inhabitant of a foreign country the court of first instance of any province in

Inhabitant of a foreign country the court of first

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inhabitant of a foreign country, the court of first instance of anyprovince in which he had estate.Accordingly, when the estate to be settled is that of a non-resident alien — like the deceased Juan Uriarte — the Courtsof First Instance in provinces where the deceased left anyproperty have concurrent jurisdiction to take cognizance of theproper special proceeding for the settlement of his estate. Inthe case before Us, these Courts of First Instance are theNegros and the Manila Courts — province and city where thedeceased Juan Uriarte left considerable properties. From thispremise petitioner argues that, as the Negros Court had firsttaken cognizance of the special proceeding for the settlementof the estate of said decedent (Special Proceeding No. 6344),
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R U L E 7 3 | 8the Manila Court no longer had jurisdiction to take cognizanceof Special Proceeding No. 51396 intended to settle the estateof the same decedent in accordance with his alleged will, andthat consequently, the first court erred in dismissing SpecialProceeding No. 6344, while the second court similarly erred innot dismissing Special Proceeding No. 51396.It cannot be denied that a special proceeding intended to effectthe distribution of the estate of a deceased person, whether inaccordance with the law on intestate succession or inaccordance with his will, is a "probate matter" or a proceedingfor the settlement of his estate. It is equally true, however, thatin accordance with settled jurisprudence in this jurisdiction,testate proceedings, for the settlement of the estate of adeceased person take precedence over intestate proceedingsfor the same purpose. Thus it has been held repeatedly that, ifin the course of intestate proceedings pending before a courtof first instance it is found it that the decedent had left a lastwill, proceedings for the probate of the latter should replace theintestate proceedings even if at that stage an administrator hadalready been appointed, the latter being required to render finalaccount and turn over the estate in his possession to theexecutor subsequently appointed. This, however, is understoodto be without prejudice that should the alleged last will berejected or is disapproved, the proceeding shall continue as anintestacy. As already adverted to, this is a clear indication thatproceedings for the probate of a will enjoy priority overintestate proceedings.Upon the facts before Us the question arises as to whetherJuan Uriarte Zamacona should have filed the petition for theprobate of the last will of Juan Uriarte with the Negros Court —particularly in Special Proceeding No. 6344 — or was entitledto commence the corresponding separate proceedings, as hedid, in the Manila Court.The following considerations and the facts of record wouldseem to support the view that he should have submitted saidwill for probate to the Negros Court, either in a separatespecial proceeding or in an appropriate motion for saidpurpose filed in the already pending Special Proceeding No.
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