Mississippi Estate Inheritance Laws

By Andrine Redsteer

If a Mississippi resident fails to make arrangements for the division of his property by making a will, his property will be divided according to state law. These laws are known as "laws of intestate succession," and they provide a distribution scheme that dictates a priority of heirs. In other words, certain relatives are entitled to all, or a portion of, a decedent's estate under certain circumstances -- if he didn't make a valid will. Dying without a valid will is known as dying "intestate."

If a Mississippi resident fails to make arrangements for the division of his property by making a will, his property will be divided according to state law. These laws are known as "laws of intestate succession," and they provide a distribution scheme that dictates a priority of heirs. In other words, certain relatives are entitled to all, or a portion of, a decedent's estate under certain circumstances -- if he didn't make a valid will. Dying without a valid will is known as dying "intestate."

Inheritance by Will

Anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind can make a will in Mississippi. Being of sound mind simply indicates that the will maker, or "testator," knows or understands the significance of executing a will. In Mississippi, a parent can disinherit a child by stating it clearly in his will. If a married Mississippi resident attempts to disinherit his spouse in a will -- or leaves her less than her statutory share -- she may set the will aside and choose to take an "elective share." An elective share is the portion to which a suriving spouse would normally be entitled to under the state's laws of intestate succession.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Spouse's Inheritance Rights

In Mississippi, a surviving spouse is entitled to her deceased spouse's entire estate if her spouse died intestate and had no children or other descendents, such as grandchildren. If a married person dies intestate with a surviving spouse and surviving children, the surviving spouse and surviving children inherit the estate in equal portions. If a surviving spouse renounces the share bequeathed to her in her spouse's will, she is allowed only to receive one-half of her spouse's estate.

Children and Grandchildren

According to Mississippi inheritance law, children have the right to inherit a deceased parent's entire estate -- in equal shares -- if their parent was unmarried at the time of his death. For example, if an unmarried parent leaves four surviving children, each will inherit one-fourth of his estate. Grandchildren have the right to an inheritance under certain circumstances. For instance, a grandchild is entitled to her parent's inheritance share if her parent predeceased the grandparent.

Parents and Siblings

If a decedent dies intestate and leaves no surviving spouse or children, his estate is divided among his parents and siblings in equal portions. For example, if a decedent has one surviving parent and two siblings, each receives one-third of the estate. If there are no surviving parents, the siblings split the estate equally. If a decedent's siblings predecease him, but his siblings had children, those children -- the decedent's nieces or nephews -- inherit their deceased parent's share.

Other Relatives

If a decedent has no surviving spouse, descendants, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews, his estate passes to his grandparents, aunts and uncles -- in equal shares. If a decedent has no surviving grandparents, aunts or uncles, his estate passes to his next of kin; a decedent's next of kin may be his cousins or other more distant relatives. If a decedent has no surviving relatives whatsoever, his estate "escheats," or passes, to the state of Mississippi.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Rhode Island Inheritance Laws

References

Related articles

Sibling Inheritance Law in Georgia

A properly executed will is an important step in ensuring that your property and possessions will pass to your siblings. In Georgia, certain procedures must be followed to create a valid will, and the amount transferred can vary based on the nature of the relationship between the person drafting the will and those inheriting under it. If no valid will is in existence at the time of death, the decedent's property will still pass to his heirs based on Georgia's intestate laws, which organize relatives based on their proximity to the decedent's immediate family.

Inheritance Laws in Alaska

In Alaska, as in other states, when a decedent doesn't make a will, his property and assets must be divided according to the state's inheritance laws. These laws, known as "laws of intestate succession," provide guidelines as to the priority of heirs and what happens to property when there are no heirs.

The Hierarchy of Heirs

The hierarchy of heirs is determined by laws that govern inheritance in each state. Some states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code and have based their inheritance laws on its recommendations. The Uniform Probate Code provides rules concerning who is entitled to inherit a deceased relative's property/estate if no last will and testament was executed. Although laws may vary somewhat by state, typically the hierarchy of heirs is intended to divide the estate fairly among surviving family members.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

The California Law When the Deceased Has No Will

If a person dies intestate, or without a will, in California, his estate is subject to California's intestacy laws. ...

The Inheritance Hierarchy Without a Will in New York State

A person who dies without leaving a will is said to have died “intestate.” New York courts distribute ...

The Rules of Inheritance

The rules of inheritance are set according to state law. Each state has its own statutes that explain which relatives ...

Laws on Inheritances

Every state has its own set of unique laws that govern inheritance. These laws, known as "laws of intestate ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED