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Law, Technology and the World


Published by paul on July 2, 2013 | Leave a response

Roberts v. Leonidas
129 SCRA 754


Grimm, an American resident of Manila, died in 1977. He was survived by his second
wife (Maxine), their two children (Pete and Linda), and by his two children by a first
marriage (Juanita and Ethel) which ended by divorce.

Grimm executed two wills in San Francisco, California on January 23, 1959. One will
disposed of his Philippine estate described as conjugal property of himself and his
second wife. The second will disposed of his estate outside the Philippines. The two
wills and a codicil were presented for probate in Utah by Maxine on March 1978.
Maxine admitted that she received notice of the intestate petition filed in Manila by
Ethel in January 1978. The Utah Court admitted the two wills and codicil to probate
on April 1978 and was issued upon consideration of the stipulation between the
attorneys for Maxine and Ethel.

Also in April 1978, Maxine and Ethel, with knowledge of the intestate proceeding in
Manila, entered into a compromise agreement in Utah regarding the estate.

As mentioned, in January 1978, an intestate proceeding was instituted by Ethel. On

March 1978, Maxine filed an opposition and motion to dismiss the intestate
proceeding on the ground of pendency of the Utah probate proceedings. She
submitted to the court a copy of Grimm’s will. However, pursuant to the compromise
agreement, Maxine withdrew the opposition and the motion to dismiss. The court
ignored the will found in the record.The estate was partitioned.

In 1980, Maxine filed a petition praying for the probate of the two wills (already
probated in Utah), that the partition approved by the intestate court be set aside and
the letters of administration revoked, that Maxine be appointed executrix and Ethel
be ordered to account for the properties received by them and return the same to
Maxine. Maxine alleged that they were defrauded due to the machinations of Ethel,
that the compromise agreement was illegal and the intestate proceeding was void
because Grimm died testate so partition was contrary to the decedent’s wills.

Ethel filed a motion to dismiss the petition which was denied by Judge Leonidas for
lack of merit.


Whether the judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of

jurisdiction in denying Ethel’s motion to dismiss.


We hold that respondent judge did not commit any grave abuse of discretion,
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in denying Ethel’s motion to dismiss.
A testate proceeding is proper in this case because Grimm died with two wills and
“no will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed”
(Art. 838, Civil Code; sec. 1, Rule 75, Rules of Court).

The probate of the will is mandatory. It is anomalous that the estate of a person who
died testate should be settled in an intestate proceeding. Therefore, the intestate case
should be consolidated with the testate proceeding and the judge assigned to the
testate proceeding should continue hearing the two cases.

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