Can a beneficiary’s gift be arbitrarily reduced by the executor?

UPDATED: Oct 5, 2014

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Can a beneficiary’s gift be arbitrarily reduced by the executor?

My father died recently. In his Will, he left me $10,000 and left the remainder of his financial assets in equal shares to my 2 stepsisters. The executer, who is my stepsister’s husband, informed me that he intends to reduce the $10,000 bequeathed to me in order to partially account for the cost of the probate process. Is this reduction correct? My father’s financial assets were near to $100,000 at time of death.

Asked on October 5, 2014 under Estate Planning, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The costs of probate are taken out first; then specific gifts (like the $10,000 to you) are made; and then general distributions (like sharing the remainder between your stepsisters) are made last. So the probate cost should not come out of your sharel, but rather reduce what will be left to pay to you stepsisters.

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