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Priority of claims against a decedent’s estate

In Georgia, O.C.G.A. 53-7-40 provides that claims are paid in the following order:

Unless otherwise provided by law, all property of the estate, both real and personal, shall be liable for the payment of claims against the estate in the following order:

(1) Year’s support for the family;
(2) Funeral expenses, whether or not the decedent leaves a surviving spouse, in an amount which corresponds with the circumstances of the decedent in life. If the estate is solvent, the personal representative is authorized to provide a suitable protection for the grave;
(3) Other necessary expenses of administration;
(4) Reasonable expenses of the decedent’s last illness;
(5) Unpaid taxes or other debts due the state or the United States;
(6) Judgments, secured interests, and other liens created during the lifetime of the decedent, to be paid according to their priority of lien. Secured interests and other liens on specific property shall be preferred only to the extent of such property; and
(7) All other claims.

Usually this section applies when an estate is insolvent because all valid claims are paid when there are sufficient funds to do so.

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