• The petitioner in this case filed a case of partition despite the existence of debts of the decedent.
The petitioner urges that their action for partition and liquidation may be maintained, notwithstanding that there are pending obligations of the estate, subject to the taking of adequate measures either for the payment or the security of its creditors. Is his contention correct?
There is no question that the law allows the partition of the estate of a deceased person by the heirs, extrajudicially or through an ordinary action for partition, without the filing of a special proceeding and the appointment of an administrator for the purpose of the settlement of said estate, but this they may do only "if the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians". The reason is that where the deceased dies without pending obligations, there is no necessity for the appointment of an administrator to administer the estate for them and to deprive the real owners of their possession to which they are immediately entitled
The situation is different, however, where the deceased left pending obligations. In such cases, such obligations must be first paid or compounded with the creditors before the estate can be divided among the heirs; and unless they reach an amicable settlement as to how such obligations should be settled, the estate would inevitably be submitted to administration for the payment of such debts. As compared to ordinary partition, the regular estate proceedings offer the advantage of requiring all creditors of the deceased to disclose themselves and submit their respective claims within a comparatively short period (12 months under Rule 87, unless claims are contingent), otherwise, they are forever barred; while in ordinary judicial partitions the creditors' claims are only extinguished by the expiration of the period of extinctive prescription. An heir, therefore, may have an interest in making sure that the share allocated to him will be freed from invisible claims, so that creditors may not later appear and initiate the very estate proceedings sought to be avoided, and he may properly object to an action for partition on this ground. Unless, therefore, all the heirs are agreeable to assuming personal liability for all the decedent's obligations, those known as well as those undisclosed, regular estate proceedings can not be avoided.
Appellants claim that there is nothing that would prevent the trial court from directing and ordering that the pending obligations of the estate be paid first, or that they should constitute as liens on the respective shares to be received by the heirs. In other words, appellants propose that the administration of the estate for the purpose of paying off its debts be accomplished right in this partition suit, with either the Court performing the duties of the administrator, or an administrator appointed to take care of such debts, as prayed for in their complaint. Obviously, an ordinary action for partition can not be converted into a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a deceased, without compliance with the procedure outlined by Rules 79-90 of the Rules of Court, especially the provisions on publication and notice to creditors.
PEREGRINA REBONG, petitioner vs. FIDEL IBAÑEZ, Judge of First Instance of Laguna, respondent.
(A very short case. Need not be digested. The Following is a reproduction of the original case)
This is a petition for certiorari against the respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Laguna on the ground that the latter acted in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in denying the petition for cancellation of the lien or annotation on the certificate of title issued to the petitioner, of a...