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Answering Your Probate And Estate Planning Questions

In Mississippi, to probate an estate means to have a court-supervised administrative process to identify, gather and distribute the assets of a loved one who has died (the decedent). During the probate process, the court appoints a manager of the estate. This person is known as the executor/executrix if there is a will or the administrator/administratrix if there is not a will. The executor/executrix is normally named in the will. However, the administrator/administratrix is appointed by the court. The manager of the estate is in charge of getting an estate attorney, notifying the decedent’s beneficiaries and creditors, paying expenses and distributing assets.

Does Mississippi require that a will be probated?

Not necessarily. However, some assets solely owned by the deceased may require that an estate is opened and probated. For example, real estate owned solely in the deceased’s name will usually require probate.

Must I hire a probate attorney?

All estates admitted to probate are required to be represented by a Mississippi probate attorney.

What do probate attorneys charge?

Usually, the cost a probate attorney charges depends on the size of the estate. At Arnold and Associates, LLC, we strive to give our clients the peace of mind of knowing all costs upfront. This is why our policy is to give a flat-fee price after reviewing the case. Call today or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

How long does the probate process take?

The probate process depends on the size of the estate and the parties involved. The probate process takes usually six to nine months. However, some estates can take years to probate if the parties will not cooperate or there are a lot of assets.

I was listed as the executor/executrix of an estate. What steps should I take?

  1. Make a list of all known assets owned by the deceased. As the manager of the estate, you will need to know the assets owned by the decedent, their location, their value and how they titled.
  2. Make a list of contact information for all known parties involved in the estate. The parties involved are those people named in the will or testamentary documents, immediate relatives of the decedent and potential creditors of the decedent’s estate.
  3. Interview several Mississippi probate attorneys. Not all probate attorneys are created equal! Some charge exorbitant fees and provide service that leaves much to desire, and others rarely work with estates and can cause unnecessary delays. Thus, it is important to ask the probate attorney how often they do estate work and to get an estimate of fees upfront. Probate attorneys who regularly practice probate can usually (not always) give a flat-fee quote.

My husband died and left our home to my stepchildren. Do I have to leave my home?

Mississippi law protects the surviving spouse by allowing them to have exclusive use and possession of the home even though it was left to someone else. This right only lasts as long as the spouse is living. Once the surviving spouse passes, the property will pass to the named heir.

Do we have to probate my father’s estate even though there are only a few bank accounts holding small amounts of money?

Likely not. Mississippi law allows successors to withdraw money from bank accounts that hold less than $12,500 without the need for Mississippi probate. Please note that the banks do not have to honor this request. A successor is one who is either the surviving spouse or, if no surviving spouse, the adult children of the decedent.

Estate Planning In Mississippi

Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for the transfer of your assets in the event you are disabled and upon your death. Estate planning is important because it allows you to decide where and to whom your assets go, instead of the court. Further, estate planning gives you the peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are cared for in your absence.

The estate planning process involves a detailed discussion and analysis of your assets, how you want those assets distributed, your debts, your financial needs and your loved one’s financial needs. There are many tools that can be used to satisfy your estate planning needs. Some examples are a will, trust, power of attorney, health care designation and living will. There are more complex estate planning tools, but most individuals can accomplish their estate planning needs with one or two of the aforementioned tools.

Call Us For Advanced Counsel

Our job is to help you pick the right the tool and achieve your estate planning goals. At Arnold and Associates, LLC, we employ a unique blend of experience that will help you craft an effective, cost-efficient estate plan to help you and your loved ones feel at ease. Call 601-345-4355 or complete our intake form to schedule a consultation at our firm today.