cerna and Gervalia Rebaca, executed a joint will and testament in the local dialect, giving parcels of land including fruits to Manuela Rebaca, being married to Potot. De la Cerna died and said will was submitted to the court for probate. Upon the death of Gervalia, another petition for probate of the same was filed but was denied on the ground that it is a joint will. The CA reversed the ruling of the trial court. Issue: whether the testamentary heirs of Gervalia have rights even if the will was jointly made? Held: No, the testamentary heirs of Gervalia shall have no successional rights. The SC ruled that where a husband and wife executed a joint will and upon the death of the husband said will was admitted for probate by a final decree of the court although erroneous, and the wife dies late, it is held that said first decree of probate affects only the husband but cannot affect the estate of his wife, considering that a joint will being prohibited by law, the estate of a wife should pass upon her death, to her intestate heirs and not to the testamentary heirs, unless some other valid will is shown to exist in favor to the latter or unless the testamentary heirs is the only heir to the wife. ESTATE OF RODRIGUEZ 46 OG # 2, P 584 Facts: Several relatives of the deceased Bernabe Rodriguez opposed the filing of a petition for the probate of Bernabe’s will by his spouse Mrtina Aruniega. Among the grounds of opposition are: (a) that the will executed was a complaint or non commandants of the same in the instrument as that of the will of Martina, creating reciprocal benefits of each spouse. Such will is prohibited in the Civil Code and (b) that the testator was under pressure and influence exerted by Martina. Issue: whether the will of Bernabe maybe allowed probate. Held: The will maybe probated. Disease as a physical weakness alone does not affect the mental capacity of the testator, unless it is of such a nature as to render him incapable of knowing what he is doing. There was no showing that the testator’s decease or physical weakness had affected him in that nature. Although two testators who are husband and wife, instituted the other as the Universal heir in their respective wills are not conjoint because they are made in different instrument. They are therefore valid. E. Law governing content 1. As to time Article 2263 2. As to successional rights, etc Article 16 Law on succession • Point of view o Execution of wills: The formalities of execution of will are generally governed by the law of the place of execution (Article 17) o Distribution of properties: The distribution of the estate is governed by the law of the nation of the deceased (Article 16) • Question on the distribution of the estate o The order of succession in cases of intestacy o The intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions in case of testate succession o The extent or amount of property which each heir is entitled to inherit o The capacity of certain heirs to succeed o Questions of pretirition, disinheritance, and collation 47
Reason of the unity of the applicable law Capistrano: With regard to succession there is only one will, express in testamentary and presumed in intestate succession. The oneness and universality of the inheritance cannot be divided or broken up merely because of the different countries where properties of the estate are situated. Applicability of foreign law • The second paragraph applies only when a legal or testamentary succession has taken place in the Philippines in accordance with the law of the Philippines. The foreign law is consulted only in regard to the order of succession or the extent of the successional rights. • The second paragraph can only be invoked when the deceased was vested with a descendible interest in property within jurisdiction of the Philippines. • The intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will of a foreigner who dies in the Philippines is to be determined by the laws of his own state or country, and not by those of the Philippines. Proof of foreign law When a foreign law is involved, it must be alleged and proved. ESTATE OF CHRISTENSEN 61 OG # 46 P 7302 Facts: Edward Christensen, American Citizen residing in Davao was the manager of the Mindanao Estates. During his stay, he met Bernada Compredora, wherein they lived as husband and wife without being married. During their cohabitation for 30 years, they bore 2 daughters namely Maria Lucy and Maria Helen. When Edward died he left a will containing: 1) Maria Lucy is his only daughter to which he gave all his properties and income; 2) Maria Helen, who is not her daughter, but uses his surname and alleged to be the offspring of Bernada with another man, giving her trust fund of P3,600.00; 3) Bernada was given P1,000.00 and 4) Adolfo Cruz Aznan as executor. Maria Helen and Bernada opposed the said will, wherein the former contended that she was a natural child and therefore must be entitled to the said properties, the latter however contended that although they were not married, they cohabited for 30 years, therefore she should be given ½ of the said properties because of co-ownership. Issue: whether Bernada is entitled to ½ of the state under the law on co-ownership? Held: No, Bernada is not entitled to ½ of the properties. Before the Civil Code went into operation, the court already decided, that when a man and a woman, not suffering from any impediment to contract marriage, lived together as husband and wife, an informal civil partnership exist, and each of them has an equal interest in the properties acquired during said union and is entitled to participate therein said properties were the product of their joint effort. In the case at bar, aside from the observation of the trial court that Bernada was an illiterate woman, there appears no evidence to prove her contributions or participation in the acquisition of the properties involved, therefore following the aforecited ruling the claim of ½ of the properties cannot be granted. Even assuming for the sake of argument that this case falls under the provisions of Article 144 of the Civil Code which recognizes the parties as co-owners of the properties acquired after the act concerned and to no other, for such law cannot be given retroactive effect to govern those already possessed before August 30, 1950. ESTATE OF AMOS BELLIS 20 SCRA 358 Facts: Amos Bellis was a citizen of Texas. By his 1st wife, Mary Mallen, whom he divorced and has 5 children, by his 2nd wife, Violet whom he survived 3 legitimate children and he had illegitimate children. Amos executed a will in the Philippines to which he gave: 1) $240,000 to his first wife; 2) $40,000 to each of his 3 illegitimate children and 3) all his remaining properties will be given to his legitimate children. When Amos died, his will was to be probated in the CFI of Manila. However, the capacity to succeed is governed by the national law of the decedent or under the law wherein it is executed. Issue: whether the capacity to succeed is governed by the national law of the decedent or under the law where it is executed? Held: Capacity to succeed shall be governed by the laws of the decedent. The decedent’s national law governs the order of succession, the amount of successional rights, the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and capacity to succeed. Whatever public policy and good 48
customs may be involved in our system of legitimes congress has intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. CAYETANO VS LEONIDES 129 SCRA 524 (page 9) III. TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY AND INTENT A. who may make a will? Article 796 Article 797 Article 798 Article 799 Soundness of mind • The testator must be of sound mind at the time of the execution of the will • To be of sound mind means that he is able to execute his will with an understanding of the nature of the act (e.g. the recollection of the property to be disposed of, of the person who sits or who might necessarily be the subjects of his bounty, and the manner in which it is to be distributed among them) • Soundness of mind, such as will enable a person, under the statute, to make a will, has relation to the business transacted, namely, the disposition of his property by will. The instrument propounded is the spontaneous act of a person understanding its nature and consequence. • Mere weakness of the mind or partial imbecility from disease of body or from age, by itself, does not render a person incapable of making a will. Elements of testamentary capacity 1. The testator must have the capacity to understand the nature and effect of his act; i.e. he must know that the instrument is an act mortis causa which will dispose of his property upon his death. 2. He must have sufficient recollection of his properties; he must comprehend their kind and character, and be able to designate them. 3. He must be able to remember the natural objects of his bounty 4. He must have sufficient mental ability to make a disposition of his property among the objects of his bounty according to some plan which he has formed in his mind. Objects of testator’s bounty • It does not mean that he should know and recognize every distant relative who is entitled to inherit from him under the existing rules of descent. • Refers to near relations of the testator, those who are the natural objects of his bounty. Property of testator • It does not mean that he must have information in his mind at one time (as persons with large means rarely know precisely what property they own, and the nature and present conditions pertaining to each) • When not lacking in testamentary capacity: An actual mistake of the testator as to the extent of his property. • When lacking in testamentary capacity: A testator of such feeble mental condition that the cannot furnish his attorney details concerning his property, or one so dull and obtuse as not to know that he owned property. Effects of infirmity • Sickness, old age, __, senile debility, blindness, nor poor memory, nor the fact that somebody had to guide the testator’s hand in order that he might sign, is not by itself sufficient to establish a presumption of lack of testamentary capacity, when there is sufficient evidence of the mental sanity of the testator at the time of the execution of the will. • The absence of testamentary capacity is not equivalent to insanity. It is enough that the mental condition be such that there is a want of understanding of the nature and consequences of the disposition of the will. Actual insanity need not exist. 49
The law does not deal with the causes of unsoundness of mind (e.g. mental disease, senile dementia, fevers, injuries, drugs, intoxicants, etc.) It is the effect of the causes which the law must deal regardless of what the actual cause may be, and it is the quantity or degree of the effect which the law must determine to arrive at a decision on the presence or absence of testamentary capacity.
Senile dementia • Dementia exists where a mind once sound has become weakened or decayed, and when caused by old age, it is Senile Demetia. • “Senility” appearing in a death certificate as the cause of death means “infirmity in old age, trouble proceeding from old age,” and is distinct from “senile dementia” which is the “peculiar decay of the mental faculties whereby the person afflicted is reduced to second childhood.” • To constitute complete senile dementia, there must be such failure of the mind as to deprive the testator of intelligent action. • No presumption of incapacity arises merely because of advanced years. Infirmities of old age (weakness of body and irritability of temper), nor physical condition due to old age (dryness of skin, emaciated body and trembling lips, and failure to answer greetings correctly) are not incompatible with competency. • One of the surest indications of the approach of senile decay is that of loss of memory, and where such loss of memory is such as to prevent the testator from recalling the value and extent of his properties, and the persons who would be the natural objects of his bounty. Insane delusions • An insane delusion is a false belief for which there is no foundation in reason, and which would be incredible to the same person if of sound mind, and of which its victim cannot be disposed by either evidence or argument. • It is a belief which no rational man, putting himself as nearly as may be in the same situation of the insane person, can possibly conceive of himself as entertaining. • Not every case insane delusion will render one incapable of making a will. • A testator may have delusions regarding matters which do not affect or concern his testamentary act and which have no influence upon the disposition which he makes of his estate. • The testamentary disposition is void when the delusion touches the subject the matter or the will: when it pertains to the (1) property, (2) the beneficiaries or those who would succeed to the property if the will were not made. • A belief in spiritualism, Christian Science, or any other unusual religious doctrine, or a belief in witchcraft is not proof of insanity, and does not render a testator incapable of making a will, unless his mind is so controlled by his peculiar views as to prevent the exercise of a rational judgment relative to the disposition of his property. Deaf, dumb, blind • Modern rule: Neither blindness, nor deafness and dumbness, nor all of them combined, will alone incapacitate a person to perform the testamentary act (in view of modern science and invention that allow these to acquire understanding and to communicate their desires). • What is essential is that person afflicted knew the nature of his act he was performing and expressed his desires so that they were fully understood. • Article 807 recognizes the capacity of a deaf-mute to make a will, even if he does not know how to read and write. • Article 808 accepts the capacity of a blind testator to make an ordinary or attested will. • A blind man with a sound disposing mind can certainly make a holographic will, if he can write (as he may have learned to write perfectly well before he became blind). Eccentricities and prejudices • An eccentric person may make a valid will, notwithstanding the peculiarity of his conduct. • Even a considerable or marked degree of eccentricity of conduct, appearance, care of health, wearing apparel, table manners, or language, may not incapacitate a person to make a will. • The existence of strong passions and prejudices on the part of the testator is not inconsistent with testamentary capacity. • But where the prejudice borders upon an insane delusion, or the testator at the time of making the will labors under extraordinary excitement or stress of emotion, he may be 50
rendered devoid of the power to realize the natural objects of his bounty, the extent of his property, and the nature of the business at hand. Drugs, intoxicants • The use of intoxicants, or drugs, does not mean a complete loss of understanding. • But a person, by superabundance of alcoholic drinks or the excessive use of drugs may be so mentally obscured, that for the time being, he cannot make a valid will (for understanding is lacking) • However, the continued use of intoxicants and drugs may so deaden the mentality that a lack of mental capacity arise in the testator, and thus in this sense destroy the testamentary capacity of the testator. Determination of sound mind • The soundness of the mind of the testator must be determined at the time of the execution of the will. • The nullity of the will executed when the testator was of unsound mind is not cured by the mere fact that the testator later recovers reason and fails to revoke his will. The will should be republished by the testator after he has recovered reason. Article 800 Burden of proof • The obligation to prove mental incapacity of the testator rests upon those who allege such incapacity. • Conclusive proof of the mental incapacity and the evident lack of reason and judgment at the time of the execution of the will must be shown before a will may be set aside on the ground of the mental incapacity of the testator. • If the evidence be such as to show the existence of insanity in the testator generally, so that in the absence of further proof the presumption of sanity would be rebutted, it may still be shown, in support of the will, that it was made during a lucid interval. • Evidence of the testator’s insanity before or recently after the execution of the will gives rise to a presumption of insanity at the time of execution, it would be indispensable to the validity of the will to show that it was executed during a lucid interval or after the malady has ceased. • If the proof of insanity consists in the degree or judgment of a competent court declaring the testator to be non compos mentis, and placing him under guardianship, the presumption is and continues until there is judgment or decree by a competent court declaring his restoration and that he is incompetent to make a valid will (This may be rebutted by proof showing his insanity at the time of executing the will, even if the guardianship is repealed). No presumption of insanity • The presumption of insanity does not arise when the malady under which the testator labored was in the nature either accidental or temporary, nor is it raised by the sole fact the testator committed suicide soon after making the will. • No presumption of insanity from mere delirium (the direct result of a bodily disease, generally abates with the fever producing it, and wholly ceases upon the restoration to health. • Incapacity will not be presumed from the mere fact that the father and the only child of the deceased are both insane. Evidence of mental condition • The evidence should be permitted to take a wide range in order that all facts may be brought out which will determine the question of testamentary capacity. • The evidence of those present at the execution of the will and of the attending physician is to be relied upon. • The testimony of subscribing witnesses to a will concerning the testator’s mental condition is entitled to great weight when they are truthful and intelligent. • The mere professional speculation of the attending physician should not prevail over the positive testimony of several apparently credible witnesses whose testimony does not in itself seem unreasonable. • In cases the witnesses are not subscribing or attesting witnesses, they are required to give the reason or ground for their opinion as to the sanity or insanity of the testator. 51
Article 801 Capacity at execution • The capacity of the person who leaves a will is to be determined as of the time of the execution of the will • The subsequent change in the capacity does not invalidate the will, as long as the testator was qualified to make the will at the time it was made. • When the testator did not have capacity at the time of execution, the subsequent acquisition of capacity does not validate the will. Article 802 (Taken from Article 905, par 2, of the French Code) Article 803 (Taken from Article 21 of the California Probate Code) B. supervening incapacity Article 801 IV. SOLEMNITIES OF WILLS A. Kinds of Wills 1. The ordinary or attested will 2. Holographic or handwritten will Noncupative wills (one not written but orally declared by the testator in his last illness, in contemplation of death and before sufficient number of competent witnesses) is not recognized in Philippine laws. Article 804 Common requirements Requirements apply to both attested and the holographic wills Must be in writing • In a holographic will, it must necessarily be written by the hand of the testator himself • In an ordinary or attested will o It is immaterial who performs the mechanical act of writing the will, so long as the testator signs it or has somebody sign his name in his presence o It may be written out or printed, or partly written and partly printed, engraved or lithographed. Language known to testator • The language or dialect used in the will must be known to the testator • When a will is executed in a certain province or locality there arises a presumption that the testator knew the dialect so used, in the absence of evidence to the contrary Proof of knowledge • There is no statutory requirements that the will should express that the testator knows the language or dialect used therein. It is a fact which may be established by extrinsic evidence or proof aliunde. • Failure of the witnesses to testify that the testator knew the language in which the will is written does not of itself suffice to give the conclusion that this important requirement has not been complied with Attestation clause • The attestation clause of an ordinary will does not have to be written in a language or dialect known to the testator • The language used in the attestation clause does not even have to be known to the witnesses. It should, however, be translated to them. • The clause is not part of the testamentary disposition Article 810 52
B. Notarial Wills 1. General Requirements Article 804 SUROZA VS HONDADO 110 SCRA 388 2. Specific Requirements Article 805 Object of solemnities surrounding the execution of wills • To close the door against bad faith and fraud • To avoid substitution of wills and testaments, and • To guaranty their truth and authenticity Interpretation of requisites • The laws on the solemnities should be interpreted to attain the primordial ends • But one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will Requisites of ordinary wills 1. It must be signed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator’s name written by another person in his presence and by his express direction. 2. It must be attested and subscribed by 3 or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other 3. Each and every page of the will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed o the upper part of each page. 4. Each and every page must be signed by the testator or by the person requested by him to write his name, and by the instrumental witnesses, in the presence of each other, on the left margin. 5. it must contain an attestation clause 6. It must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. Signed by the testator • The usual and the most unequivocal method of signing is for the testator to write his name in full, but this is by no means indispensable. • Signing is making a sign, token, or emblem (which depends upon the custom of the time and place, and on the habit or whim of the individual). The material thing is that the testator made the mark to authenticate the writing as his will, and whatever he puts on for it for that purpose will suffice. Sufficient signature • Any complete sign or design made by the testator upon the material on which the will is written with the intention that it shall, as a symbol stand for or represent the testator as the written name would do, is as sufficient a signing as is the writing of the signature in full. • A signature by mark will be sufficient, even if at the time of placing it the testator knew how to write and was able to do so. Place for signature • The law expressly requires the will to be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator or by his name written by another person in his presence and by his express direction. • Its purpose is not merely to express that the instrument is completed but also to prevent any opportunity for fraud or interpolations between the testamentary dispositions and the signature. • The position of the signature at the end of the will furnishes in itself intrinsic evidence of the finality or completion