Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the expert helping you today.
The Texas Estate Code has a priority for paying creditors.If overall there are not enough funds to pay the creditors then the specific items get sold here and the funds applied first to the debt and then the heir with the specific bequest gets the leftover funds.
Any specific gift say a car is subject to the creditors getting paid so if necessary here the items get sold.If there are insufficient funds here to pay all the creditors then they can be sold.You may want the lawyer here to go back to the judge here and seek court approval for such a sale.And the lawyers fee, the $3,500 here and you as personal representative are due a fee --you both are creditors so you my be paid ahead of any distribution.
Not sure the lawyer is being straight with you as far as payment here of his fees, if there are not enough funds then the items with court approval can be sold.
Law on priority of claims.
Sec. 355.102. CLAIMS CLASSIFICATION; PRIORITY OF PAYMENT. (a) Claims against an estate shall be classified and have priority of payment as provided by this section.
(b) Class 1 claims are composed of funeral expenses and expenses of the decedent's last illness for a reasonable amount approved by the court, not to exceed a total of $15,000. Any excess shall be classified and paid as other unsecured claims.
(c) Class 2 claims are composed of expenses of administration, expenses incurred in preserving, safekeeping, and managing the estate, including fees and expenses awarded under Section 352.052, and unpaid expenses of administration awarded in a guardianship of the decedent.
(d) Class 3 claims are composed of each secured claim for money under Section 355.151(a)(1), including a tax lien, to the extent the claim can be paid out of the proceeds of the property subject to the mortgage or other lien. If more than one mortgage, lien, or security interest exists on the same property, the claims shall be paid in order of priority of the mortgage, lien, or security interest securing the debt.
(e) Class 4 claims are composed of claims for the principal amount of and accrued interest on delinquent child support and child support arrearages that have been confirmed and reduced to money judgment, as determined under Subchapter F, Chapter 157, Family Code, and claims for unpaid child support obligations under Section 154.015, Family Code.
(f) Class 5 claims are composed of claims for taxes, penalties, and interest due under Title 2, Tax Code, Chapter 2153, Occupations Code, Section 81.111, Natural Resources Code, the Municipal Sales and Use Tax Act (Chapter 321, Tax Code), Section 451.404, Transportation Code, or Subchapter I, Chapter 452, Transportation Code.
(g) Class 6 claims are composed of claims for the cost of confinement established by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice under Section 501.017, Government Code.
(h) Class 7 claims are composed of claims for repayment of medical assistance payments made by the state under Chapter 32, Human Resources Code, to or for the benefit of the decedent.
(i) Class 8 claims are composed of any other claims not described by Subsections (b)-(h).
Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.
For what it is worth lawyers here beg people not to make specific bequests like this because of these kinds of problems.You may well be able to force a sale here through probate court if the funds are needed to pay creditors including the lawyer, yourself as personal representative including upkeep or expenses.
I think you need to go back to lawyer and see if a sale of these items is not possible given the need for funds to pay everybody.I am concerned as are you that there would be enough funds to pay everybody here., You seem to have a valid point here.You may want to revisit this with the lawyer.
I appreciate the chance to help you today.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again Marie.