Simeon Blas contracted the first marriage with Marta Cruz sometime before 1898. They had three children, only one of whom, Eulalio, left children, namely, Maria Gervacio Blas, one of the plaintiffs, Marta Gervacio Blas, one of the defendants, and LazaroGervacio Blas. Lazaro died in 1950 and is survived by three legitimate children who are plaintiffs herein, namely, Manuel Gervacio Blas, Leoncio Gervacio Blas and Loida Gervacio Blas. Marta Cruz died in 1898, and the following year, Simeon Blas contracted a second marriage with Maxima Santos. At the time of this second marriage, no liquidation of the properties required by Simeon Blas and Marta Cruz was made. Three of the properties left are fishponds located in Obando, Bulacan. Maxima Santos does not appear to have apported properties to her marriage with Simeon Blas.
On December 26, 1936, only over a week before his death on January 9, 1937, Simeon Blas executed a last will and testament. In the said testament Simeon Blas gave to Maxima Santos de Blas one-half of all her properties. MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS, on the other hand, made a document giving one half of all her inheritance to the children of maximum in the first marriage, labeled as exhibit “A”. The court below held that said Exhibit “A” has not created any right in favor of plaintiffs which can serve as the basis for the complaint; that neither can it be considered as a valid and enforceable contract for lack of consideration and because it deals with future inheritance. The court also declared that Exhibit “A” is not a will because it does not comply with the requisites for the execution of a will; nor could it be considered as a donation, etc. Both the court below in its decision and the appellees in their brief, argue that the heirs of Simeon Blas and his wife Marta Cruz can no longer make any claim for the unliquidated conjugal properties acquired during said first marriage, because the same were already included in the mass of properties constituting the estate of the deceased Simeon Blas and in the adjudications made by virtue of his will, and that the action to recover the same has prescribed.
Is exhibit “A” a contract involving future inheritance, hence should be declared void?
No. Exhibit “A” is not a contract on future inheritance. it is an obligation or promise made by the maker to transmit one-half of her share in the conjugal properties acquired with her husband, which properties are stated or declared to be conjugal properties in the will of the husband. The conjugal properties were in existence at the time of the execution of Exhibit “A” on December 26, 1936. As a matter of fact, Maxima Santos included these properties in her inventory of her husband’s estate of June 2, 1937. The promise does not refer to any properties that the maker would inherit upon the death of her husband, because it is her share in the conjugal assets. That the kind of agreement or promise contained in Exhibit “A” is not void under Article 1347 of the old Civil Code, has been decided by the Supreme Court of Spain in its decision of October 8, 19154, thus: It will be noted that what is prohibited to be the subject matter of a contract under Article 1347 of the Civil Code is “future inheritance.” To us, future inheritance is any property or right not in existence or capable of determination at the time of the contract, that a person may in the future acquire by succession. The properties subject of the contract Exhibit “A” are well-defined properties, existing at the time of the agreement, which Simeon Blas declares in his statement as belonging to his wife as her share in the conjugal partnership. Certainly, his wife’s actual share in the conjugal properties may not be considered as future inheritance because they were actually in existence at the time Exhibit “A” was executed.
* Case digest by Leizel O. Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018