Wills and Succession: General Provision

Wills and Succession

Reference: Title IV. – Succession, New Civil Code of the Philippines

  1. General Provisions Art. 774-783
    1. Definition of Succession – Art. 774
      1. Art. 774. Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligation to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted trough his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law.
      2. Elements of definition – The elements of succession are:
        1. It is a mode of acquisition of property, rights and obligation;
        2. the value of the the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others;
        3. the transmittal is either by his will or by operation of law.
    2. Definition of Inheritance – Art. 776
      1. Art. 776. The inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death.
    3. Distinguish succession from inheritance
      Succession Inheritance
      Succession is a mode of acquisition of Property, Rights and obligation of a person Inheritance is the actual Property, Rights and obligation of a person
      The persons right to the said Property, Rights and obligation is extinguished by his death The recipient of the inheritance gain right to the said Property, Rights and obligation on the death of the decedent.
  2. Wills in General Art. 783-787, 796-803, 818, 839
    1. What is a will Art. 783
      1. Art. 783. A will is an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death.
    2. Characteristic of a will:
      1. Purely personal act – Art. 784-787, discuss with Art. 818
        1. Art 784. The making of a will is a strictly personal act; it cannot be left in whole or in part to the discretion of a third person, or accomplished through the instrumentality of an agent or attorney.
        2. Art. 785. The duration or efficacy of the designation of heirs, devisees or legatees, or the determination of the portions which they are to take, when referred to by name, cannot be left to the discretion of a third person.
        3. Art. 786. The testator may entrust to a third person the distribution of specific property or sums of money that he may leave in general to specified classes or causes, and also the designation of the persons, institutions or establishments to which such property or sums of money are to be given or applied.
        4. Art. 787. The testator may not make a testamentary disposition in such manner that another person has to determine whether or not it is to be operative.
        5. Art. 818. Two or more persons cannot make a will jointly, or in the same instrument, either for their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person.
          1. Discussion – because wills is a personal act of the testator, and is restricted by law to assigned these act to another person. creating a joint will with another person will defy the restriction of the law and will disable the capacity of the testator to revoke, amend or dispose the said inheritance without the consent of his co-testator.
      2. Free act – Art. 839 (3)(4)(5)(6)
        1. Art. 839. the will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases:
          1. it the formalities required by law have not been complied with;
          2. If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentality incapable of making a will, at the time of execution;
          3. It it was executed through force or under duress, or the influence of fear, or threats;
          4. If it was produced by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person;
          5. If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud;
          6. if the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto.
      3. Dispositive of property (exceptions)
      4. Revocable – Art. 828, 818
        1. Art. 828. A will may be revoked by the testator at any time before death. Any waiver or restriction of this right is void.
        2. Art. 818. Two or more persons cannot make a will jointly, or in the same instrument, either for their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person.
      5. Testator has testamentary capacity – Art. 796-803
        1. Art. 796. Any persons who are not expressly prohibited by law may make a will.
        2. Art. 797. In order to make a will it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution.
        3. Art. 799. To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full possesion of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken, unimpaired, or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause. It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of his bounty, and the character of the testamentary act.
        4. Art. 800. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind, in the absence of proof to the contrary. The burden of proof that the testator was not of sound mind at the time of making his dispositions is on the person who opposes the probate of the will; but if the testator, one month or less, before making his will was publicly known to be insane, the person who maintains the validity of the will must prove that the testator made it during a lucid interval.
        5. Art. 801. Supervening incapacity does not invalidate an effective will, nor is the will of an incapable validated by the supervening capacity.
        6. Art. 802. A married woman may make a will without the consent of her husband, and without the authority of the court.
        7. Art. 803. A married woman may dispose by will of all her separate property as well as her share of the conjugal partnership or absolute community property.
      6. Takes effect upon death – Art. 777
        1. Art. 777. The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.
      7. Gratuitous – no exchange of values
    3. Rules on interpretation of wills – Art. 788-794
      1. Patent on interpretation of wills – Art. 788-794
        1. Art. 788. If a testamentary disposition admits of different interpretations, in case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative shall be preferred.
        2. Art. 789. When there is an imperfect description, or when no person or property exactly answers the description, mistake and omissions must be corrected, if the error appears from the context of the will or from extrinsic evidence, excluding the oral declarations of the testator as to his intention; and when an uncertainty arises upon the face of the will, as to the application of any of its provisions, the testator’s intention is to be ascertained from the words of the will, taking into consideration the circumstances under which it was made, excluding such oral declarations.
        3. Art. 790. The words of a will are to be taken in their ordinary and grammatical sense, unless a clear intention to use them is another sense can be gathered, and that other can be ascertained. Technical words in a will are to be taken in their technical sense, unless the context clearly indicates a contrary intention, or unless it satisfactorily appears that he was unacquainted with such technical sense.
        4. Art. 791. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy.
        5. Art. 792. The invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions, unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made.
        6. Art. 793. Property acquired after the making of a will shall only pass thereby, as if the testator had possessed it at the time of making the will, should it expressly appear by the will that such was his intention.
        7. Art. 794. Every devise or legacy shall convey all the interest which the testator could devise or bequeath in the  will that he intended to convey a less interest.
    4. Validity of wills – Art. 795, discuss with Art. 815-817,777
      1. Art. 795. The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is made.
      2. Art. 815. When a Filipino is in foreign country, he is authorized to make a will in any of the forms established by the law of the country in which he may be. Such will may be probated in the Philippines.
      3. Art. 816. The will of alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made with the formalities prescribed by the law of the place in which he resides, or according to the formalities observed in his country, or in conformity with those which this code prescribes.
      4. Art. 817. A will made in the Philippines by a citizen or subject of another country, which is executed in accordance with the law of the country of which he is a citizen or subject, and which might be proved and allowed by the law of his own country, shall have the same effect as if executed according to the laws of the Philippines.
      5. Art. 777. The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.
  3. Different kinds of wills: Holographic and Attested or Notarial
    1. Common requisites – Art. 804. Every will must be in writing and executed in a language or dialect known to the testator.
      1. Lopez vs Liboro
      2. Suroza vs Honrado
      3. Abangan vs Abangan
    2. Requisites for Notarial.Attested Will – Art. 805-808
      1. Art. 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator’s name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another./ The testator ot the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin, and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page./ The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of the testator and of one another./If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses, it shall be interpreted to them.
      2. Art. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. The notary public by the testator and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will, or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court.
      3. Art. 807. If the testator be deaf, or a deaf-mute, he must personally read the will, if able to do so; otherwise, he shall designate two persons to read it and communicate to him, in some practicable manner, the contents thereof.
      4. Art. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him twice, once by one of the subscribing witness and again, by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged.
      5. Payad vs Tolentino
      6. Matias vs Salud
      7. Garcia vs. Lacuesta
      8. Barut vs Cabacungan
      9. Nera vs Rimando
      10. Javellana vs Ledesma
    3. Special requisites for handicapped testators – Art. 807-808
      1. If the testator is Deaf or Deaf-mute
        1. Art. 807. If the testator be deaf, or a deaf-mute, he must personally read the will, if able to do so; otherwise, he shall designate two persons to read it and communicate to him, in some practicable manner, the contents thereof.
      2. If the testator is Blind
        1. Art. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him twice, once by one of the subscribing witness and again, by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged.
      3. Garcia vs Vasquez
      4. Alvarado vs Gaviola
    4. Rule on substantial compliance with requirements of notarial will –
      1. Art. 809. In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud, our undue and improper pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the invalid if it is proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of Article 805.
        1. Icasiano vs Icasiano
        2. Cargo vs Cargo
        3. Javellana vs Ledesma
        4. Cruz vs Villasor
        5. Caneda vs CA
    5. Requisites for Holographic Will – Art. 810-814
      1.  Art. 810. A person may execute a holographic will which 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.
      2.  Art. 811. In the probate of a holographic will, it shall be necessary that at least one witness who knows the handwriting and signature of the testator explicitly declare that the will and the signature are in the handwriting of the testator. if the will is contested, atleast three of such witnesses shall be required./ In the absence of any competent witness referred to in the preceding paragraph, and if the court deem it necessary, except testimony may be resorted to.
      3.  Art. 812. In holographic wills, the dispositions of the testator written below his signature must be dated and signed by him in order to make them valid as testamentary dispositions.
      4.  Art. 813. When a number of dispositions appearing in the holographic will are signed without being dated, and the last disposition has a signature and date, such date validates the dispositions preceding it, whatever be the time of prior dispositions.
      5.  Art. 814. In case of any insertion, cancellation, erasure or alteration in a holographic will, the testator must authenticate the same by his full signature.
        1. Compare: Gran vs Yap VERSUS Rodelas vs Aranza
        2. Labrador vs CA
        3. Compare: Azaola vs Singson VERSUS Codoy vs Calugay
    6. Witnesses to attested wills – Art. 820-824
      1. Art. 820. Any person of sound mind and of the age of eighteen years or more, and not blind, deaf or dumb, and able to read and write, may be a witness to the execution of a will mentioned in Article 805 of this code.
      2. Art. 821. The following are disqualified from being witnesses to a will:
        1. Any person not domiciled in the Philippines
        2. Those who have been convicted of falsification of a document, perjury or false statement. 
      3. Art. 822. If the witnesses attesting the execution of a will are competent at the time of attestation, their becoming subsequently incompetent shall not prevent the allowance of the will.
      4. Art. 823. If a person attests the execution of a will, to whom or to whose spouse, or parent, or child, a devise or legacy is given by such will, such devise or legacy shall, so far only as concerns such person, or spouse, or parent, or child of such person, or any one claiming under such person or spouse, or parent, or child, be void, unless there are three other competent witness to such will. However, such person so attesting shall be admitted as a witness as if such devise or legacy had not been made given.
      5. Art. 824. A mere charge on the estate of the testator for the payment of debts due at the time of the testator’s death does not prevent his creditors from being competent witnesses to his will.
        1. Qualifications – Requisite of person who may be a witness to the execution of a will.
          1. Any person of sound mind;
          2. Age of eighteen years or more;
          3. Not blind, deaf or dumb; and
          4. Able to read and write, 
        2. Disqualifications
          1. Art. 821. The following are disqualified from being witnesses to a will:
            1. Any person not domiciled in the Philippines
            2. Those who have been convicted of falsification of a document, perjury or false statement. 

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