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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34308
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My father died and left my sister and myself his vacation home.

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My father died and left my sister and myself his vacation home. He lived in a retirement community and has no other real eatate assets. He has very little cash left. There are 7 siblings and 16 grandchildren in all. In his will it states that other siblings and grandchildren receive amounts ranging from 2K to 5K. If the vacation home is sold to pay these amounts, the residue transfers to his step children from his last wife and my sister and I get nothing. Are the bequeaths to family considered a debt to be paid? Do we need to mortgage the house to pay them? Will the house be sold to pay them? This is in the state of PA
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Are the bequeaths to family considered a debt to be paid? Do we need to mortgage the house to pay them? Will the house be sold to pay them?
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Not really. Bequests are considered gifts that are typically paid after actual debts are paid.
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If the house was not left to anyone specifically, then it is just an asset of the estate and would need to be sold to generate cash to fulfil the specific bequests to the beneficiaries. When a testator makes specific bequests of cash or property, those take priority over the residuary beneficiaries who only inherit once those specific bequests have been fulfilled.
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So if there are not enough liquid assets in the estate to pay all the specific bequests, then the house would have to be sold by the executor to pay those. After those are all paid, the remaining funds would be considered the "residuary estate" and would go to the named residuary beneficiaries.
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But in the situation where the house is specifically left to someone like you and sister, then unless the will specifically stated that the cash bequests are to be paid out of the sale proceeds of the house, if there are not enough liquid assets in the estate, then some of the cash bequests would fail due to not enough funds.
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So it depends on how the will is written and what takes priority over what in the will as to whether the house will have to be sold or whether some of the cash bequests will just fail.
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Barrister
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