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Question 5

V

(Question V, Civil Law, 2018 Bar Exam)

Sol Soldivino, widow, passed away, leaving two (2) legitimate children: a 25-year-old son, Santino (whom she had not spoken to for five [5] years prior to her death since he attempted to kill her at that time), and a 20-year-old daughter, Sara. She left an estate worth PhP8 million and a will containing only one provision: that PhP1 million should be given to “the priest who officiated at my wedding to my children’s late father.” Sara, together with two (2) of her friends, acted as an attesting witness to the will.

On the assumption that the will is admitted for probate and that there are no debts, divide the estate and indicate the heirs/legatees entitled to inherit, the amount that each of them will inherit, and where (i.e., legitime/free portion/intestate share) their shares should be charged. (5%)

Suggested Answer:

The estate will be divided as follows:

Php7 Million – goes to Santino as a compulsory heir being a legitimate child

Php   1 Million – goes to the priest as a legatee

——————-

Php   8 Million – total estate Answer

Under the Civil Code, legitimate children are compulsory heirs whose legitime consists of one-half of the hereditary estate. If there is any balance from the free portion, they shall inherit equally thereto. Further, a child or descendant may only be disinherited if he has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants. Moreover, any attesting witness to the execution of a will is disqualified from or incapable of succeeding unless there are three (3) more witnesses and the bequeathing of the devise/legacy shall be invalidated. As for a priest, he is disqualified from inheriting only if he heard the confession of the testator during his last illness, or he is the minister of the gospel who extended spiritual aid to him during the same period. Rule

In the case at bar, Santino and Sara are legitimate children who are compulsory heirs. However, Sara is disqualified from inheriting on the ground that she is an attesting witness, and not on the attempt to kill since there is no conviction. There are only two (2) remaining witnesses resulting in the non-applicability of the exception. As for the priest, the disqualification does not apply to him and hence he may inherit. Apply

Thus, the share of Santino as a legitimate child shall be from their legitime which constitutes half of the estate at Php4 Million plus the balance of the free portion at Php 3 Million after deducting the share that goes to the priest at Php1 Million. Conclusion

(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)

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