Philippine Trust Co. vs. Magdalena C. Bohanan, G.R. No. L-12105, January 30, 1960


Testator Bohonan, a citizen of the State of Nevada at the time of his death declares that his will and testament shall be governed by the laws of the state of Nevada and admits the same to probate.  Out  of the total estate of P211,639.33 in cash, the testator gave his grandson P90,819.67 and one-half of all shares of stock of several mining companies and to his brother and sister the same amount. To his children he gave a legacy of only P6,000 each, or a total of P12,000.

The wife Magdalena C. Bohanan and her two children question the validity of the testamentary provisions disposing of the estate in the manner above indicated, claiming that they have been deprived of the legitime that the laws of the forum concede to them. It is not disputed that the laws of Nevada allow a testator to dispose of all his properties by will.


Whether the testamentary dispositions, especially those for the children which are short of the legitime given them by the Civil Code of the Philippines, are valid.


Article 16 of the New Civil Code provides that the validity of testamentary dispositions are to be governed by the national law of the person whose succession is in question. In the case at bar, the testator was a citizen of the State of Nevada. Since the laws of said state allow the testator to dispose of all his property according to his will, his testamentary dispositions depriving his wife and children of what should be their legitimes under the laws of the Philippines, should be respected and the project of partition made in accordance with his testamentary dispositions should be approved.


The pertinent law of the state of the testator may be taken judicial notice of without proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of the project of partition where it appears that said law was admitted by the court as exhibit during the probate of the will; that the same was introduced as evidence of a motion of one of the appellants for withdrawal of a certain sum of money; and that the other appellants do not dispute the said law.

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