When someone dies without a trust, the title to their assets must be transferred to their beneficiaries or heirs. This is a legal process filed in the Chancery Court called Probate of Will or Administration of Estate. An estate can be with or without a Will. A Will is a written instrument signed by the Testator that directs how the estate assets are to be distributed. If you die without a Will, your estate must be administered.
Administration of Estate
When someone dies without a Will, the legal proceeding is called an Administration and is similar to Probating a Will. The assets of the Estate are distributed to the deceased's heirs according to the laws of the State of Mississippi. For example, if the person is married, the assets of the Estate are distributed to the spouse and children in equal shares. For example, if the Deceased was married and had two children, the spouse and each child would receive one-third (1/3) of your assets.
The administration is similar to probating a will, except the cost is higher due to posting of bond, accounting to the court and appraising the value of the estate. A simple estate generally requires a minimum of six months to complete and costs approximately one-third more than probate. Probating a Will
To ensure your Estate is distributed as you desire, the best solution is to make a Will. Some think the cost of probate will exceed the value of the estate. This does not have to be the case. The cost of Probate varies according to the size and complexity of the estate. Most simple estates, without sale of property or litigation, cost several thousand dollars.
Probate begins by filing the Will with the Chancery Court in the county where the Deceased lived or owned property. After the Will is admitted to Probate, the Chancery Judge appoints an Executor/Executrix named in the Will. The Executor/Executrix must take an Oath to faithfully perform require duties.
The Executor/Executrix is charged with the duty of gathering all of the assets of the Deceased, locating and notifying all Creditors and paying all legitimate debts. If the Executor knows of the existence of a Creditor, a notice must be sent advising the Estate is open and the time limit in which a claim must be filed. A Notice to Creditors must be run a local newspaper of general circulation in the County. The time to file a claim is 90 days from date of first publication. For example, if the first date of publication is May 1 the claim must be filed by August 1. Claims filed after the 90 days are barred and assets distributed lien free.
After locating all the property of the estate, paying actual claims of Creditors and the time for Notice to Creditors has run the estate is ready to be closed. The estate is closed by a Petition to Close Estate and Dismiss Executor/Executrix and after approval by the Court the assets are distributed to Beneficiaries of the Will lien free. A simple estate without complication requires six months to close from date of filing.
In some cases, disagreements occur between heirs and/or creditors requiring litigation. In such situations, the estate may remain open for years.