Inheritance Rights in Mississippi

What is a will? 

 

A will is a legal document that indicates how that you desire for your real and  personal property to be distributed after your death.

 

Who can validly execute a will? 



 

There are two requirements.  First, you must be at least eighteen years of age. Second, you must be of sound and disposing mind.           

 

What is the difference between a holographic will and an attested will?

 

If a will is holographic, it simply means that the document is written entirely in your handwriting and bears your signature at the end of the document.  No witnesses are necessary.  On the other hand, if the document is not written entirely in your handwriting, a minimum of two witnesses must sign the document.  Therefore, such wills are   referred to as attested wills.  A minimum of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries under the will must sign the document.

 

If I have already have a will, how do I change it?

There are several ways to alter your will.  First, you can revoke your will by destroying, obliterating, or canceling your will.  Second, you may alter or totally revoke your will by subsequently executing another written will, codicil, or declaration.

 

Do my intentions always have to be written on paper?

 

In limited circumstances, verbal direction regarding disposition of personal property, such as a car or jewelry, will be sufficient.  If you make a statement that concerns the disposition of personal property under the belief that you are going to die, your wishes may be respected if you die as expected.  This is known as a nuncupative will.  It is important to note that a nuncupative will is never sufficient to dispose of real property.

 

Are there some things that a will cannot effectively transfer?

 

There are certain situations in which a last will and testament will not override other transactions.  First, the ownership of a bank account canít be altered by a will.  Therefore, if you desire to change the beneficiary of your bank account, you should contact your bank for information about the process.  Second, a last will and testament cannot be used to alter the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement account.  Therefore, if you desire to change the beneficiary of your life insurance policy or retirement account, you should contact your insurance company.        

 

Who will inherit my property if I do not have a will?

 

Pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. ß 91-1-3, a tiered system of priority exists.  Therefore, as of the date of your death, several questions have to be asked to determine who will inherit you property.  First, one would ask whether you have a spouse, child(ren), or descendants of child(ren) who are living.  If so, this group will be entitled to inherit your real and personal property.  If not, the second inquiry would be whether you have a surviving parent, brother, sister, or descendant of a brother or sister.  If so, this group would be entitled to inherit your personal and real property.  If not, the third inquiry would be whether you have a surviving grandparent, an aunt who is related by blood, or uncle who is related by blood.  If so, this group would be entitled to inherit your personal and real property.  If not, your property would be distributed to your next of kin according to civil law.

 

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