• Holographic will invalid if not done and signed by testator

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I just want to know if the handwritten will of my ailing husband is valid. I was the one who wrote the will while my husband dictated its contents. He signed the will thereafter.
    Jelyn

    Dear Jelyn,
    The New Civil Code of the Philippines defines a will as an act whereby a person is permitted, with formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of this estate, to take effect after his death (Article 783).

    Clearly, a will must conform with the formalities imposed by law to be valid. As can be inferred from your letter, your husband intended to make a holographic will. According to the aforementioned law, however, a holographic will must be entirely written, dated and signed by the hand of the testator. This is pursuant to Article 810 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, to wit:

    “Art. 810. A person may execute a holographic will, which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.”

    Based on the foregoing, the will that you personally wrote and signed by your husband, even if it is in accordance with his wishes, did not conform with the provisions mentioned above. As such, it is not a valid will.

    According to the New Civil Code of the Philippines, any of the following instances shall be a ground for a will to be disallowed:

    “Art. 839. The will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases:

    (1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with;

    (2) If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally incapable of making a will, at the time of its execution;

    (3) If it was executed through force or under duress, or the influence of fear or threats;

    (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person;

    (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud;

    (6) If the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto.” (Emphasis supplied)

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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