1,631. An Estate Insufficient to Support a Widow and a Daughter

Hilchos Ishus 19:20

If the estate was bountiful but a debt had to be paid from it, or if the deceased made a condition with his wife to support her daughter, the debt or the condition doesn’t keep the estate from being considered bountiful. Rather, the sons inherit the estate and they must pay the debt, support the daughter until the agreed-upon time, and support their sisters until they come of age or get betrothed and leave home.

Hilchos Ishus 19:21

Let’s say that a man dies, leaving both a widow and a daughter, either from that woman or from a different wife, and his estate isn’t large enough to support both of them. In such a case, the widow is supported from the man’s estate and the daughter is left to fend for herself. The Rambam opines that supporting the deceased’s daughter takes priority over his sons inheriting the value of their mother’s kesubah, assuming that she predeceased her husband. This is so even though both of these rights are conditions of the kesubah. This conclusion on the Rambam’s part is based on the following logic: If the laws of inheritance, which are Torah laws, are overridden by supporting the deceased’s daughter, how much more so the inheritance of a kesubah, which is a rabbinic law, should be overridden by supporting the daughter.