Succession Case Digests
Digested Cases in Succession (Note: not arranged per topic)...
Succession Case Digests: (1) Nable vs. Uson (March 10, 1914) Nable vs. Uson (G.R. No. L-8927, March 10, 1914) FACTS: This is an appeal which involves a question which arises from the interpretation of the first and second clauses of a codicil to the will of Filomena Uson. The court below found that the children of the deceased sisters should take only that portion which their respective mothers would have taken if they been alive at the time the will was made; that the property should be divided into six equal parts corresponding to the number of sisters; that each living sister should take one-sixth, and the children of each deceased sister should also take one-sixth, each one- sixth to be divided among said children equally. The appellants asserted that under a proper construction of the paragraphs of the codicil, the property should be divided equally between the living sisters and the children of the deceased sisters, share and share alike, a niece taking the same share that a sister receives. Hence, this appeal. ISSUE: Whether or not the living sisters and the children of the deceased sisters shall take per capita and in equal parts the property passing under the codicil in this case. RULING: Yes. The appellants' contention is well founded. The court finds expressions which seem to indicate with fair clearness that it was the intention of the testatrix to divide her property equally between her sisters and nieces. Upon looking at the codicil, it can be observed that: first, that the testatrix, in the first paragraph thereof, declares that after her husband's death she desires that "my sisters and nieces, as hereinafter named, shall succeed him as heirs‖; in the second place, that the testatrix, in the second paragraph of the codicil, names and identifies each one of her heirs then living, in each one of the persons whom she desires shall succeed her husband in the property. Among those mentioned specially are the nieces as well as the sisters. The nieces are referred to in no way different from the sisters. Each one stands out in the second paragraph of the codicil as clearly as the other and under exactly the same conditions; and in the third place, the last clause of the second paragraph of the codicil, taken together with the last clause of the first paragraph, is decisive of the intention of the testatrix. In the last clause she says that she names all of the persons whom she desires to take under her will be name "so that they must take and enjoy the property in equal parts as good sisters and relatives." We have then in the first paragraph a declaration as to who the testatrix desires shall become the owners of her property on the death of her husband – her nieces as well as her sisters. We have also the final declaration of the testatrix that she desires that the sisters and the nieces shall
take and enjoy the property in equal parts. Thus, of the property passing under the codicil, the living sisters and the children of the deceased sisters shall take per capita and in equal parts. (2) Austria vs. Reyes (February 27, 1970) Austria vs. Reyes (G.R. No. L-23079, February 27, 1970) FACTS: Basilia Austria Vda. De Cruz filed a petition for probate, ante mortem, of her last will and testament. The probate was opposed by the present petitioners who were nephews and nieces of Basilia. The opposition was dismissed and the probate of the will was allowed. Under the will of Basilia, the bulk of her estate would pass on to the respondents Perfecto Cruz, Benita Cruz-Meñez, Isagani Cruz, Alberto Cruz and Lyn Cruz-Salonga, all of whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children. More than two years after her will was allowed, Basilia died. The respondent Perfecto Cruz was subsequently appointed as executor of her estate. However, the petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest kin of Basilia and that the respondents had not in fact been adopted by the decedent in accordance with law. Such petition in intervention was allowed. More than three years after they were allowed to intervene, the petitioners moved the lower court to set for hearing the matter of the genuineness of the adoption of the respondents. Before the date of the hearing arrived, one of the respondents Benita Cruz Meñez filed a motion asking the lower court to confine the petitioner‘s intervention to properties not disposed of in the will of the decedent. The court granted the said motion. The motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied by the lower court. Hence, this instant petition for certiorari to have the order restricting petitioner‘s intervention to properties that were not included in the decedent‘s testamentary dispositions annulled was filed. ISSUE: Whether or not the institution of the heirs would retain efficacy in the event there exists proof that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent was false. RULING: Yes. Article 850 of the Civil Code provides ―The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written, unless it appears from the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of such cause.‖ Under this provision, before the institution of heirs may be annulled, the following requisites must concur: First, the cause for the institution of heirs must be stated in the will; second, the cause must be shown to be false; and third, it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of the cause.
From the use in the will of the terms ―sapilitang tagapagmana‖ (compulsory heirs) and ―sapilitang mana‖ (legitime), the petitioners contended that the institution of the respondents as heirs was only impelled by her belief that they were her compulsory heirs. However, the Court made mention of the fact that if such reason indeed prompted the testatrix in instituting the respondents, Basilia did not make it known in her will. The Court found petitioner‘s theory to be highly speculative of what was in the mind of the testatrix when she executed the will. The Court could not annul the institution of heirs on the basis of guesswork or uncertain implications. The phrases, "mga sapilitang tagapagmana" and "sapilitang mana" were borrowed from the language of the law on succession and were used, respectively, to describe the class of heirs instituted and the abstract object of the inheritance. They offered no absolute indication that the decedent would have willed her estate other than the way she did if she had known that she was not bound by law to make allowance for legitimes. Her disposition of the free portion of her estate which largely favored the respondents showed a perceptible inclination on her part to give to the respondents more than what she thought the law enjoined her to give to them. This may be taken in comparison with the relatively small devise of land which the decedent had left for her blood relatives, including the petitioners Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Mozo and the children of the petitioner Ruben Austria. If respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al, were excluded from the inheritance, then the petitioners and the other nephews and nieces would succeed to the bulk of the estate by intestacy — a result which would subvert the clear wishes of the decedent. (3) Maloles II vs. Philips (January 31, 2000) Maloles II vs. Philips (G.R. No. 129505, January 31, 2000) FACTS: In 1995, Dr. Arturo De Los Santos filed a petition for probate of his will. He declared that he has no compulsory heirs and that he is naming as sole devisee and legatee the Arturo de Santos Foundation, Inc. (ASF). The named executrix is Pacita De Los Reyes Phillips. The petition was granted. Shortly after, he died. Octavio, his nephew, filed a ‗Motion for Intervention‘. He argued that as the nearest of kin and creditor of the testator, his interest in the matter is material and direct. ISSUE: Whether or not Octavio Maloles II has the right to intervene in the probate proceeding. RULING: No. In order for a person to be allowed to intervene in a proceeding, he must have an interest in the estate or in the will or in the property to be affected by it. He must be an interested party or one who would be benefited by the estate such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor, and whose interest is material and direct. Octavio is not an heir or legatee under the will of the decedent. Neither is he a compulsory heir of the decedent. As the only and nearest collateral relative of the decedent, he can inherit
from the latter only in case of intestacy. He can only inherit if the will is annulled. His interest is therefore not direct or immediate. His claim to being a creditor is belated as it has been raised for the first time only in his reply to the opposition to his motion to intervene and is not supported by evidence. A probate proceeding is terminated upon the issuance of the order allowing the probate of a will. In cases for the probate of wills, it is well-settled that the authority of the court is limited to ascertaining the extrinsic validity of the will, i.e., whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. Ordinarily, probate proceedings are instituted only after the death of the testator. However, Article 838 of the Civil Code authorizes the filing of a petition for probate of the will filed by the testator himself. (4) Acain vs. IAC (October 27, 1987) Acain vs. IAC (G.R. No. 72706, October 27, 1987) FACTS: Constantino provided that all his Segundo (father of Segundo‘s children.
filed a petition for the probate of the will of the late Nemesio. The will shares from properties he earned with his wife shall be given to his brother Constantino). In case Segundo dies, all such property shall be given to Segundo pre-deceased Nemesio.
The oppositors Virginia, a legally adopted daughter of the deceased, and the latter's widow Rosa filed a motion to dismiss on the following grounds: (1) the petitioner has no legal capacity to institute these proceedings; (2) he is merely a universal heir and (3) the widow and the adopted daughter have been preterited. ISSUE: Whether or not there is preterition of compulsory heirs in the direct line under Article 854, NCC with regards to respondents. RULING: Preterition consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them either because they are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited. Insofar as the widow is concerned, Article 854 may not apply as she does not ascend or descend from the testator, although she is a compulsory heir. Even if the surviving spouse is a compulsory heir, there is no preterition even if she is omitted from the inheritance, for she is not in the direct line. The same thing cannot be said of the other respondent Virginia, whose legal adoption by the testator has not been questioned by petitioner. Adoption gives to the adopted person the same
rights and duties as if he were a legitimate child of the adopter and makes the adopted person a legal heir of the adopter. It cannot be denied that she was totally omitted and preterited in the will of the testator and that both adopted child and the widow were deprived of at least their legitime. Neither can it be denied that they were not expressly disinherited. This is a clear case of preterition of the legally adopted child. Preterition annuls the institution of an heir and annulment throws open to intestate succession the entire inheritance. The only provisions which do not result in intestacy are the legacies and devises made in the will for they should stand valid and respected, except insofar as the legitimes are concerned. The universal institution of petitioner together with his brothers and sisters to the entire inheritance of the testator results in totally abrogating the will because the nullification of such institution of universal heirs - without any other testamentary disposition in the will - amounts to a declaration that nothing at all was written. In order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it. Petitioner is not the appointed executor, neither a devisee nor a legatee there being no mention in the testamentary disposition of any gift of an individual item of personal or real property he is called upon to receive. At the outset, he appears to have an interest in the will as an heir. However, intestacy having resulted from the preterition of respondent adopted child and the universal institution of heirs, petitioner is in effect not an heir of the testator. He has no legal standing to petition for the probate of the will left by the deceased. *(5) Non vs. CA (February 15, 2000) Non vs. CA (G.R. No. 137287, February 15, 2000) FACTS: Petitioners contended that the late Nilo employed forgery and undue influence to coerce Julian to execute the deed of donation. Petitioner Rebecca averred that her brother Nilo employed fraud to procure her signature to the deed of extrajudicial settlement. She added that the exclusion of her retardate sister, Delia Viado, in the extrajudicial settlement, resulted in the latter's preterition that should warrant its annulment. ISSUE: Whether or not the exclusion of petitioner Delia Viado from the deed of extrajudicial settlement has had the effect of preterition RULING: Yes. When Virginia died intestate, her part of the conjugal property, the Isarog property included, was transmitted to her heirs — her husband Julian and their children. The inheritance, which vested from the moment of death of the decedent, remained under a co-ownership regime among the heirs until partition. Petitioners are vague on how and in what manner fraud, forgery and undue influence occurred.
The exclusion of petitioner Delia Viado, alleged to be a retardate, from the deed of extrajudicial settlement verily has had the effect of preterition. This kind of preterition, however, in the absence of proof of fraud and bad faith, does not justify a collateral attack on the TCT issued. The relief instead rests on Article 1104 of the Civil Code to the effect that where the preterition is not attended by bad faith and fraud, the partition shall not be rescinded but the preterited heir shall be paid the value of the share pertaining to her. Again, the appellate court has thus acted properly in ordering the remand of the case for further proceedings to make the proper valuation of the Isarog property and ascertainment of the amount due petitioner Delia Viado. (6) JLT Agro vs. Balansag (March 11, 2005) JLT Agro vs. Balansag (G.R. No. 141882, March 11, 2005) FACTS: Julian married Antonia and they had 2 children. After Antonia‘s death, Julian married Milagros and they had 4 children. A compromise agreement was entered wherein it was to be owned in common by Julian and his 2 children from the 1st marriage. The 3 of them executed a Deed of Assignment of Assets and Liabilities in favor of JLT Agro. A Supplemental Deed was later executed transferring ownership over the lot in favor of JLT Agro. Meanwhile, Milagros and her children took possession over the subject lot. Balansag also bought the said lot from Milagros. ISSUE: Whether or not there is preterition of Don Julian’s heirs from the second marriage. RULING: No. Article 854 provides that the preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious. Manresa defines preterition as the omission of the heir in the will, either by not naming him at all or, while mentioning him as father, son, etc., by not instituting him as heir without disinheriting him expressly, nor assigning to him some part of the properties. It is the total omission of a compulsory heir in the direct line from inheritance. It consists in the silence of the testator with regard to a compulsory heir, omitting him in the testament, either by not mentioning him at all, or by not giving him anything in the hereditary property but without expressly disinheriting him, even if he is mentioned in the will in the latter case. But there is no preterition where the testator allotted to a descendant a share less than the legitime, since there was no total omission of a forced heir. In the case at bar, Don Julian did not execute a will since what he resorted to was a partition inter vivos of his properties, as evidenced by the court approved Compromise Agreement. Thus, it is premature if not irrelevant to speak of preterition prior to the death of Don Julian in the absence of a will depriving a legal heir of his legitime. Besides, there are other properties which the heirs from the second marriage could inherit from Don Julian upon his death. A couple of provisions in the Compromise Agreement are indicative of Don Julian‘s desire along this line.
Moreover, the appellate court erred in holding that future legitime can be determined, adjudicated and reserved prior to the death of Don Julian. At the time of the execution of the deed of assignment covering the lot in question in favor of petitioner, Julian remained the owner of the property since ownership over the subject lot would only pass to his heirs from the second marriage at the time of his death. Hence, the total omission from inheritance of Don Julian‘s heirs from the second marriage, a requirement for preterition to exist, is hardly imaginable as it is unfounded. *Cases 7-12 c/o Macoy (13) Dy Yieng Seangio, et. al vs. Reyes, et. al (G.R. No. 140371-72, November 27, 2006) FACTS: On September 1988, private respondents filed a petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of the late Segundo. Petitioners opposed assailing among others that Segundo left a holographic will which is entirely a declaration of disinheritance affecting Alfredo, one of the private respondents. Private respondents opposed the probate on the ground that the holographic will did not contain any disposition of the estate of the deceased. RTC dismissed the petition for probate reasoning that the holographic will clearly shows preterition. ISSUE: Whether or not the document executed by Segundo can be considered as a holographic will. RULING: Yes. A holographic will, as provided under Article 810 of the Civil Code, must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed. The document, although it may initially come across as a mere disinheritance instrument, conforms to the formalities of a holographic will prescribed by law. It is written, dated and signed by the hand of the testator himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa (Article 783) can be clearly deduced from the terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative disposition of the latter‘s property, the disinheritance of the son (Alfredo) nonetheless, is an act of disposition in itself. In other words, the disinheritance results in the disposition of the property of the testator in favor of those who would succeed in the absence of Alfredo. Moreover, it is a fundamental principle that the intent or the will of the testator, expressed in the form and within the limits prescribed by law, must be recognized as the supreme law in succession. All rules of construction are designed 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. Holographic wills, therefore, being usually prepared by one who is not learned in the law should be construed more liberally than the ones drawn by an expert, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the execution of the instrument and the intention of the testator. In
this regard, the document, even if captioned as Kasulatan ng Pag-alis ng Mana, was intended by the testator to be his last testamentary act and was executed by him in accordance with law in the form of a holographic will. Unless the will is probated, the disinheritance cannot be given effect. With regard to the issue on preterition, the court believes that the compulsory heirs in the direct line were not preterited in the will. It was Segundo‘s last expression to bequeath his estate to all his compulsory heirs, with the sole exception of Alfredo. (14) Testate Estate of Rigor vs. Rigor (April 30, 1979) Testate Estate of Rigor vs. Rigor (G.R. No. L-22036, April 30, 1979) FACTS: Father Rigor bequeathed the ricelands to anyone of his nearest male relatives who would pursue an ecclesiastical career until his ordination as a priest. If there is no qualified devisee or the testator's nephew became a priest and he was excommunicated, the administration of the ricelands would be under the responsibility of the incumbent parish priest of Victoria and his successors. ISSUE: Whether or not the intestate heirs of Father Rigor are entitled to the ricelands and that the aforesaid devise/bequest is deemed inoperative. RULING: Yes. From Father Rigor‘s testamentary provisions, it may be deduced that the he intended to devise the ricelands to his nearest male relative who would become a priest, who was forbidden to sell the ricelands, who would lose the devise if he discontinued his studies for the priesthood, or having been ordained a priest, he was excommunicated, and who would be obligated to say annually twenty masses with prayers for the repose of the souls of the testator and his parents. On the other hand, it is clear that the parish priest of Victoria would administer the ricelands only in two situations: one, during the interval of time that no nearest male relative of the testator was studying for the priesthood and two, in case the testator's nephew became a priest and he was excommunicated. Clearly the bequest herein refers to the testator's nearest male relative living at the time of his death and not to any indefinite time thereafter. Again, the parish priest of Victoria could become a trustee only when the testator's nephew living at the time of his death, who desired to become a priest, had not yet entered the seminary or, having been ordained a priest, he was excommunicated. Those two contingencies did not arise. There being neither substitution nor accretion as to the said ricelands, the same should be distributed among the testator's legal heirs. The effect is as if the testator had made no disposition as to the said ricelands.
*(15) Bagunu vs. Piedad (December 8, 2000) Bagunu vs. Piedad (G.R. No. 14097, December 8, 2000) FACTS: Ofelia Hernando Bagunu (collateral relative of the fifth civil degree) moved to intervene in a special proceeding for the intestate proceeding of the Estate of Augusto H. Piedad. Ofelia assailed the finality of the order of the trial court awarding the entire estate to respondent Pastora Piedad (collateral relative of the third civil degree) contending that the proceedings were tainted with procedural infirmities including an incomplete publications of the notice of hearing, lack of personal notice to the heirs and creditors, and irregularity in the disbursements of allowances and withdrawals by the administrator of the estate. ISSUES: Can petitioner, a collateral relative of the fifth civil degree (Ofelia), inherit alongside respondent, a collateral relative of the third civil degree (Pastora)? Does the rule of proximity in intestate succession find application among collateral relatives? RULING: Ofelia cannot inherit alongside Pastora. The rule on proximity is a concept that favors the relatives nearest in degree to the decedent and excludes the more distant ones except when and to the extent that the right of representation can apply. In the direct line, right of representation is proper only in the descending, never in the ascending, line. In the collateral line, the right of representation may only take place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters of the decedent when such children survive with their uncles or aunts. Among collateral relatives, except only in the case of nephews and nieces of the decedent concurring with their uncles or aunts, the rule of proximity, expressed in Article 962, is an absolute rule. Respondent, being a relative within the third civil degree, of the late Augusto H. Piedad excludes petitioner, a relative of the fifth degree, from succeeding ab intestato to the estate of the decedent. Thus, Pastora excludes Ofelia from succeeding ab intestate to the estate of Augusto. In fine, a maternal aunt can inherit equally with a first cousin of the half blood but an uncle or an aunt, being a 3rd degree relative, excludes the cousins of the decedent, being in the 4th degree in relationship, the latter in turn would have priority in succession to a 5th degree relative. *(16) Bagunu vs. Piedad (December 8, 2000)
RULING: By right of representation, a more distant blood relative of a decedent is, by operation of law, raised to the same place and degree of relations as that of a closer blood relative of the same decedent. The representative thereby steps into the shoes of the person he represents and succeeds, not from the latter, but from the person to whose estate the person represented would have succeeded. The right of representation does not apply to other collateral relatives within the fifth civil degree. (17) Intestate Estate of Petra Rosales vs. Rosales (February 27, 1987) Intestate Estate of Petra Rosales vs. Rosales (G.R. No. L-40789, February 27, 1987) FACTS: Petra Rosales died intestate. She was survived by her husband Fortunato and their 2 children Magna and Antonio. Another child, Carterio, predeceased her, leaving behind a child, Macikequerox, and his widow Irenea, the petitioner. The estate of the deceased has an estimated gross value of about P30,000. In the intestate proceedings, the trial court issued an Order declaring the following individuals the legal heirs of the deceased and prescribing their respective share of the estate: Fortunato (husband), 1/4; Magna (daughter), 1/4; Macikequerox (grandson), 1/4; and Antonio (son), 1/4. Irenea insisted in getting a share of the estate in her capacity as the surviving spouse of the late Carterio, son of the deceased, claiming that she is a compulsory heir of her mother-in-law together with her son, Macikequerox. The trial court denied her plea. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the widow whose husband predeceased his mother can inherit from the latter, her mother-in-law. RULING: No. A surviving spouse is not an intestate heir of his/her parent-in-law. Intestate or legal heirs are classified into 2 groups, namely, those who inherit by their own right, and those who inherit by the right of representation. Restated, an intestate heir can only inherit either by his own right, as in the order of intestate succession provided for in the CC or by the right of representation provided for in Art 981 of the same law. The relevant provisions of the CC are Arts. 980, 981, 982 and 999. There is no provision which states that a widow (surviving spouse) is an intestate heir of her mother-in-law. The entire Code is devoid of any provision which entitles her to inherit from her mother-in-law either by her own right or by the right of representation. The provisions of the Code which relate to the order of intestate succession (Articles 978 to 1014) enumerate with meticulous exactitude the intestate heirs of a decedent, with the State as the final intestate heir. If the legislature intended to make
the surviving spouse an intestate heir of the parent-in-law, it would have so provided in the Code. Irenea argues that she is a compulsory heir in accordance with the provisions of Art. 887. The provision refers to the estate of the deceased spouse in which case the surviving spouse (widow or widower) is a compulsory heir. It does not apply to the estate of a parent-in-law. By the same token, the provision of Art 999 does not support Irenea's claim. The estate contemplated in the article is the estate of the deceased spouse. The subject matter of the intestate estate proceedings in this case is that of the deceased Petra Rosales, the mother-inlaw of Irenea. It is from the estate of Petra that Macikequerox draws a share of the inheritance by the right of representation as provided by Art 981.- Art 971 explicitly declares that Macikequerox is called to succession by law because of his blood relationship. He does not succeed his father, Carterio (the person represented) who predeceased his grandmother, Petra, but the latter whom his father would have succeeded. Irenea cannot assert the same right of representation as she has no filiation by blood with her mother-in-law. Irenea also contends that at the time of the death of her husband, he had an inchoate or contingent right to the properties of Petra Rosales as compulsory heir. Be that as it may, said right of her husband was extinguished by his death that is why it is their son Macikequerox who succeeded from Petra by right of representation. He did not succeed from his deceased father Carterio. (18) Bicomong vs. Almanza (November 29, 1977) Bicomong vs. Almanza (G.R. No. L-37365, November 29, 1977) FACTS: Simeon Bagsic was married to Sisenanda and they had 3 children (Perpetua, Igmedia and Ignacio). When Sisenanda died, Simeon remarried to Silvestra and they had 2 children (Felipa and Maura). The plaintiffs are the grandchildren of Simeon with his children in his first marriage. Respondents are the heirs of the children of Simeon in his second marriage. The subject matter is the half undivided share of Maura Bagsic in 5 parcels of land which she inherited from Silvestra Glorioso. There are 3 sets of plaintiffs: the Bicomongs, the Tolentinos, and Francisca Bagsic, for their shares in the properties of Maura Bagsic. When Maura Bagsic died, the properties passed on to Cristeta Almanza, who also died without division of the properties. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of plaintiffs. The Almanzas appealed to CA. It was contended that since Maura died ahead of Felipa, the latter succeeded to Maura‘s estate, to the exclusion of the plaintiffs. They said the relatives nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones. The plaintiffs claim that Felipa died ahead of Maura.
ISSUE: Whether or not Maura is succeeded by Felipa to the exclusion of nephews and nieces of half blood. RULING: No. In the absence of descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or surviving spouse, collateral relatives succeed to the entire estate of deceased. It appearing that Maura Bagsic, child of the 2nd marriage in which her share is in dispute, died intestate without an issue, and her husband and all her ascendants had died ahead of her, she is succeeded by the surviving collateral relatives, namely the daughter of her sister of full blood and the 10 children of her brother and 2 sisters of half blood in accordance with the provision of Art. 975 of the New Civil Code. By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and nieces are entitled to inherit in their own right. Nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by right of representation (that is per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased. Article 975 makes no qualification as to whether the nephews or nieces are on the maternal or paternal line and without preference as to whether their relationship to the deceased is by whole or half blood, the sole niece of whole blood of the deceased does not exclude the ten nephews and 2 sisters of half blood. (19) In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay, et. al vs. Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay (G.R. No. 183053, June 16, 2010) (20) Calisterio vs. Calisterio (April 6, 2000) Calisterio vs. Calisterio (G.R. No. 136467, April 6, 2000) FACTS: Teodorico died intestate and was survived by his wife, Marietta. Teodorico was the 2nd husband of Marietta who had been previously married to James, who disappeared without a trace. Teodorico and Marietta were married without having secured a court declaration that James was presumptively dead. Antonia, surviving sister of Teodorico, claiming to be sole surviving heir of Teodorico, alleged that the marriage between Teodorico and Marieta was bigamous and thus, null and void. ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage between deceased Teodorico and Marietta is valid and thus, Marietta can inherit from Teodorico. RULING: The 2nd marriage, having been contracted during the regime of the Civil Code, is valid notwithstanding the absence of a judicial declaration of presumptive death of James. The conjugal property of Teodorico and Marietta, no evidence having been adduced to indicate another property regime between the spouses, pertains to them in common. Upon the
dissolution with the death of Teodorico, the property should be divided into 2 equal portions: one portion to the surviving spouse and the other portion to the estate of the deceased spouse. The successional right in intestacy of a surviving spouse over the net estate of the deceased, concurring with the legitimate brothers and sisters or nephews and nieces (the latter by right of representation), is ½ of the inheritance, the brothers and sisters or nephews and nieces, being entitled to the other half. Brothers and sisters exclude nephews and nieces except only in representation by the latter of their parents who predeceased or are incapacitated to succeed. (21) Baranda vs. Baranda (May 20, 1987) Baranda vs. Baranda (GR No.73275, May 20, 1987) FACTS: Paulina died intestate without leaving any direct descendants, ascendants or compulsory heirs. She was survived by her 2 brothers and several nephews and nieces, including private respondents as well as petitioners who are children of 2 deceased brothers and a sister. But, before her demise, herein respondents Evangelina and Elisa Baranda, have already taken possession of 6 parcels of land and caused the transfer of such by virtue of questionable sales which the late widow had also sought the reconveyance which did not however materialized. The petitioners, siblings of the decedent, now sought the annulment of the supposed sale or transfers. Respondents question the petitioners‘ legal standing, them being not a party-in-interest in the deed of sale. ISSUE: Can the petitioners impugn the validity of the sales? RULING: Yes. As heirs, petitioners have the legal standing to challenge the deeds of sale purportedly signed by Paulina, for otherwise, property claimed to belong to her estate, will be excluded therefrom to their prejudice. Their claims are not merely contingent or expectant. While they are not compulsory heirs, they are nonetheless legitimate heirs and so, since they stand to be benefited or injured by the judgment or suit, and are thus, entitled to protect their share of a successional right. Moreover, this Court has repeatedly held that the legal heirs of a decedent are the parties in interest to commence ordinary actions arising out of the rights belonging to the deceased, without separate judicial declaration as to their being heirs of said decedent, provided that there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the decedent's estate. There being no pending special proceeding for the settlement of Paulina Baranda's estate, the petitioners, as her intestate heirs, had the right to sue for the reconveyance of the disputed properties, not to them, but to the estate itself of the decedent, for distribution later in accordance with law. Otherwise, no one else could question the simulated sales and the subjects thereof would remain in the name of the alleged vendees, who would thus have been permitted to benefit from their deception. In fact, even if it were assumed that those suing
through attorneys-in-fact were not properly represented, the remaining petitioners would still have sufficed to impugn the validity of the deeds of sale. (22) Imperial vs. CA (October 8, 1999) Imperial vs. CA (G.R. No. 112483, October 8, 1999) FACTS: Leoncio sold his land to his natural son. But it was alleged that the sale was in fact a donation. 2 years after the donation, Leoncio filed a complaint for annulment of the said Deed of Absolute Sale on the ground that he was deceived into signing the said document. But said dispute was resolved through a compromise agreement. Pending execution of the said judgment, Leoncio died, leaving only 2 heirs – his natural son and an adopted son, Victor. In 1962, Victor was substituted in place of Leoncio in the said case and it was he who moved for execution of judgment. 15 years thereafter, Victor died single and without issue, survived only by his natural father, Ricardo. 4 years after, Ricardo died, leaving as his only heirs 2 children, Cesar and Teresa. Both filed a complaint seeking to nullify the Deed of Absolute Sale alleging that the conveyance of said property impaired the legitimate of Victor, their natural brother and predecessor-ininterest. When Leoncio died, it was only Victor who was entitled to question the donation. But instead of filing an action to contest the donation, Victor asked to be substituted as plaintiff and even moved for the execution of the judgment. ISSUE: Whether or not Victor was deemed to have renounced his legitime RULING: No renunciation of legitime may be presumed from the foregoing acts. At the time of the substitution, the judgment approving the compromise agreement has already been rendered. Victor merely participated in the execution of the compromise judgment. He was not a party to the compromise agreement. Our law on succession does not countenance tacit repudiation of inheritance. It requires an express act on the part of the heir. Victor‘s act of moving for execution of the compromise judgment cannot be considered an act of renunciation of his legitime. He was, therefore, not precluded or estopped form subsequently seeking the reduction of the donation. Nor are Victor‘s heirs, upon his death, precluded from doing so, as their right to do so is expressly recognized. If the heir should die without having accepted or repudiated the inheritance, his right shall be transmitted to his heirs. (23) Vda. De Tupas vs. RTC of Negros Occidental (G.R. No. L-65800, October 3, 1986) FACTS: Epifanio R. Tupas owned lots Nos. 837, 838 and 839 of the Sagay Cadastre,his private capital. On August 2, 1977, he donated the foregoing properties to the Tupas Foundation, Inc., which had thereafter obtained title to said lots. Epifanio R. Tupas died on August 20, 1978, childless, leaving
his widow, Partenza Lucerna, as his only surviving compulsory heir. He also left a will dated May 18, 1976. Among the assets listed in his will were lots Nos. 837, 838 and 839. Claiming that said donation had left her practically destitute of any inheritance, Tupas' widow brought suit against Tupas Foundation, Inc. to have the donation declared inofficious insofar as it prejudiced her legitime, therefore reducible by one-half. The Trial Court dismissed the complaint because: (1) the properties which were disposed of by way of donation one year before the death of Epifanio Tupas were no longer part of his hereditary estate at the time of his deathon August 20, 1978; (2) the donated properties were Epifanio's capital or separate estate; and (3) Tupas Foundation, Inc. being a stranger and not a compulsoryheir, the donation inter vivos made in its favor was not subject to collation under Art. 1061, C.C. ISSUE: Whether or not the donation inter vivos made in favor of Tupas Foundation, Inc. was subject to collation. RULING: Yes. A person's prerogative to make donations is subject to certain limitations, one of which is that he cannot give by donation more than he can give by will (Art. 752, Civil Code). If he does, so much of what is donated as exceeds what he can give by will is deemed inofficious and the donation is reducible to the extent of such excess, though without prejudice to its taking effect in the donor's lifetime or the donee's appropriating the fruits of the thing donated (Art. 771, Civil Code). Such a donation is, moreover, collationable, that is, its value is in imputable into the hereditary estate of the donor at the time of his death for the purpose of determining the legitime of the forced or compulsory heirs and the freely disposable portion of the estate. This is true as well of donations to strangers as of gifts to compulsory heirs, although the language of Article 1061 of the Civil Code would seem to limit collation to the latter class of donations. `Collationable gifts' should include gifts made not only in favor of the forced heirs, but even those made in favor of strangers, so that in computing the legitimes, the value of the property donated should be considered part of the donor's estate. The fact, therefore, that the donated property no longer actually formed part of the estate of the donor at the time of his death cannot be asserted to prevent its being brought to collation. Collation contemplates and particularly applies to gifts inter vivos. The further fact that the lots donated were admittedly capital or separate property of the donor is of no moment, because a claim of inofficiousness does not assert that the donor gave what was not his, but that he gave more than what was within his power to give. In order to find out whether a donation is inofficious or not, the rules are: (1) determination of the value of the property which remains at the time of the testator's death;(2) determination of the obligations, debts, and charges which have to be paid out or deducted from the value of the property thus left;(3) the determination of the difference between the assets and the liabilities, giving rise to the hereditary estate;(4) the addition to the net value thus found, of the value, at the time they were made, of donations subject to collation; and (5)the determination of the amount of the legitimes by getting from the
total thus found the portion that the law provides as the legitime of each respective compulsory heir. Deducting the legitimes from the net value of the hereditary estate leaves the freely disposable portion by which the donation in question here must be measured. If the value of the donation at the time it was made does not exceed that difference, then it must be allowed to stand. But if it does, the donation is inofficious as to the excess and must be reduced by the amount of said excess. In this case, if any excess be shown, it shall be returned or reverted to the sole compulsory heir of the deceased Epifanio R. Tupas. *(24) Zaragoza vs. CA (G.R. No. 106401, September 29, 2000) FACTS: Flavio Zaragoza Cano was the registered owner of certain parcels of land. He had four children: Gloria, Zacariaz, Florentino and Alberta, all surnamed Zaragoza. In 1964, he died without a will and was survived by his four children. In 1981, one of his children, Alberta, filed a complaint against his other child Florentino for delivery of her inheritance share, consisting of Lots 943 and 871 claiming that she is a natural born Filipino citizen and alleged that her father, in his lifetime, partitioned the afore-cited properties among his four children. The shares of her brothers and sister were given to them in advance by way of deed of sale, but without valid consideration, while her share, which consists of lots no. 871 and 943, was not conveyed by way of deed of sale then because she became an American citizen and was prohibited to acquire lands in the Philippines except by hereditary succession. Florentino contended that the adjudication of Lots 943 and 871 in favor of Alberta, as her inheritance share, had no legal basis since there was no will nor any document that would support the transfer. ISSUE: Whether or not the partition inter vivos by Flavio Zaragoza Cano of his properties, which include Lots 871 and 943, is valid. RULING: Yes. It is basic in the law of succession that a partition inter vivos may be done for as long as legitimes are not prejudiced. Art. 1080 of the Civil Code is clear on this. The legitime of compulsory heirs is determined after collation, as provided for in Article 1061: Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition. Unfortunately, collation cannot be done in this case where the original petition for delivery of inheritance share only impleaded one of the other compulsory heirs. The petition must therefore be dismissed without prejudice to the institution of a new proceeding where all the indispensable parties are present for the rightful determination of their respective legitimes and if the legitimes were prejudiced by the partition inter vivos. (25) Noceda vs. CA (G.R. No. 119730, September 2, 1999)
FACTS: On June 1, 1981, Directo, Noceda, and Arbizo, heirs of the late Celestino Arbizo, extrajudicially settled a parcel of land known as Lot 1121. However, on August 17, 1981, another extrajudicial settlement – partition of Lot 1121 was executed: 3/5 of the said land went to Maria Arbizo while Direto and Noceda got only 1/5 each. Later, it was found out that Lot 1121 contained an area in excess of that stated in its tax declaration, which was the basis of partition. After Directo demanded from Noceda to vacate her land on the ground that the latter fenced the entire land of the former without her consent, a complaint for the recovery of possession and ownership and rescission/annulment of donation was filed against Noceda. Noceda claimed that the discrepancies between the two deeds of partition with respect to the area of Lot 1121 and the respective share of the parties therein indicated that they never intended any of the deeds to be the final determination of the portions of Lot1121 allotted to them. ISSUE: Should Lot 1121 be partitioned in accordance with the extra-judicial settlement dated August 17, 1981? RULING: Yes. The discrepancies between the extra-judicial settlements executed by Directo, Noceda and Maria Arbizo on June 1, 1981 and August 17, 1981 only meant that the latter was intended to supersede the former. Although in the extra-judicial settlement dated August 17, the heirs of Celestino partitioned only less than the actual land area to conform with the area declared under tax declaration, the heirs were actually occupying a bigger portion the total land area of which exceeded that of what is stated in the tax declaration. The purpose of partition is to put an end to co-ownership. It seeks a severance of the individual interest of each co-owner, vesting in each a sole estate in specific property and giving to each one a right to enjoy his estate without supervision or interference from the other. There is no coownership where portion owned is concretely determined and identifiable, though not technically described, or that said portions are still embraced in one and the same certificate of title does not make said portions less determinable or identifiable, or distinguishable, one from the other, or that dominion over each portion less exclusive, in their respective owners. A partition legally made confers upon each heir the exclusive ownership of the property adjudicated to him. (26) Heirs of Seraspi vs. CA (G.R. No. 135602, April 28, 2000) FACTS: Marcelino contracted 3 marriages. At the time of his death in 1943, he had 15 children from his 3 marriages. In 1948, his intestate estate was partitioned into 3 parts by his heirs, each part corresponding to the share of the heirs in each marriage.
In the same year, Patronicio, representing the heirs of the 1st marriage, sold the share of the heirs in the estate to Dominador, an heir of the 2nd marriage. Dominador then sold said share to Quirico and Purficacion Seraspi. They then obtained a loan but failed to pay it. As such, the lands were sold to Kalibo Rural Bank and then subsequently sold to Manuel Rata. Rata allowed Quirico to administer the property. Simeon, Marcelino‘s child by his third wife, taking advantage of the illness of Quirico, who had been paralyzed due to a stroke, forcibly entered the lands in question and took possession thereof. The Seraspis purchased the lands from Manuel Rata and afterwards filed a complaint against Simeon for recovery of possession of the lands. ISSUE: Whether or not Simeon has a right over the parcels of land in question on the basis of succession. RULING: No. Simeon cannot base his ownership on succession for the property was not part of those distributed to the heirs of the third marriage, to which he belongs. In the partition of the intestate estate of Marcelino, the properties were divided into 3 parts, each part being reserved for each group of heirs belonging to one of the 3 marriages Marcelino entered into. Since the contested parcels of land were adjudicated to the heirs of the first and second marriages, it follows that private respondent, as heir of the 3rd marriage, has no right over the parcels of land. While, as heir to the intestate estate of his father, private respondent was co-owner of all of his father‘s properties, such co-ownership rights were effectively dissolved by the partition agreed upon by the heirs of Marcelino. *(27) Zaragoza vs. CA (September 29, 2000) RULING: A partition inter vivos may be done for as long as legitimes are not prejudiced. Article 1080 is clear on this. The legitime of the compulsory heirs is determined after collation. Unfortunately, collation cannot be done in this case where the original petition for delivery of inheritance share only impleaded one of the other compulsory heirs. The petition must be dismissed without prejudice to the institution of a new proceeding wherein all the indispensable parties are present for the rightful determination of their respective legitimes and if the legitimes were prejudiced by the partitioning inter vivos. (28) Crucillo vs. IAC (317 SCRA 351) FACTS: Balbino A. Crucillo was married to Juana Aure. They had eight (8) children, namely, Elena, Maximino, Perpetua, Santiago, Adelaida, Miguel, Rafael, and Vicente, all surnamed Crucillo. Balbino A. Crucillo died intestate in 1909. Juana Aure died on November 19, 1949. Balbino A. Crucillo left, among other things, two(2) parcels of unregistered land situated at General Luna Street, Mendez-Nunez,Cavite. He was survived by his heirs, who became co-owners of the
aforesaid lots and thereafter, entered into the possession thereof with each one of them possessing their respective shares and exercising acts of ownership. Rafael had sold two other lots belonging to the estate. Nicasio Sarmiento (son of Perpetua Crucillo) has caused a residential lot situated at Gen. Trias St., Mendez, Cavite to be registered in his name alone, Miguel Crucillo is in exclusive possession ofa residential lot located at General Trias St., Mendez, Cavite. An agriculturalland located at Sitio Niko, Mendez, Cavite, covered by Tax Declaration No. 1179 is owned in common by Vicente Crucillo, Buenaventurada Sarmiento (daughter of the deceased Perpetua Crucillo), Adelaida Crucillo, and Atty. Conrado Crucillo (son of the deceased Santiago Crucillo). Another agricultural land situated at Pulong Munti, is owned in common by the Heirs of Elena Crucillo, Adelaida Crucillo,and Nicasio Sarmiento. Still another property covered by Tax Declaration No. 653is owned in common by Buenaventurada Sarmiento and Vicente Crucillo, whose share was acquired by Miguel Crucillo. Additionally, Primitiva Mendoza is in possession of an agricultural land in Pulong Munti and also in Niko, Mendez, Cavite, while Carlomagno Crucillo possesses an agricultural land at Sitio Maykiling, Mendez, Cavite, Miguel Crucillo is exclusively occupying an agricultural land at Pulong Munti and Ulo ng Bukal, and the remaining portion another agricultural land after the other portion thereof had been sold by Rafael Crucillo. ISSUE: Whether or not there was a partition of the disputed property. RULING: Yes. From the foregoing facts, it can be gleaned unerringly that the heirs of Balbino A. Crucillo agreed to orally partition subject estate among themselves, as evinced by their possession of the inherited premises, their construction of improvements thereon, and their having declared in their names for taxation purposes their respective shares. These are indications that the heirs of Balbino A. Crucillo agreed to divide subject estate among themselves, for why should they construct improvements thereon, pay the taxes therefor, and exercise other acts of ownership, if they did not firmly believe that the property was theirs. It is certainly foolhardy for petitioners to claim that no oral partition was made when their acts showed otherwise. Moreover, it is unbelievable that the possession of the heirs was by mere tolerance, judging from the introduction of improvements thereon and the length of time that such improvements have been in existence. Then too, after exercising acts of ownership over their respective portions of the contested estate, petitioners are estopped from denying or contesting the existence of an oral partition. The oral agreement for the partition of the property owned in common is valid, binding and enforceable on the parties. (29) Pada-Kilario vs. CA (G.R. No. 134329, January 19, 2000) FACTS: Jacinto Pada had 6 children, namely, Marciano, Ananias, Amador, Higino, Valentina and Ruperta. He died intestate. His estate included a parcel of land denominated as Cadastral Lot No. 5581. It is the northern portion of Cadastral Lot No. 5581 which is the subject of the instant controversy. During the lifetime of Jacinto Pada, his half-brother, Feliciano Pada, obtained permission from him to build a house on the northern portion of Cadastral Lot No. 5581. When Feliciano died, his son, Pastor, continued living in the house together with his 8 children. Petitioner
Verona Pada-Kilario, one of Pastor's children, has been living in that house since 1960. In 1951, the heirs of Jacinto Pada entered into an extra-judicial partition of his estate. For this purpose, they executed a private document which they, however, never registered in the Office of the Registrar of Deeds of Leyte. At the execution of the extra-judicial partition, Ananias was himself present while his other brothers were represented by their children. Their sisters, Valentina and Ruperta, both died without any issue. Marciano was represented by his daughter, Maria; Amador was represented by his daughter, Concordia; and Higino was represented by his son, Silverio who is the private respondent in this case. It was to both Ananias and Marciano, represented by his daughter, Maria, that Cadastral Lot No. 5581 was allocated during the said partition. When Ananias died, his daughter, Juanita, succeeded to his right as co-owner of said property. Later on, it was contended that the extra-judicial partition of the estate of Jacinto Pada executed in 1951 was invalid and ineffectual since no special power of attorney was executed by either Marciano, Amador or Higino in favor of their respective children who represented them in the extra-judicial partition. Moreover, it was effectuated only through a private document that was never registered in the office of the Registrar of Deeds of Leyte. ISSUE: ---RULING: The extrajudicial partition of the estate of Jacinto Pada among his heirs made in 1951 is valid, albeit executed in an unregistered private document. No law requires partition among heirs to be in writing and be registered in order to be valid. The requirement in Sec. 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court that a partition be put in a public document and registered, has for its purpose the protection of creditors and the heirs themselves against tardy claims. The object of registration is to serve as constructive notice to others. It follows then that the intrinsic validity of partition not executed with the prescribed formalities is not undermined when no creditors are involved. Without creditors to take into consideration, it is competent for the heirs of an estate to enter into an agreement for distribution thereof in a manner and upon a plan different from those provided by the rules from which, in the first place, nothing can be inferred that a writing or other formality is essential for the partition to be valid. The partition of inherited property need not be embodied in a public document so as to be effective as regards the heirs that participated therein. The requirement of Article 1358 of the Civil Code that acts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property, must appear in a public instrument, is only for convenience, non-compliance with which does not affect the validity or enforceability of the acts of the parties as among themselves. And neither does the Statute of Frauds under Article 1403 of the New Civil Code apply because partition among heirs is not legally deemed a conveyance of real property, considering that it involves not a transfer of property from one to the other but rather, a confirmation or ratification of title or right of property that an heir is renouncing in favor of another heir who accepts and receives the inheritance. The extrajudicial partition which the heirs of Jacinto Pada executed voluntarily and spontaneously in 1951 has produced a legal status. When they discussed and agreed on the division of the estate of Jacinto Pada, it is presumed that they did so in furtherance of their mutual interests. As such, their division is conclusive, unless and until it is shown that there were debts existing against the estate which had not been paid. No showing,
however, has been made of any unpaid charges against the estate of Jacinto Pada. Thus, there is no reason why the heirs should not be bound by their voluntary acts. (30) Union Bank vs. Santibañez (G.R. No. 149926, February 23, 2005) FACTS: Sometime in 1980, the First Countryside Credit Corporation (FCCC) entered into two successive loan agreement with the respondents‘ father which Edmund and his father Ephraim were signatory to a promissory note in favor of the FCCC for the purchase of (3) three Agricultural AllPurposed Diesel tractors. The second one having a Continuing Guaranty Agreement. Sometime in February 1981, respondents‘ father died, leaving a holographic will. Subsequently in March 1981, testate proceedings commenced before the RTC of Iloilo City appointing Edmund, as one of the heirs, as the special administrator of the estate of the decedent. During the pendency of the testate proceedings, the surviving heirs, Edmund and his sister Florence Santibañez Ariola, executed a Joint Agreement wherein they agreed to divide between themselves and take possession of the three (3) tractors; that is, two (2) tractors for Edmund and one (1) tractor for Florence. Each of them was to assume the indebtedness of their late father to FCCC, corresponding to the tractor respectively taken by them. Sometime in 1981, a Deed of Assignment with Assumption of Liabilities was executed by and between FCCC and Union Savings and Mortgage Bank, wherein the FCCC as the assignor, among others, assigned all its assets and liabilities to Union Savings and Mortgage Bank. Demand letters were sent by the petitioner to Edmund for the settlement of his account with the petitioner but Edmund failed to heed the same and refused to pay. Thus, on February 1988, the petitioner filed a Complaint for sum of money against the respondents, before the RTC of Makati City and summonses were issued against both, but the one intended for Edmund was not served since he was in the United States and there was no information on his address or the date of his return to the Philippines. Accordingly, the complaint was narrowed down to respondent Florence S. Ariola. In her answer Florence Ariola alleged that the loan documents did not bind her since she was not a party thereto. Considering that the joint agreement signed by her and her brother Edmund was not approved by the probate court, it was null and void; hence, she was not liable to the petitioner under the joint agreement. The RTC in its decision favoring the respondents stated that the claim of the petitioner should have been filed with the probate court before which the testate estate of the late Efraim Santibañez was pending, as the sum of money being claimed was an obligation incurred by the said decedent. The trial court also found that the Joint Agreement apparently executed by his heirs, Edmund and Florence, was, in effect, a partition of the estate of the decedent. However, the said agreement was void, considering that it had not been approved by the probate court, and that there can be no valid partition until after the will has been probated. Ruling that the joint agreement executed by the heirs was null and void, the trial court held that the petitioner‘s cause of action against respondent Florence S. Ariola must necessarily fail.
On its appeal to the CA, petitioner claims that the obligations of the deceased were transmitted to the heirs as provided in Article 774 of the Civil Code, there was thus no need for the probate court to approve the joint agreement where the heirs partitioned the tractors owned by the deceased and assumed the obligations related thereto. The petitioner also points out that the holographic will of the deceased did not include nor mention any of the tractors subject of the complaint, and, as such was beyond the ambit of the said will. The petitioner also proffers that, considering the express provisions of the continuing guaranty agreement and the promissory notes executed by the named respondents, the latter must be held liable jointly and severally liable thereon. Thus, there was no need for the petitioner to file its money claim before the probate court. Finally, the petitioner stresses that both surviving heirs are being sued in their respective personal capacities, not as heirs of the deceased. The CA affirmed the decision of the Trial Court thus the petitioner filed an appeal before the SC. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner can hold the respondents’ liable on the obligation of their deceased father being the successor of the property, rights and obligation of the decedent without probate of a will of the decedent. RULING: The Court held that, in testate succession, there can be no valid partition among the heirs until after the will has been probated. The law enjoins the probate of a will and the public requires it, because unless a will is probated and notice thereof given to the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of his property by will may be rendered nugatory. The authentication of a will decides no other question than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requirements or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of a will. The Court also stressed that, it is well-settled is the rule that a probate court has the jurisdiction to determine all the properties of the deceased, to determine whether they should or should not be included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered. The said court is primarily concerned with the administration, liquidation and distribution of the estate and to avoid prejudice to other possible heirs and creditors who may have a valid claim against the estate of the deceased. The Court in perusing the joint agreement, it provides that the heirs as parties thereto "have agreed to divide between themselves and take possession and use the above-described chattel and each of them to assume the indebtedness corresponding to the chattel taken as herein after stated which is in favor of First Countryside Credit Corp." The assumption of liability was conditioned upon the happening of an event, that is, that each heir shall take possession and use of their respective share under the agreement. It was made dependent on the validity of the partition, and that they were to assume the indebtedness corresponding to the chattel that they were each to receive. The partition being invalid as earlier discussed, the heirs in effect did not receive any such tractor. It follows then that the assumption of liability cannot be given any force and effect.
The Court in determining whether the heirs‘ assumption of the indebtedness of the decedent is binding without a probate proceeding, the Court ruled in the negative. The Court notes that the loan was contracted by the decedent. The petitioner, purportedly a creditor of the late Efraim Santibañez, should have thus filed its money claim with the probate court in accordance with Section 5, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court. The SC denied the petition. (31) Santos vs. Santos (G.R. No. 139524, October 12, 2000) FACTS: In 1993, Ladislao Santos (Appellant), a resident in the U.S., filed a complaint for Judicial Partition, with the RTC of Rizal, against his brother, Eliseo Santos and the latter's son, Philip Santos (Appellees), averring that when his and Eliseo Santos' sister, Isidra Santos, died intestate on April 1, 1967, without any issue, they inherited her parcel of land covered by Tax Declaration 1115; that, sometime in 1993, he discovered that Tax Declaration No. 1115 had been cancelled by Tax Declaration No. 7892, under the name of his nephew, Appellee Philip Santos, and that, on December 16, 1980, Virgilio Santos executed a "Deed of Absolute Sale of Unregistered Residential Land" on the basis of which Tax Declaration No. 04-0016 was issued to the Philip Santos. The Appellees insisted that acquisitive prescription had already set in; and that estoppel barred the instant action for partition. According to Appellees, Virgilio Santos was already in possession of the subject property since after the death of Isidra Santos on April1, 1967. Thereafter, Philip Santos took possession of the subject property on December 16, 1980 upon its sale on said date. They reasoned out that more than 13years had lapsed from April 1, 1967 to December 16, 1980; and that more than 12years had lapsed from the time Philip Santos took possession of the property on December 16, 1980 up to the time Ladislao Santos filed the action for partition on May 13, 1993. Further, it was argued that the possession of Virgilio Santos could be tacked with the possession of Philip Santos bringing to a total of 26 years the time that elapsed before the filing of the case in 1993. These 26 years of inaction call for the application of the principle of estoppel by laches. ISSUE: --RULING: Considering that there was no proof that Ladislao Santos executed any "Combined Deed of Partition" in tandem with the Eliseo Santos, a co-ownership stillsubsisted between the brothers over the Isidra property. Article 494 of the Civil Code states that, "prescription does not run in favor of a co-owner or co-heir against his co-owners or his co-heirs so long as he expressly or impliedly recognizes the co-ownership." In Adile vs. Court of Appeals, it was held: ―…Prescription, as a mode of terminating a relation of co-ownership, must have been preceded by repudiation (of the co-ownership). The act of repudiation, in turn, is subject to certain conditions: (1) a co-owner repudiates the co-ownership; (2) such an act of repudiation is clearly made known to the other co-owners; (3) the evidence thereon is clear and conclusive; and (4) he has been in possession through open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of the property for the period required by law."
There was no showing that Eliseo Santos had complied with these requisites. The SC was not convinced that Eliseo had repudiated the co-ownership, and even if he did, there was no showing that the same had been clearly made known to Ladislao. Under Article 1119 of the New Civil Code, acts of possessory character executed in virtue of license or tolerance of the owners shall not be available for the purposes of possession. Indeed, Filipino family ties being close and well-knit as they are, and considering that Virgilio Santos was the ward of Isidra Santos ever since when Virgilio Santos was still an infant, it was but natural that the Appellant did not interpose any objection to the continued stay of Virgilio Santos and his family on the property and even acquiesced thereto. Appellant must have assumed too, that his brother, the Appellee Eliseo Santos, allowed hisson to occupy the property and use the same for the time being. Hence, such possession by Virgilio Santos and Philip Santos of the property did not constitute a repudiation of the co-ownership by the Appellee Eliseo Santos and of his privies for that matter. Penultimately, the action for partition is not barred by laches. An action to demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. Each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the common property. (32) Baylon vs. Amador (G.R. No. 160701, February 9, 2004)
(33) Alonzo vs. IAC (159 SCRA 259) (34) Primary Structures Corp. vs. Sps. Valencia (G.R. No. 150060, August 19, 2003) (35) Celestino Balus vs. Saturnino Balus, et. al (G.R. No. 168970, January 15, 2010) FACTS: Herein petitioner and respondents are the children of the spouses Rufo and Sebastiana Balus. On January 3, 1979, Rufo mortgaged a parcel of land, which he owns, as a security for a loan he obtained from the Rural Bank of Maigo, Lanao del Norte. Rufo failed to pay his loan. As a result, the mortgaged property was foreclosed and was sold to the bank as the sole bidder at a public auction held for that purpose. The property was not redeemed within the period allowed by law. More than two years after the auction, or on January 25, 1984, the sheriff executed a Definite Deed of Sale in favor of the Bank. Thereafter, a new title was issued in the name of the Bank. On October 10, 1989, herein petitioner and respondents executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate adjudicating to each of them a specific one-third portion of the subject property consisting of 10,246 square meters. The Extrajudicial Settlement also contained provisions wherein the parties admitted knowledge of the fact that their father mortgaged the subject property to the Bank and that they intended to redeem the same at the soonest possible time. Three years after the execution of the Extrajudicial Settlement, herein respondents bought the subject property from the Bank. On October 12, 1992, a Deed of Sale of Registered Land was executed by the Bank in favor of respondents. Subsequently, a TCT was issued in the name of respondents. Meanwhile, petitioner continued possession of the subject lot.
On June 27, 1995, respondents filed a Complaint for Recovery of Possession and Damages against petitioner, contending that they had already informed petitioner of the fact that they were the new owners of the disputed property, but the petitioner still refused to surrender possession of the same to them. The RTC held that the right of petitioner to purchase from the respondents his share in the disputed property was recognized by the provisions of the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate, which the parties had executed before the respondents bought the subject lot from the Bank. Aggrieved by the Decision of the RTC, herein respondents filed an appeal with the CA. The CA ruled that when petitioner and respondents did not redeem the subject property within the redemption period and allowed the consolidation of ownership and the issuance of a new title in the name of the Bank, their co-ownership was extinguished. Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. ISSUE: Whether or not co-ownership by him and respondents over the subject property persisted even after the lot was purchased by the Bank and title thereto transferred to its name, and even after it was eventually bought back by the respondents from the Bank. RULING: The court is not persuaded. At the outset, it bears to emphasize that there is no dispute with respect to the fact that the subject property was exclusively owned by petitioner and respondents' father, Rufo, at the time that it was mortgaged in 1979. This was stipulated by the parties during the hearing conducted by the trial court on October 28, 1996. Evidence shows that a Definite Deed of Sale was issued in favor of the Bank on January 25, 1984, after the period of redemption expired. There is neither any dispute that a new title was issued in the Bank's name before Rufo died on July 6, 1984. Hence, there is no question that the Bank acquired exclusive ownership of the contested lot during the lifetime of Rufo. The rights to a person's succession are transmitted from the moment of his death. In addition, the inheritance of a person consists of the property and transmissible rights and obligations existing at the time of his death, as well as those which have accrued thereto since the opening of the succession. In the present case, since Rufo lost ownership of the subject property during his lifetime, it only follows that at the time of his death, the disputed parcel of land no longer formed part of his estate to which his heirs may lay claim. Stated differently, petitioner and respondents never inherited the subject lot from their father. Furthermore, petitioner's contention that he and his siblings intended to continue their supposed co-ownership of the subject property contradicts the provisions of the subject Extrajudicial Settlement where they clearly manifested their intention of having the subject property divided or partitioned by assigning to each of the petitioner and respondents a specific 1/3 portion of the same. Partition calls for the segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the property owned in common. It seeks a severance of the individual interests of each co-owner, vesting in each of them a sole estate in a specific property and giving each one a right to enjoy his estate without supervision or interference from the other. In other words, the purpose of
partition is to put an end to co-ownership, an objective which negates petitioner's claims in the present case. (36) Heirs of Joaquin Teves vs. CA (G.R. No. 109963, October 13, 1999) FACTS: Marcelina Cimafranca and Joaquin Teves had nine children, namely Teotimo, Felicia, Pedro, Andres, Asuncion, Gorgonio, Cresenciano, Arcadia and Maria. Andres, however, predeceased both his parents and died without issue. After Marcelina Cimafranca and Joaquin Teves died, intestate and without debts, in 1943 and 1953, respectively, their children executed extrajudicial settlements purporting to adjudicate unto themselves the ownership over two parcels of land belonging to their deceased parents and to alienate their shares thereto in favor of their sister Asuncion Teves. The validity of these settlements executed pursuant to section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court is the primary issue in the present case. ISSUE: ---RULING: The extrajudicial settlements executed by the heirs of Joaquin Teves and Marcelina Cimafranca are legally valid and binding. The extrajudicial settlement of a decedent‘s estate is authorized by section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. For a partition pursuant to section 1 of Rule 74 to be valid, the following conditions must concur: (1) the decedent left no will; (2) the decedent left no debts, or if there were debts left, all had been paid; (3) the heirs are all of age, or if they are minors, the latter are represented by their judicial guardian or legal representatives; (4) the partition was made by means of a public instrument or affidavit duly filed with the Register of Deeds. The Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement & Sale covering Lot 6409 purports to divide Joaquin Teves‘ estate among only six of his heirs, namely Asuncion, Teotimo, Felisia, Gorgonio, Arcadia and Maria Teves. It does not mention nor bear the signatures of either Pedro or Cresenciano Teves although they are both intestate heirs of Joaquin Teves and as such, are entitled to a proportionate share of the decedent‘s estate. The fact that Cresenciano predeceased Joaquin Teves does not mean that he or, more accurately, his heirs, lose the right to share in the partition of the property for this is a proper case for representation, wherein the representative is raised to the place and degree of the person represented and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were living. However, the action of Pedro and Cresenciano had already prescribed because an action for reconveyance based upon an implied trust pursuant to article 1456 of the Civil Code prescribes in ten years from the registration of the deed or from the issuance of the title. The division of Lot 769-A, on the other hand, was embodied in two extrajudicial settlements and do not purport to exclude Cresenciano from his participation in Lot 769-A or to cede his share therein in favor of Asuncion. Ricardo Teves has no right to demand partition of Lot 769-A because the two extrajudicial settlements have already effectively partitioned such property. Every act which is intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a
compromise, or any other transaction. The extrajudicial settlements executed in 1956 and 1959 adjudicated Lot 769-A in equal shares unto the eight heirs of Marcelina Cimafranca. Such a partition, which was legally made, confers uponeach heir the exclusive ownership of the property adjudicated to him. Although Cresenciano, Ricardo‘s predecessor-in-interest, was not a signatory to the extrajudicial settlements, the partition of Lot 769-A among the heirs was made in accordance with their intestate shares under the law. The extrajudicial settlements covering Lot 769-A were never registered. However, in the case of Vda. de Reyes vs. CA, 35 the Court, interpreting section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, upheld the validity of an oral partition of the decedent‘s estate and declared that the non-registration of an extrajudicial settlement does not affect its intrinsic validity when there are no creditors or the rights of creditors are not affected. *(37) Non vs. CA (February 15, 2000) (38) Aznar Brothers Realty Company vs. CA (March 7, 2000) FACTS: Private respondents set up the defense of ownership and questioned the title of Aznar to the subject lot, alleging that the Extrajudicial Partition with Deed of Absolute Sale upon which petitioner bases its title is null and void for being fraudulently made. Private respondents claim that not all the known heirs of Crisanta participated in the extrajudicial partition and that 2 person who participated and were made parties thereto were not heirs of Crisanta. ISSUE: -----RULING: Under Article 1104, partition made with preterition shall not be rescinded unless it be proved that there was bad faith or fraud. In this case, there was no evidence of bad faith or fraud. As to the 2 parties to the deed who were allegedly not heirs, Article 1105 is applicable. The participation of non-heirs does not render the partition void in its entirety but only to the extent corresponding them. (39) Fernandez vs. Fernandez (G.R. No. 143256, August 28, 2001) FACTS: Rodolfo was adopted by the late spouses Jose and Generosa. When Jose died, a Deed of Extra-judicial Partition was executed between Rodolfo and Generosa. After learning the transaction, the nephews and nieces of Jose filed an action to declare the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition void ab initio. ISSUE: Whether or not the deed of extra-judicial settlement of the estate of Dr. Jose Fernandez between Generosa vda. de Fernandez and Rodolfo is null and void.
RULING: While one‘s legitimacy can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party, this doctrine has no application in the instant case considering that respondents‘ claim was that petitioner Rodolfo was not born to the deceased spouses Jose and Generosa Fernandez. We do not have a situation wherein they (respondents) deny that Rodolfo was a child of their uncle‘s wife. Rodolfo failed to prove his filiation with the deceased spouses Fernandez. Such is a factual issue which has been thoroughly passed upon and settled both by the trial court and the appellate court. There is no record of the birth of Rodolfo. The Application for Recognition of Back Pay Rights is a public document but it was not executed to admit the filiation of Jose with Rodolfo. The public document contemplated in Article 172 of the Family Code refer to the written admission of filiation embodied in a public document purposely executed as an admission of filiation and not as obtaining in this case wherein the public document was executed as an application for the recognition of rights to back pay. Possession of status of a child does not in itself constitute an acknowledgment; it is only a ground for a child to compel recognition by his assumed parent. While baptismal certificates may be considered public documents, they are evidence only to prove the administration of the sacraments on the dates therein specified, but not the veracity of the statements or declarations made therein with respect to his kinsfolk. Rodolfo is not a child by nature of the spouses Fernandez and not a legal heir of Dr. Jose Fernandez , thus the subject deed of extra-judicial settlement of the estate of Dr. Jose Fernandez between Generosa vda. de Fernandez and Rodolfo is null and void insofar as Rodolfo is concerned.
BAYLON vs. AMADOR February 9, 2004 HELD: The requirement of a written notice is mandatory. The SC has long established the rule that, notwithstanding actual knowledge of a co-owner, the latter is still entitled to a written notice from the selling co-owner in order to remove all uncertainties about the sale, its terms and conditions as wells as its efficacy and status. Private respondent was never given such written notice. He thus still has the right to redeem said 1/3 portion of the subject property. On account of the lack of written notice of the sale by the other co-heirs, the 30-day period never commenced. Exception (case where the SC held otherwise): ALONZO vs. IAC 159 SCRA 259
HELD: Actual knowledge was considered an equivalent to a written notice of sale because the right of legal redemption was invoked more than 13 years after the sales were concluded. SC rules that written notice is mandatory, as a general rule: PRIMARY STRUCTURES CORP. vs. SPS. VALENCIA August 19, 2003 HELD: The 30-day period of redemption had yet to commence when private respondent Rosales sought to exercise the right of redemption on March 31, 1987, a day after she discovered the sale from the Office of the City Treasurer of Butuan City or when the case was initiated on October 16, 1987, before the trial court. The written notice is mandatory. The SC has long established the rule that notwithstanding the actual knowledge of a co-owner, the latter is still entitled to a written notice form the selling coowner in order to remove all uncertainties about the sale, its terms and conditions, as well as its efficacy and status. Even in Alonzo vs. IAC, relied upon by the petitioner in contending that actual knowledge should be an equivalent to a written notice of sale, the SC made it clear that it was not reversing the prevailing jurisprudence. The SC simply adopted an exception to the general rule in view of the peculiar circumstances of this case. In Alonzo, the right of legal redemption was invoked several years, not just days or months, after the consummation of the contracts of sale but more than 13 years after the sales were concluded.
(12) MENDOZA vs. DE LOS SANTOS (March 20, 2013) FACTS: The properties subject in the instant case are three parcels of land located in Sta. Maria, Bulacan: Lot Nos. 1681-B and 1684 are presently in the name of respondent Julia Delos Santos(respondent). Lot No. 1646-B, on the other hand, is also in the name of respondent but coowned by Victoria Pantaleon, who bought one-half of the property from petitioner Maria Mendoza and her siblings. Petitioners are grandchildren of Placido Mendoza (Placido) and Dominga Mendoza (Dominga). Placido and Dominga had four children: Antonio, Exequiel, married to Leonor, Apolonio and Valentin. Petitioners alleged that the properties were part of Placido and Dominga‘s properties that were subject of an oral partition and subsequently adjudicated to Exequiel. After Exequiel‘s death, it passed on to his spouse Leonor and only daughter, Gregoria. After Leonor‘s death, her share went to Gregoria. In 1992, Gregoria died intestate and without issue. They claimed that after Gregoria‘s death, respondent, who is Leonor‘s sister, adjudicated unto herself all these properties as the sole surviving heir of Leonor and Gregoria. Hence, petitioners claim that the properties should have been reserved by respondent in their behalf and must now revert back to them, applying Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserve troncal.
Respondent, however, denies any obligation to reserve the properties as these did not originate from petitioners‘ familial line and were not originally owned by Placido and Dominga. The RTC found merit in petitioners‘ claim and granted their action for Recovery of Possession by ReservaTroncal, Cancellation of TCT and Reconveyance. ISSUES: 1. Whether the properties in dispute are reservable properties; and 2. Whether petitioners are entitled to a reservation of these properties. RULING: Based on the circumstances of the present case, Article 891 on reserve troncal is not applicable. It should be pointed out that the ownership of the properties should be reckoned only from Exequiel‘s as he is the ascendant from where the first transmission occurred, or from whom Gregoria inherited the properties in dispute. The law does not go farther than such ascendant/brother/sister in determining the lineal character of the property. It was also immaterial for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga or whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. What is pertinent is that Exequiel owned the properties and he is the ascendant from whom the properties in dispute originally came. Gregoria, on the other hand, is the descendant who received the properties from Exequiel by gratuitous title. Moreover, Article 891 simply requires that the property should have been acquired by the descendant or prepositus from an ascendant by gratuitous or lucrative title. A transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return. Moreover, petitioners cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios as they are not relatives within the third degree of Gregoria from whom the properties came. The person from whom the degree should be reckoned is the descendant/prepositus―the one at the end of the line from which the property came and upon whom the property last revolved by descent. It is Gregoria in this case. Petitioners are Gregoria‘s fourth degree relatives, being her first cousins. First cousins of the prepositus are fourth degree relatives and are not reservees or reservatarios. The conclusion, therefore, is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in character, petitioners cannot benefit from reservatroncal. First, because Julia, who now holds the properties in dispute, is not the other ascendant within the purview of Article 891 of the Civil Code and second, because petitioners are not Gregoria‘s relatives within the third degree.