What is abatement?
Sometimes, someone may include more property in their will then they actually have when they die. For example, my will may include a cash gift of $100,000 to my children, but at the time of my death, I may only have $40,000 in my bank accounts. This situation is known as abatement and is resolved by lowering or eliminating certain gifts in the will. The determination of which gifts are reduced or eliminated is generally made on a priority basis. In other words, the administrator will try to fulfill gifts that are higher on the priority list by reducing or eliminating gifts lower on the list. The highest priority gifts are specific gifts, followed by general gifts and then residuary gifts. The lowest priority is any property which would be subject to intestacy statutes because it was not addressed in, or covered by, the will at all.