Summary of part of Wills Law in Mississippi

If you are eighteen (18) years of age or older and have a sound and disposing mind you can create a Will.

It must be signed by the person making the will (as used below “testator”) and two witnesses in the presence of the testator.The witness requirement is not required if the will is wholly written by the testator and signed but this kind of will called a holograph will sometimes have various problems. Therefore, holographic will laws are not covered by this summary.

A person may sign for the testator at his or her direction. I suggest only do this when the testator is not capable of signing.

A will can be revoked by the testator or testatrix destroying, canceling, or obliterating the same, or causing it to be done in his or her presence, or by subsequent will, codicil, or declaration, in writing, made and executed.

If the testator does not have a child living at the time of making a will, but has a child or wife pregnant at the time of his or her death and there is no provision in the will for any such child, then the will shall have no effect during the life of any such after-born child and shall be void unless the child die without having been married, or without leaving issue capable of inheriting, and before he or she shall have attained twenty-one years. The estate, both real and personal, shall descend to such child in the same manner as if the testator or testatrix had died intestate. In this case, the devisees and legatees shall contribute proportionably out of the parts devised and bequeathed to them by the same will and testament.  Although void as to the afterborn child, it remains effective as to others subject to the provisions of this paragraph.

If the testator does have children at the time of making the will, but later has another child or children that are not mentioned in the will, then that child or children is entitled to what the child would have received as if the testator has dies intestate (without a will). In this situation the beneficiaries in the will receiving assets shall contribute proportionately out of the parts devised and bequeathed to them by the same will and testament, in the same manner as is provided in the case of posthumous children.

If a child or descendants are named in the will that die before the testator, then the provisions in the will shall not lapse, but the estate so devised or bequeathed shall vest in such child or children, descendant or descendants, of such devisee or legatee in the same manner as if a legatee or devisee had survived the testator or testatrix and had died intestate.  For example, if you have a child that does before you that had children, the children of your deceased child shall take the deceased child’s share of the estate.

A subscribing witness to a will should not also receive property in the will.  Anything left to the witness who is also a beneficiary is void.  However, the will is still valid and has the proper number of witnesses and the witness beneficiary can be compelled to testify to prive the will.  If the witness would have been entitled to a portion of the estate if the decedent had died intestate (no will), the witness beneficiary can still take up to but not exceeding what was left in the will to him or her.

A will can leave property to a trustee of a written trust that was in existence when the will was made.  If so, the property shall be controlled by the provisions of the trust, as well as any modifications or amendments to the trust, unless the will provides otherwise. If the trust had been terminated, the provision for the trust is not valid.

Any creditor shall be a competent subscribing witness to a last will and testament; but any special provision in favor of such creditor in the will, either by admitting the debt or by providing for its payment or by giving it a preference, shall be void, and such claim shall stand as though the provision had not been made.

Any person of sound mind eighteen years of age or older and being in the armed forces of the United States of America, in active service at home or abroad or being a mariner at sea, may devise, dispose of, and bequeath his goods and chattels or property, real and personal, anything in this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding.

Whatever if left to a spouse by another spouse is final and shall be construed to be in bar of any share of the real or personal estate of the testator not left to such spouse.  However, a spouse in Mississippi can renounce the right to take under the will and take what the spouse would have received as if the deceased spouse had dies intestate (no will), as well as have homestead, allowance and exempt property rights.  In other words, if the spouse accepts what is left in the will that is final.

If renounced, at any time within ninety (90) days after the probate of the will, the renouncing spouse shall take what the spouse would have received under the laws of intestate succession (no will).  However, if the deceased spouse had no children, or descendants, the renouncing spouse can only reveice 1/2 of the estate of the deceased spouse. The renouncement form must be filed in the probate proceeding and state that “I, A B, the spouse of the deceased, _____, hereby renounce the provision made for me by the will of my deceased spouse and elect to take in lieu thereof my legal share of his estate.”  If a spouse is not left property in the will of the deceased spouse, the will is automatically renounced.

Having a separate estate of the surviving spouse affects the rights of renunciation. as provided below:

In case the surviving spouse have a separate property at the time of the death of the deceased spouse, equal in value to what would be the surviving spouses lawful portion of her deceased spouse’s real and personal estate, and the deceased spouse had made a will, the surviving spouse shall not be at liberty to signify dissent to the will or to renounce any provision or bequest therein in his or her favor and elect to take his or her portion of his estate.

If her separate property be not equal in value to what would be the value of her or her portion of the deceased spouse’s estate, then he or she may signify his or her dissent to the will, as in other cases provided by law, and claim to have the deficiency made up to him or her, notwithstanding the will.

A surviving spouse is not prevented from renouncing the provisions of the decased spouse’s will and electing to take his or her lawful portion if his or her separate property does not amount in value to one fifth of what he or she would be entitled to.

If you willfully caused or procured the death of the deceased, you cannot inherit from the deceased. Any devise to such person shall be void and, as to the property so devised, the decedent shall be deemed to have died intestate. If there is a bona fide purchaser for value of the property, who acquired the same after one year from the probate of the will without notice that the person to whom the same was devised so caused or procured the death of the testator the acquisition is valid.

In lieu of probating the will and going through the entire probate process, the will may be presented and probated as a muniment of title only as to real property. This is allowed if the estate of the deceased does not exceed 75,000.00 and all known debts of the decedent and his estate have been paid, including estate and income taxes, if any.


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All content is for informational purposes only. It is also only intended to relate to Mississippi Estate Planning Law.  If other states are mentioned, they are mentioned as an example only. No legal advice is provided in this content. Laws change so you need to check for any updates by current laws in Mississippi.