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Order of assets to beneficiaries- What is settled first?

Philadelphia, PA |

The will first says I (nephew) am to get $200K, # 6 or so is the executer (neighbor) , who is to get all property. If there is not enough cash, does property get sold to pay me, or is it retained by the executor named as #6?

Attorney Answers 3


It is difficult to answer your question without seeing the Will. If the provision for you is a specific bequest and the provision for the neighbor is a residue bequest, then your bequest has priority. You really need to sit down with an experienced estate administration attorney to review the Will.

NOTE: Mr. Fischer is an attorney licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 610-269-0900 Ext 2 or This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. Frequently the question does not include significant and important facts and time lines that if known could significantly change the response. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

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I am a PA/PHILA attorney. I agree with my colleague who noted that specific bequests take priority over residuary bequests. The fact that the executor is also a beneficiary doesn't really matter. Also keep in mind that taxes and expenses need to be paid and depending on the wording of the will the inheritance taxes (assuming this is a PA estate) may be paid by the estate residue or the individual beneficiary. I would suggest consulting with an attorney to protect your rights and make sure the executor is taking care of things in a proper fashion.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:

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Funds are first paid out of an estate for funeral services, taxes, estate administration expenses, credit card bills, hospital bills, etc. Note that the estate administration expenses can include a reasonable Executor's fee, if the Executor wants one.

Once all of those expenses are paid, then whatever is left in an estate will go to pay the bequests first, with any remaining assets going to the person who is the beneficiary of the "residuary estate." Based upon your facts, assuming that your uncle's Will only provides for one $200,000 bequest in your favor, then you would receive the first $200,000 after the payment of all expenses.

If you do not have a lawyer, I would urge you to retain one to make sure that your beneficial interest in your uncle's estate is protected. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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