2006 New York Code - Order Of Liability; Preferences

  § 12-1.2 Order of liability; preferences
    (a)   Distributees  and  testamentary  beneficiaries  are  liable,  as
  provided in 12-1.1, in the following order:
    (1) Distributees.
    (2) Residuary beneficiaries.
    (3)  General  beneficiaries.  Demonstrative  beneficiaries  shall   be
  treated  as  general  beneficiaries,  to the extent that the property or
  fund charged with a demonstrative disposition has adeemed.
    (4)  Specific  beneficiaries.  Demonstrative  beneficiaries  shall  be
  treated  as  specific beneficiaries if the property or fund charged with
  any demonstrative disposition has not adeemed,  to  the  extent  of  the
  value of such property or fund.
    (5)  A  surviving  spouse  to  whom  a disposition has been made which
  qualifies for the estate tax marital deduction.
    (b) The order of liability provided in paragraph (a) shall  not  apply
  to the liability for an estate or other death tax, under the law of this
  state  or  of  any  other  jurisdiction,  with  respect  to any property
  required to be included in the gross tax estate of a decedent under  the
  provisions  of  any  such law. The apportionment of such estate or other
  death  tax,  and  the  liability,  under  12-1.1,  of  distributees  and
  testamentary beneficiaries consequent to such apportionment are governed
  by the provisions of 2-1.8.
    (c) The express or implied intention of the testator to prefer certain
  beneficiaries  shall  be  effective  to  vary  the  order  of  liability
  prescribed by paragraph (a).
    (d) If, in an action under this article,  it  is  established  to  the
  satisfaction of the court that:
    (1)  The  defendant  is  liable for the payment of two or more claims,
  preference in the payment of such claims must  be  given  in  the  order
  prescribed  by  law  for  payment  of  the debts of the decedent and the
  obligations of his estate.
    (2) An unsatisfied claim exists which is legally preferred to that  of
  the  plaintiff,  the existence of such unsatisfied claim is a defense to
  the action if the aggregate value of the decedent's property passing  to
  defendant  and  other  persons in his order of liability does not exceed
  the amount of such unsatisfied claim; if in excess of the amount of such
  unsatisfied claim, the plaintiff may recover such ratable share  of  the
  excess  as the amount of his claim bears to the claims of all persons in
  the same order of preference as his.

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