Tupelo Probate Attorneys Assisting Clients Dealing With Probate in Tupelo, MS
Probate is a legal process in which a court oversees the transfer of assets from a decedent’s estate to its beneficiaries. It also has the goal of ensuring the will is valid and that all debts and taxes are paid before the estate assets are distributed. Learn the key aspects of probate in Mississippi and when working with an attorney may be in your best interest.
How Does Probate Work in Mississippi?
The probate process begins with the estate’s executor presenting the original will to the local court office and filling out the required paperwork. If all goes well, the probate judge may present the executor with letters of administration, which authorize the executor to act on behalf of the estate.
The executor will then notify all beneficiaries, inventory the estate assets, file tax returns (if needed), and pay any taxes owed by the estate. The executor will also notify any creditors that may have a claim against the estate, pay off debts, and distribute assets to heirs. The executor periodically reports back to the court and provides written accounts of all estate administration activities, including financial transactions. Once all assets are distributed, the estate is closed.
Do Small Estates Need Probate in Mississippi?
Probate can be expensive and time-consuming for larger, more complex estates. Fortunately, the state of Mississippi allows smaller estates to undergo a simplified process in lieu of traditional probate. Heirs of estates valued at $50,000.00 or less may be able to an out-of-court procedure through an affidavit that states the value of the estate, explains that a personal representative has not been appointed and that the inheritor is entitled to the asset.
Simplified probate may be available for estates valued at $500 or less. In addition, there are other procedures available that may apply to small estates or bank accounts. As a reminder, assets with a designated beneficiary (such as trust assets, for example) do not require probate and can usually be transferred directly to the beneficiary.
Is Probate Required if You Die Without a Will?
Probate may be required when someone dies without a will. If a decedent left behind significant assets but no will, the estate may need to undergo intestate probate. During intestate probate, the decedent’s assets are inventoried and distributed according to Mississippi’s intestate succession rules. However, as explained above, assets in smaller estates may be distributed through alternative means when eligible for simplified probate or an out-of-court affidavit. Ask an attorney if you are unsure about whether your loved one’s estate requires probate or not.
When Should You See a Probate Attorney?
Probate attorneys can be of great benefit to those managing a loved one’s estate, providing services and guidance to help navigate the entire process. In addition, special cases such as intestate probate or contested wills may require more in-depth knowledge of Mississippi’s probate laws, which means working with a probate attorney is almost essential for a positive outcome.
Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC, has a highly-skilled team of probate and estate planning attorneys assisting clients in Tupelo, MS, and surrounding areas with all their probate needs. Contact us at (662) 502-5195 to see how we may assist you.