G.R. No. L-29300, 21 June 1978, 83 SCRA 675
Florentino Gallanosa executed a will in 1938 when he was 80 years old. He owned 61 parcels of and at that time. He died in 1939 childless and survived by his brother Leon. In his will, he bequethed his 1/2 share of the conjugal estate to his second wife Tecla and if she predecease him (as what occurred), the said share shall be assigned to the spouses Gallanosa (Pedro & Corazon). Pedro is Tecla’s son by her 1st marriage. He also gave 3 parcels of land to Adolfo, his protege.
The said will was admitted to probate with Gallanosa as executor. In 1952, thjhe legal heirs filed an action for the recovery of said 61 parcels of land. The action was dismissed on the ground of res judicata. Then, 28 years after probate, another acton agaisnt Gallanosa for annulment of the will, recovery of the lands alleging fraud and deceit, was filed. As a result, the lower court set aide the 1939 decree of probate.
Whether or not a will which has been probated may still be annulled.
No. A final decree of probate is conclusive as to the due execution of the will. Due execution means that the testator was of sound and disposing mind at the time of the execution and that he was not acting under duress, menace, fraud or undue influence. Finally, that it was executed in accordance with the formalities provided by law.
The period for seeking relief under Rule 38 has already expired, hence the judgment may only be set aside on the grounds of, 1) lack of jurisdiction or lack of due process of law, and 2) the judgment was obtained by means of extrinsic collateral fraud (which must be filed within 4 years from the discovery). Finally, Art. 1410 cannot apply to wills and testament.
*Case digest by Maria Novie Taruc, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019