(Question VII, Civil Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Sydney, during her lifetime, was a successful lawyer. By her own choice, she remained unmarried and devoted all her time to taking care of her nephew and two (2) nieces: Socrates, Saffinia, and Sophia. She wrote a will giving all her properties remaining upon her death to the three (3) of them. The will was admitted to probate during her lifetime. Later, she decided to make a new will giving all her remaining properties only to the two (2) girls, Saffinia and Sophia. She then tore up the previously probated will. The second will was presented for probate only after her death. However, the probate court found the second will to be void for failure to comply with formal requirements.
(a) Will the doctrine of dependent relative revocation apply? (2.5%)
(b) Will your answer be the same if the second will was found to be valid but both Saffinia and Sophia renounce their inheritance? (2.5%)
(a) No. Answer
Under jurisprudence, the doctrine of dependent relative revocation is usually applied where the act of destruction is connected with the making of another will so as fairly to raise the inference that the testator meant the revocation of the old to depend upon the efficacy of a new disposition intended to be substituted, the revocation will be conditional and dependent upon the efficacy of the new disposition; and if, for any reason, the new will intended to be made as a substitute is inoperative, the revocation fails and the original will remains in full force. Rule
In the case at bar, there is no indication of any intent on Sydney to make the revocation of the first will depend upon the efficacy of the new will. In fact, she tore up the previously probated will resulting in its complete destruction. This indicated that she no longer intended for the dispositions in the old will to apply. Apply
Thus, the doctrine of dependent relative revocation will not apply. Conclusion
(b) Yes. Under the Civil Code and jurisprudence, renunciation of inheritance is not connected nor related to the doctrine of relative revocation.Thus, the renunciation by both Saffinia and Sophia will not change the fact that Sydney intended for the complete destruction of the first will and the creation of a new one.
(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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