Disallowance; extrinsic validity; scope of probate

Under Article 839 of the New Civil Code, the will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases:

[1] If the formalities required by law have not been complied with;
[2] If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally incapable of making a will, at the time of its execution;
[3] If it was executed through force or under duress, or the influence of fear, or threats;
[4] If it was procured 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; or
[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.

The general rule is that the probate court cannot inquire into the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. Only the extrinsic validity of such wills may be examined. The following are exceptions:

[1]  When practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be resolved. For example, when there is clearly a preterition, the probate of the will would be a futile exercise since the institution of heirs would later be annulled if preterition is proved. (G.R. No. 198994. February 03, 2016)

[2] Claimants are all heirs and they consent, either expressly or impliedly, to the submission of the question of intrinsic validity to the court. (G.R. No. L-56504. May 7, 1987)

[3] The probate court may pass upon title to a property, but such determination is provisional and not conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate action to resolve title. (L-56340. June 24, 1983)

[4] The probate court may decide on the ownership of a property when the estate contains only one property to be adjudicated upon. (G.R. No. 155555. August 16, 2005)

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