CASE DIGEST: Arellano vs. Pascual

G.R. No. 189776: December 15, 2010

AMELIA P. ARELLANO, represented by her duly appointed guardians, AGNES P. ARELLANO and NONA P. ARELLANO, Petitioner,v. FRANCISCO PASCUAL and MIGUEL PASCUAL, Respondents.

CARPIO MORALES, J.:


FACTS:

Pascual Jr. died intestate on January 2, 1999 leaving as heirs his siblings, namely: petitioner Amelia who is represented by her daughters Agnes and Nona, and respondents Francisco and Miguel.

In a petition for Judicial Settlement of Intestate Estate and Issuance of Letters of Administration, , respondents alleged that a parcel of land (donated property) located in Makati, , transferred by the decedent to petitioner, "may be considered as an advancelegitime" of petitioner.

The probate court provisionally passed upon the validity of the donation then further held that the land in contention is subject to collation following Art. 1061 of the New Civil Code. On appeal, the CA sustained the probate courts ruling that the property donated to petitioner is subject to collation.

Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

I. Whether or not the property donated to petitioner is subject to collation.

II. Whether or not the property of the estate should have been ordered equally distributed among the parties.

HELD: Petition is GRANTED.

CIVIL LAW; SUCCESSION; COLLATION

First Issue; Collation takes place when there are compulsory heirs, one of its purposes being to determine the legitime and the free portion.

The term collation has two distinct concepts: first, it is a mere mathematical operation by the addition of the value of donations made by the testator to the value of the hereditary estate; and second, it is the return to the hereditary estate of property disposed of by lucrative title by the testator during his lifetime. The purposes of collation are to secure equality among the compulsory heirs in so far as is possible, and to determine the free portion, after finding the legitime, so that inofficious donations may be reduced.

The records do not show that the decedent left any primary, secondary, or concurring compulsory heirs. He was only survived by his siblings, who are his collateral relatives and, therefore, are not entitled to any legitime that part of the testators property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for compulsory heirs. The decedent not having left any compulsory heir who is entitled to any legitime, he was at liberty to donate all his properties, even if nothing was left for his siblings-collateral relatives to inherit. His donation to petitioner, assuming that it was valid, is deemed as donation made to a "stranger," chargeable against the free portion of the estate. There being no compulsory heir, however, the donated property is not subject to collation.

CIVIL LAW; SUCCESSION; DETERMINATION OF ESTATE

Second Issue; The decedents remaining estate should thus be partitioned equally among his heirs-siblings-collateral relatives, herein petitioner and respondents, pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Code (Arts. 1003 & 1004).



CA Decision ordering the collation of the property donated to Amelia, to the estate of the deceased is SET ASIDE and the records of the cases is REMANDED to the court of origin for further proceedings in the case for the purpose of determining what finally forms part of the estate, and thereafter to divide whatever remains of it equally among the parties.

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