When someone dies without a last will and testament in Mississippi, they are considered to have died “intestate” – which literally means “without testament/witness.” As a result, Mississippi intestacy laws will apply. Mississippi law has rules regarding how a person’s property is distributed in the absence of a valid will (“intestate succession”). Intestate succession is the state’s best guess as to how you would want your property distributed upon your death.
Under Mississippi intestate succession law, the deceased’s real and personal property will be distributed:
Furthermore, if some of your children have already died after having children of their own, their surviving children will receive their parents share of your estate.
To illustrate this principal, imagine a person named Dan has 4 children: Amy, Bill, Chris, and Dave. Bill also has two children: Emma and Frank. Dan passes away with an $80,000 estate. But if Bill predeceases his father, Dan’s estate will be distributed as follows:
It is important to note that, under the rules of intestate succession, if any of your children from a previous marriage survive you, they will also receive an equal share of your estate with any of your surviving children from subsequent marriages.
If a person dies without any family whatsoever, the state assumes ownership and possession of any real or personal property from your estate. However, escheat is unlikely because the rules of intestate succession are written in such a way that any remote relative will have an opportunity to inherit your estate.
As you can see, you have no control over how your property is distributed. Children from previous marriages, adopted children, and your children from subsequent marriages, are all entitled to an equal share of your estate, whether you like it or not. This can be avoided by crafting a comprehensive estate plan that includes the following legal instruments:
Estate planning involves complex and thorough preparation. Accordingly, you should consult with an experienced Jackson estate planning attorney to ensure your loved ones benefit from your estate after you pass away. At Grant Legal Group PA, we have years of valuable experience developing thorough estate plans for our clients and their families. You can rely on us to provide you with personalized care and attention to ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes.
For more information, call (601) 664-0044 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers today.