CASE DIGEST: Del Rosario vs. Ferrer (G.R. No. 187056; September 20, 2010)

JARABINI G. DEL ROSARIO, Petitioner, vs. ASUNCION G. FERRER, substituted by her heirs, VICENTE, PILAR, ANGELITO, FELIXBERTO, JR., all surnamed G. FERRER, and MIGUELA FERRER ALTEZA, Respondents. (G.R. No. 187056; September 20, 2010)

FACTS: There was a donation by the spouses to their children and granddaughter captioned as “Donation Mortis Causa,” stating that it is not revocable.

DEFECTS: It had no attestation clause, and had only two (2) witnesses.
ACTION OF THE DONEES: The donees accepted the donation.

After the death of one of the donors, the donation was submitted to probate but the Regional Trial Court made a ruling to the effect that it should be considered, despite of the caption, a donation inter vivos due to its irrevocability. The The Court of Appeals, on appeal, ruled it to be one of mortis causa and since it did not comply with the formalities of a will, it is void.

ISSUE: Is the CA correct in its ruling?
HELD: No, the CA is not correct. The designation that it is a Donation Mortis Causa is not controlling. If a donation by its terms is inter vivos, this character is not altered by the fact that the donor styles it mortis causa.

In Austria-Magat v. Court of Appeals, 426 SCRA 263 (2002), it was held that “irrevocability” is a quality absolutely incompatible with the idea of conveyances mortis causa, where “revocability” is precisely the essence of the act. A donation mortis causa has the following characteristics:

[1] It conveys no title or ownership to the transferee before the death of the transferor; or, what amounts to the same thing, that the transferor should retain the ownership (full or naked) and control of the property while alive;
[2] That before his death, the transfer should be revocable by the transferor at will, ad nutum; but revocability may be provided for indirectly by means of a reserved power in the donor to dispose of the properties conveyed; and
[3] That the transfer should be void if the transferor should survive the transferee.

Since the donation in this case was one made inter vivos, it was immediately operative and final. The reason is that such kind of donation is deemed perfected from the moment the donor learned of the donee’s acceptance of the donation. The acceptance makes the donee the absolute owner of the property donated.

Concepcion v. Concepcion, 91 Phil. 823. 1952
Aluad v. Aluad, G.R. No. 176943, October 17, 2008, 569 SCRA 697
Del Rosario v. Ferrer, et al., G.R. No. 187056, September 20, 2010
Heirs of Sevilla v. Sevilla, 450 SCRA 598. 2003