How to Probate a Will in Mississippi

By Beverly Bird

Mississippi law prohibits probating a will without the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in the state. This makes the job of the executor -- the person appointed to oversee the distribution of the deceased’s assets to his beneficiaries and the payment of his debts -- much easier. In Mississippi, the chancery court probates wills, and the judge is called the chancellor. The entire process usually takes four months to a year.

Mississippi law prohibits probating a will without the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in the state. This makes the job of the executor -- the person appointed to oversee the distribution of the deceased’s assets to his beneficiaries and the payment of his debts -- much easier. In Mississippi, the chancery court probates wills, and the judge is called the chancellor. The entire process usually takes four months to a year.

Step 1

Locate the deceased’s will. Find out who witnessed it and contact the witnesses. Take the will to a licensed Mississippi estate attorney. You do not have to pay the attorney personally for his services -- his fees will come out of the estate. At least one of the witnesses must appear with you at your first appointment with the attorney to sign a sworn statement that she was present when the testator, the person who made the will, signed it.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Step 2

Sign the documents provided by the estate’s attorney so the will can be submitted for probate. The attorney will appear before the chancellor for an order appointing you as executor. Attend the hearing and take an oath of office; you will be given documents called “letters testamentary” authorizing you to perform the duties of the office. If the will does not waive a requirement to post a bond, obtain one at this point. A bond is a sort of insurance policy against any wrongdoing while you are in office.

Step 3

Make a list of all the deceased’s creditors and give it to the estate’s attorney. The attorney will help you notify them that they have 90 days to file a claim against the estate for payment. A notice to those creditors that you don’t know about must also be published in the local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. The attorney will advise the chancery court when this has been done, and the court will tell him if any creditors filed claims. Meet with the attorney to decide if any of those claims should not be paid, and notify the court accordingly. The claims that you have declared legitimate must be satisfied through the estate.

Step 4

Pay all taxes due. Prepare a tax return for any income the deceased earned in her last year of life and, depending on the size of the estate, any owed estate taxes to the IRS, as well -- you have nine to 15 months from the date of the testator’s death to pay them. Federal law requires the IRS to audit the return within three years from the date it is filed, but it usually occurs sooner. If the IRS approves the return, it will send the attorney something called a “closing letter.”

Step 5

Close the estate. The attorney will prepare a petition for the chancellor to ask him to relieve you of your duties. The attorney will ask the deceased’s beneficiaries to sign the petition as well in order to expedite the process.

Step 6

Accept your order of discharge. Once you receive this, you can go ahead and distribute the estate’s remaining assets to the will’s beneficiaries. The estate’s attorney will then file a last document, called a “statement of compliance,” with the chancery court and probate will be officially closed.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Probate a Will in Virginia

References

Related articles

The Probating of Kentucky Wills

Kentucky’s probate process is relatively simple compared to some other states. If the person named as executor in the will is the sole beneficiary, the court will accept an “informal settlement” of the estate, bypassing some probate requirements. Kentucky will also waive the final accounting of an estate if all the beneficiaries agree in writing. If someone dies without a will but his entire assets, after payment of estate expenses, are less than $15,000, the estate might also be exempt from much of the probate process.

Probating Wills in Pennsylvania

Although probate has a reputation for being time-consuming and complicated, the entire process can be completed in Pennsylvania in as little as 3 to 6 months. Appearances in court can be limited to less than half an hour in the office of the Register of Wills. Executors are not required representation by an attorney, although it is a good practice to consult with a lawyer so you are sure you understand the laws.

How to Probate a Will in Texas

Depending on the county where a testator, or the person who wrote the will, lived at the time of his death, Texas courts sometimes require that the executor of the will must be represented by an attorney. The Statutory Probate Court oversees the process if the testator lived in a metropolitan area; in rural areas, the Constitutional County Court presides over probate. The probate process can be simple or complex depending on the size and nature of the estate.

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

Related articles

How Long Does It Take for a New Jersey Inheritance Settlement?

If someone names you as a beneficiary in a New Jersey will, plan on waiting a minimum of nine months before you receive ...

How Long Do Probate Wills Take in Massachusetts?

The time required to probate a will depends on more than the executor’s diligence in getting the job done. The ...

How to Probate a Will in the State of North Carolina

Most testators designate an executor in their wills in order to ensure that the probate process runs smoothly. When you ...

Last Will Executor Duties

Executing a will and estate is a serious undertaking, and a court will require you to be sworn in before you can start. ...

Browse by category