Estate Planning in Mississippi

Having a will helps ensure that your possessions will be divided according to your wishes. Not only does it allow you to dictate the terms of your estate, but it also eases the burden of your loved ones at a difficult time.

Who gets my property if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, Mississippi law directs the division of your estate, possibly in a manner you would not approve. The law places your blood relatives in four prioritized groups.

Group I would consist of your surviving spouse, your children (including adopted children), and descendants of your children who died before you.

Group II would include your mother, father, brothers, sisters, and descendants of those siblings who died before you.

Group III would be your grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Group IV would include any additional blood relatives.

If I die without a will what does my spouse receive?

The surviving spouse and children would receive equal shares of the estate. The spouse cannot get more than the children.

If I have a will what happens after I die?

Upon your death, your will must go through probate, a court proceeding that declares the will valid or invalid. Once the court declares a will valid, it appoints an administrator for the will unless the deceased named an executor. If the administrator or the executor is not an attorney, one must be hired to serve as an advisor.

How do I change my will?

Because a will does not go into effect until your death, you can alter, modify, or completely revoke it at any time. Mississippi law provides two methods of changing or revoking a will: express revocation and implied revocation.

Express revocation includes revoking a will by physical act (ripping apart, drawing lines through parts, erasing, crossing out signatures, etc.) or by writing another will.

Implied revocation of a will can occur in two ways. If you make a gift during your lifetime in place of a bequest in the will, it is implied that the gift replaces or revokes the written bequest. Or, for example, a person writes a will prior to having children. If the person later has children and dies without changing the earlier will, the law automatically revokes that will, and state law dictates how to divide the person’s estate.

What if I get divorced and don’t change my will?

Divorce is not grounds for revoking a will by operation of law in Mississippi. Therefore, it is very important to write a new will when you get married, divorced, remarried, or have children.

Do I have to include my children in my will?

Under Mississippi law, a will must include the surviving spouse, but parents do not have to leave part of their estate to their children. To disinherit a particular child, the parent should clearly state it in the will. It is also important to write a new will when you get a divorce, remarry, have children, or when other circumstances change in your life.

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