Bar Q and A #37

It depends. If the cancellation of Rosa's name in the will was done by the testator himself, Rosa's claim that the holographic will in its original tenor should be given effect must be denied. The said cancellation has revoked the entire will as nothing remains of the will after the name of Rosa was cancelled. Such cancellation is valid revocation of the will and does not require authentication by the full signature of the testator to be effective. However, if the cancellation of Rosa's name was not done by the testator himself, such cancellation shall not be effective and the will in its original tenor shall remain valid. The efficacy of a holographic will cannot be left to the mercy of unscrupulous third parties. The writing of Gregorio‘s name as sole heir was ineffective, even though written by the testator himself, because such is an alteration that requires the authentication by the full signature of the testator to be valid and effective. Not having been authenticated. The designation of Gregorio as an heir was ineffective. (Kalaw v. Relova, G.R. No. L-40207, September 28, 1984)

1. Yes, the holographic will of Dr. Fuentes may be admitted to probate in the Philippines because there is no public policy violated by such probate. The only issue at probate is the due execution of the will which includes the formal validity of the will. As regards formal validity, the only issue the court will resolve at probate is whether or not the will was executed in accordance with the form prescribed by the law observed by the testator in the execution of his will. For purposes of probate in the Philippines, an alien testator may observe the law of the place where the will was executed (Art 17), or the formalities of the law of the place where he resides, or according to the formalities of the law of his own country, or in accordance with the Philippine Civil Code (Art. 816). Since Dr. Fuentes executed his will in accordance with the Philippine law, the Philippine court shall apply the New Civil Code in determining the formal validity of the holographic will. The subsequent change in the citizenship of Dr. Fuentes did not affect the law governing the validity of his will. Under the New Civil Code, which was the law used by Dr. Fuentes, the law enforced at the time of execution of the will shall govern the formal validity of the will. (Art. 795)

2. No, Jay cannot insist because under New York law he is not a compulsory heir entitled to a legitime. The national law of the testator determines who his heirs are, the order that they succeed, how much their successional rights are, and whether or not a testamentary disposition in his will is valid. (Art 16) Since, Dr. Fuentes was a US citizen, the laws of the New York determines who his heirs are. And since the New York law does not recognize the concept of compulsory heirs, Jay is not a compulsory heir of Dr. Fuentes entitled to a legitime.

1. Yes, the joint will of Alden and Stela is valid. Being no longer Filipino citizens at the time they executed their joint will, the prohibition under our Civil Code on joint wills will no longer apply to Alden and Stela. For as long as their will was executed in accordance with the law of the place where they reside, or the law of the country of which they are citizens or even in accordance with the Civil Code, a will executed by an alien is considered valid in the Philippines. (Art. 816)

2. Yes, the joint will of Alden and Stela can take effect even with respect to the properties located in the Philippines because what governs the distribution of their estate is no longer Philippine law but their national law at the time of their demise. Hence, the joint will produces legal effect even with respect to the properties situated in the Philippines.

3. No, because dépeçage is a process of applying rules of different states on the basis of the precise issue involved. It is a conflict of laws where different issues within a case may be governed by the laws of different states. In the situation in letter (a), no conflict of laws will arise because Alden and Stela are no longer Filipino citizens at the time of the execution of their joint will and the place of execution is not the Philippines.

Yes, the will may be probated in the Philippines insofar as the estate of Eleanor is concerned. While the Civil Code prohibits the execution of joint wills here and abroad, such prohibition applies only to Filipinos. Hence, the joint will which is valid where executed is valid in the Philippines but only with respect to Eleanor. It is void with respect to Manuel whose joint will remains void in the Philippines despite being valid where executed. (Art. 819)

1. No, the will should not be admitted to probate since the couple are both Filipino citizens. Arts. 818 and 819 shall apply. Said Articles prohibit the execution of joint wills and make them void, even though authorized by the laws of the country where they were executed.

2. No. Since the joint will is void, all the testamentary dispositions written therein are also void. However, if the will is valid, the institutions of heirs shall be annulled because Joshur was preterited. He was preterited because he will receive nothing from the will, will receive nothing by intestacy, and the facts do not show that he received anything as an advance on his inheritance. He was totally excluded from the inheritance of his parents.

3. Assuming the will of John and Maria is valid, the testamentary prohibition on the division of the London estate shall be valid but only for 20 years. A testamentary disposition of the testator cannot forbid the partition of all or part of his estate for a period longer than twenty (20) years. (Arts. 1083 and 494)

No, his opposition is not correct. Arnel cannot inherit from Ricky in representation of his father, Franco. The representative must not only be a legal heir of the person he is representing but he must also be a legal heir of the decedent he seeks to inherit from.

While Arnel is a legal heir of Franco, he is not a legal heir of Ricky because an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother. (Art. 992) Arnel is disqualified to Inherit from Ricky because Arnel is an illegitimate child of Franco and Ricky is a legitimate relative of Franco.

FALSE, The other three co–heirs may not anytime demand the partition of the house and lot since it was expressly provided by the decedent in his will that the same cannot be partitioned while his youngest child desires to stay there. Adecedent to prohibit, by will, the partition of a property and his estate for a period not longer than 20 years no matter what his reason maybe. (Art. 1083) Hence, the three co-heir can demand its partition only after 20 years from the death of their father. Even if the deceased parent did not leave a will, if the house and lot constituted their family home, partition is prohibited for a period of ten (10) years, or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary living in the family home. (Art. 159)

(a) The shares to Pedro’s estate are as follows: Alex shall inherit ½ of the estate of Pedro while the other 3 children to Veneranda is entitled to 1/6 each of the estate because they are illegitimate children. Under the Civil Code, a legitimate child shall inherit ½ of the estate while under our family code, illegitimate children are only entitled to half of the share of the legitimate child.While Veneranda is not an heir since she is not the legal spouse of Pedro while Modesto and Jacinta are excluded because Pedro has children. Under the Civil Code, parents are excluded from the shares of their child when the child has legal descendants.

(b) No the testamentary disposition are not valid and effective because such testamentary disposition must not impair the legitimes of the testator’s compulsory heirs. Under the Civil Code, for the testamentary dispositions be effective, the legitimes of the respective compulsory heirs must not be impaired by such testamentary dispositions.

In this case, the dispositions impair the legitimes of Pedro’s children, which are as follows:(i) 1/2 of the estate to Alex; (ii) 1/4 of the estate each to the three illegitimate children, which shall be proportionally reduced since the legitimes already exceed the balance of the estate. Hence, the testamentary dispositions are not valid and effective.

Jojo, Princess’ father, is entitled to the lot.

This is a clear case of reserva troncal. The origin is Onofre. The Prepositus is Pepito. The mode of transmission from Onofre to Pepito is donation (hence, by gratuitous title). The Reservista is Mark, who acquired it from his descendant (son) Pepito by legitime and intestacy (hence, by operation of law).

The Reservatario is Princess, a relative of the Prepositus Pepito within the third degree and who belonged to the line of origin is the maternal line because Onofre (the Origin) and Pepito (the Prepositus) are maternal half-blood siblings.

When Mark (Reservista) died, the property passed to Princess as sole reservatario, thus extinguishing the reserve troncal.

Upon Princess’ death, the property was transmitted ab intestate to her father Jojo. Transmission to Jojo is by the ordinary rules of compulsory and intestate succession, not by reserva troncal, because the reserve was extinguished upon the transmission of the property to Princess, this making Princess the absolute owner subject to no reservation.

I will deny the motion of Tomas, Jr. to be declared as an heir of the deceased. Tomas Jr., being an illegitimate child of the deceased legitimate son, Tomas, cannot inherit ab intestate from the deceased, Don Ricardo, because of the iron curtain rule under Art. 992 of the Civil Code. Tomas cannot argue that Art. 992 is violative of the equal protection clause because equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. (Ichong v. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155, May 31, 1957) It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause permits classification.