What happens if an estate has less in assets than the amount of a gift that is stipulated to be given in the Will?

UPDATED: Jan 25, 2014

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What happens if an estate has less in assets than the amount of a gift that is stipulated to be given in the Will?

My son-in-law’s father just passed. He had a Will which stipulated that an adopted son receive $5000. However, The estate has assets less than $5000. Are the other beneficiaries required to pay the adopted son the difference between the amount in the estate and the $5000?

Asked on January 25, 2014 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The estate can only distribute the assets it actually has. So, the adopted son would receive only whatever assets the estate has after it has paid its debts. The other beneficiaries do not have to contribute. 

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