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What is a Last Will and Testament

 

A Mississippi Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their childrenís inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedentís property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Mississippi Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they donít, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Mississippi free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Mississippi

End-of-life planning is essential, as it simplifies dealing with your medical care, personal assets, and other important decisions. No matter how old you are, having a Last Will validated provides an extra level of security for your family.

Various states regulate Last Will-related issues differently, so you should study the particular state in advance in order to prevent any mistakes. A Mississippi Last Will and Testament is a legal paper that serves to inform your relatives and inheritors about the type of property you wish to provide for each of the heirs.

You are not only allowed to express your wishes concerning sharing the property you possess among the closest relatives. In the state of Mississippi, the testator may also make a charitable gift, create a trust for a person, or designate a legal guardian for minor offsprings in their Last Will.

Make sure not to confuse the Last Will and the Living Will ó the latter is created to instruct your agent and medical staff about the way you want to be treated when you become incapable of speaking for yourself. You also use the Living Will to state whether you wish to be artificially fed, attached to a ventilator, still sustained to medical treatment in case of severe pain, and other related matters. Organ donation will is also described therein.

To create an effective Last Will in Mississippi, the testator has to follow some rules and requirements.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age;

  • You must be mentally and psychologically capable of completing the form;

  • The paper, except some particular cases, has to be in writing;

  • The testatorís signature must be appended;

  • The paper has to be witnessed by two competent adults.

Once the paper is completed, witnessed, signed by the testator, and authenticated in a notary public, it should be proven in probate court. The executor is allowed to begin collecting property, paying off debts, and distributing assets afterward.

The Last Will can be modified at any time by codicil. In case the testator wishes to revoke the previously executed Last Will, they should either create a brand new one or officially cancel the document.

What happens when a person passes away without having the Last Will left? According to the laws of Mississippi, real estate, financial assets, and personal possessions will go to the surviving spouse. If the testator had children, the property will be divided among the children and the spouse.

However, there is some type of property that will not be inherited in the case of intestacy:

  • A share for one or more children born after the personís death;

  • A share for the spouse excluded from the will;

  • Life insurance policy and retirement account proceeds;

  • Joint tenant property with right of survivorship.


 

 

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