Severina vda. de Enriquez vs. Miguel Abadia.

G.R. No. L-7188 August 9, 1954


On September 6, 1923, Father Sancho Abadia, parish priest executed a holographic will. He died on January 14, 1943 and left properties estimated at P8,000 in value. Andres Enriquez, one of the legatees filed a petition for its probate. Some cousins and nephews who would inherit the estate of the deceased if he left no will, filed opposition.

At the time of the testator’s death, holographic wills were not permitted by law. However during the hearing, the new Civil Code was already in force, which Code permitted the execution of holographic wills. The trial court  admitted to probate the will for the reason that under a liberal view, and to carry out the intention of the testator which is the controlling factor and may override any defect in form.  The oppositors are appealing from that decision.


(1) What law shall govern the will of Father Abadia?

(2) Whether failure to observe formal requirements at the time of execution invalidates the will?


(1) The validity of a will as to form is to be judged not by the law in force at the time of the testator’s death or at the time the supposed will is presented in court for probate or when the petition is decided by the court but at the time the instrument was executed. One reason in support of the rule is that although the will operates upon and after the death of the testator, the wishes of the testator about the disposition of his estate among his heirs and among the legatees is given solemn expression at the time the will is executed, and in reality, the legacy or bequest then becomes a completed act.

(2) YES. When one executes a will which is invalid for failure to observe and follow the legal requirements at the time of its execution then upon his death he should be regarded and declared as having died intestate, and his heirs will then inherit by intestate succession, and no subsequent law with more liberal requirements or which dispenses with such requirements as to execution should be allowed to validate a defective will and thereby divest the heirs of their vested rights in the estate by intestate succession. The general rule is that the Legislature can not validate void wills.

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