Bank of Philippine Islands v. Posadas

GR No. 34583, 22 October 1931

FACTS:

BPI, as administrator of the estate of deceased AdolpheSchuetze, appealed to CFI Manila absolving defendant, Collector of Internal Revenue, from the complaint filed against him in recovering the inheritance tax amounting to P1209 paid by the plaintiff, Rosario GelanoVda de Schuetze, under protest, and sum of P20,150 representing the proceeds of the insurance policy of the deceased.

Rosario and Adolphe were married in January 1914. The wife was actually residing and living in Germany when Adolphe died in December 1927. The latter while in Germany, executed a will in March 1926, pursuant with its law wherein plaintiff was named his universal heir. The deceased possessed not only real property situated in the Philippines but also personal property consisting of shares of stocks in 19 domestic corporations. Included in the personal property is a life insurance policy issued at Manila on January 1913 for the sum of $10,000 by the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Manila Branch. In the insurance policy, the estate of the deceased was named the beneficiary without any qualification. Rosario is the sole and only heir of the deceased. BPI, as administrator of the decedent’s estate and attorney in fact of the plaintiff, having been demanded by Posadas to pay the inheritance tax, paid under protest. Notwithstanding various demands made by plaintiff, Posadas refused to refund such amount.

ISSUE:

WON the plaintiff is entitled to the proceeds of the insurance.

RULING:

SC ruled that(1)the proceeds of a life-insurance policy payable to the insured’s estate, on which the premiums were paid by the conjugal partnership, constitute community property, and belong one-half to the husband and the other half to the wife, exclusively; (2)if the premiums were paid partly with paraphernal and partly conjugal funds, the proceeds are likewise in like proportion paraphernal in part and conjugal in part; and (3)the proceeds of a life-insurance policy payable to the insured’s estate as the beneficiary, if delivered to the testamentary administrator of the former as part of the assets of said estate under probate administration, are subject to the inheritance tax according to the law on the matter, if they belong to the assured exclusively, and it is immaterial that the insured was domiciled in these Islands or outside.

In the case at bar: A husband insured himself during his marriage and made his estate, not his wife, as beneficiary. The premiums paid were borne by the Conjugal Partnership, Later, the husband died. The heirs of the husband as well as the wife are entitled to the proceeds of the insurance. The proceeds of a life Insurance policy payable to an insured person’s estate, on which the premiums were paid by the conjugal partnership, constitute conjugal property, and belong one-half exclusively to the husband and the other half to the wife. If the premiums were paid partly with separate property, and partly with conjugal funds, the proceeds are in like proportion separate in part and conjugal in part. This is the just interpretation of the article. To have the estate as the sole beneficiary would be to sanction a fraud upon the wife.

Hence, the defendant was ordered to return to the plaintiff one-half of the tax collected upon the amount of P20,150, being the proceeds of the insurance policy on the life of the late Adolphe Oscar Schuetze, after deducting the proportional part corresponding to the first premium.

* Case digest by Neah Hope L. Bato, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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