Bar Q and A #36

1. No. Erica was not preterited. Art. 854 of the Civil Code provides that only compulsory heirs in the direct line can be preterited.

2. The other defects of the will that can cause its denial are as follows: (a) Atty. Zorba, the one who prepared the will was one of the three witnesses, violating the three- witnesses rule; (b) no marginal signature at the last page; (c) the attestation did not state the number of pages upon which the will is written; and, (d) no pagination appearing correctively in letters on the upper part of the three pages. (Azuela v. CA,
G.R. No. 122880, April 12, 2006 and cited cases therein, Art. 805 and 806)
3. Yes, the disinheritance was valid. When a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life, like running off with a married man, there is sufficient cause for disinheritance. (Art. 919, par. 7)

1. Assuming that the institution of A, B and F were to the entire estate, there was preterition of C since C is a compulsory heir in the direct line. The preterition will result in the total annulment of the institution of heirs. Therefore, the institution of A, B and F will be set aside and Mr. Cruz’s estate will be divided, as in intestacy, equally among A, B and C as follows: A - P333,333.33; B - P333.333.33; and C - P333,333.33.

2. On the same assumption as letter (a), there was preterition of C. Therefore, the institution of A and B is annulled but the legacy of P100.000.00 to F shall be respected for not being inofficious. Therefore, the remainder of P900.000.00 will be divided equally among A, B and C.

1. Yes, the will may be probated if executed according to the formalities prescribed by law.

2. No, the institution giving X the free portion is not valid, because the prohibitions under Art. 739 of the Civil Code on donations also apply to testamentary dispositions (Art. 1028), among donations which are considered void are those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation.

3. As a general rule, the will should be admitted in probate proceedings if all the necessary requirements for its extrinsic validity have been met and the court should not consider the intrinsic validity of the provisions of said will. However, the exception arises when the will in effect contains only one testamentary disposition. In effect, the only testamentary disposition under the will is the giving of the free portion to X, since legitimes are provided by law. Hence, the trial court may consider the intrinsic validity of the provisions of said will. (Nuguid v. Nuguid,
G.R. No. L-23445, June 23, 1966; Nepomuceno v. CA, G.R. L-62952, October 9, 1985)

No, the probate should be denied. The requirement that the testator and at least three
(3) witnesses must sign all in the “presence” of one another was not complied with. Benjamin who notarized the will is disqualified as a witness, hence he cannot be counted as one of the three witnesses. (Cruz v. Villasor, G.R. No. L- 32213, November 26, 1973) The testatrix and the other witnesses signed the will not in the presence of Roberta because she was in the restroom for extended periods of time. Inside the restroom, Roberta could not have possibly seen the testatrix and the other witnesses sign the will by merely casting her eyes in the proper direction. (Jaboneta v. Gustilo, G.R. No. 1641, January 19, 1906); (Nera v. Rimando, G.R. No. L- 5971, February 27, 1911) Therefore, the testatrix signed the will in the presence of only two witnesses, and only two witnesses signed the will in the presence of the testatrix and of one another.

It is to be noted, however, that the thumb mark intended by the testator to be his signature in executing his last will and testament is valid. (Payad v. Tolentino, G.R. No. 42258, September 5, 1936; Matias v. Salud, G.R. No. L-10751, June 23, 1958) The problem, however, states that Clara “said that she can sign her full name later;” Hence, she did not consider her thumb mark as her “complete” signature, and intended further action on her part. The testatrix and the other witness signed the will in the presence of Hannah, because she was aware of her function and role as witness and was in a position to see the testatrix and the other witnesses sign by merely casting her eyes in the proper direction.

The probate of the notarial shall prosper. The holographic will cannot be admitted to probate because a holographic will can only be probated upon evidence of the will itself unless there is a photographic copy. But since the holographic will was lost and there was no other copy, it cannot be probated. Therefore, the notarial will shall be admitted to probate because there is no revoking will.

In the case of Gan vs. Yap (104 Phil 509), the execution and the contents of a lost or destroyed holographic will may not be proved by the bare testimony of witnesses who have seen or read such will. The will itself must be presented otherwise it shall produce no effect. The law regards the document itself as material proof of authenticity.

Yes, the first will may be admitted to probate and given effect. When the testator tore first will, he was under the mistaken belief that the second will was perfectly valid and he would not have destroyed the first will had he known that the second will is not valid. The revocation by destruction therefore is dependent on the validity of the second will. Since it turned out that the second will was invalid, the tearing of the first will did not produce the effect of revocation. This is known as the doctrine of dependent relative revocation. (Molo v. Molo, G.R. No. L-2538, September 21, 1951)

No, Angie is not correct. The Picasso painting is not given or donated by Jennifer to Brad. She merely “placed it in his bedroom.” Hence, she is still the owner of the painting. Not being the owner of the Picasso painting, Brad cannot validly bequeath the same to Angie. (Art. 930) Even assuming that the painting was impliedly given or donated by Jennifer to Brad, the donation is nevertheless void for not being in writing. The Picasso painting must be worth more that 5,000 pesos. Under Art. 748, the donation and acceptance of a movable worth more than 5,000 pesos must be in writing, otherwise the donation is void. Jennifer remained the owner of the Picasso painting and Brad could not have validly disposed of said painting in favor of Angie in his will.

1. Yes, Don's testamentary disposition of his estate is in accordance with the law on succession. Don has no compulsory heirs not having ascendants, descendants nor a spouse. (Art. 887) Brothers and sisters are not compulsory heirs. Thus, he can bequeath his entire estate to anyone who is not otherwise incapacitated to inherit from him. A common-law wife is not incapacitated under the law, as Don is not married to anyone.

2. After paying the legal obligations of the estate, I will give Ronie, as full-blood brother of Don, 2/3 of the net estate, twice the share of Michelle, the half-sister who shall receive 1/3. Roshelle will not receive anything as she is not a legal heir. (Art.1006)

3. Jayson will be entitled to the entire P12 Million as the brother and sister will be excluded by a legitimate son of the decedent. This follows the principle of proximity, where "the nearer excludes the farther."

4. Jayson will still be entitled to the entire P12 Million as the father, brother and sister will be excluded by a legitimate son of the decedent. (Art. 887) This follows the principle that the descendants exclude the ascendants from inheritance.

Yes, the acknowledgment is considered valid because a will (although not required to be filed by the notary public) may still constitute a document, which contains an admission of illegitimate filiation. The recognition of an illegitimate child does not lose its legal effect even though the will wherein it was made should be revoked. (Art. 834) This provision by itself warrants a conclusion that a will may be considered as proof of filiation. The donation mortis causa may be considered valid because although unborn, a fetus has a presumptive personality for all purposes favorable to it provided it be born under the conditions specified in Art. 41.

Manuel is correct because property acquired after the making of a will shall only pass thereby, as if the testator had possessed it at the time of making the will, should it expressly appear by the will that such was his intention. (Art. 793) Since Alfonso's intention to devise all properties he owned at the time of his death expressly appears on the will, then all the 20 parcels of land are included in the devise.