Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bellis vs. Bellis [20 SCRA 358]

Facts: Amos G. Bellis, a citizen of the State of Texas, died a resident of Texas. The will he had executed in the Philippines directed that his distributable Philippine estate should be divided in trusts. In the project of partition, the executor of the will –pursuant to the “Twelfth” clause of the testator’s Last Will and Testament- divided the residuary estate into 7 equal portions for the benefit of the testator’s seven legitimate children. Maria Christina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children, and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased. 

Issue: Whether or not the Texas law or the Philippine Law should be applied in the case at bar. 

Held: The Court held that since decedent is a citizen of the State of Texas and is domiciled therein at the time of his death, Texas law should apply. Article 16 (2) and Art 1039 render applicable the national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to 4 items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights ; (c)intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed. Under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. 

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