The Mississippi probate process generally follows three steps: opening, administering, and closing the estate. Let’s take a closer look at what happens during these phases and how you can work effectively alongside your probate lawyer in Mississippi for the best results.
Phase 1: Opening
The probate process in MS starts when the estate is “opened” in the chancery court. Several things happen during this phase.
If there is a Last Will and Testament, your attorney will need the original, signed document. They will look over the document to ensure it was signed by the testator (deceased) and at least two other witnesses. The lawyer will also determine what needs to be done to “prove” the will. If there is no will, this part of the process is skipped.
Your lawyer will prepare the appropriate documents needed for the courts. They may include:
- Petition for Probate of Will
- Issuance of Letters Testamentary
- Petition to Establish Heirs
When all documents have been signed and filed with the court, your attorney will attend a hearing and obtain an Order granting the Petition for Probate of Will and Issuance of Letters Testamentary. When the Order is issued, you sign an oath which is filed with the court.
Phase 2: Administration
The administration phase is the most labor intensive and involves issuing the Letters Testamentary. Each case is different, but you can expect a creditor notification, payment of taxes on the property, and inventory and accounting. The goal of this process is to notify creditors to be paid before theestate can be closed, pay off taxes on the property, and prepare a list of the decedent’s assets. There may even be property to be sold, which may require authorization from the Court.
Phase 3: Closing
In the last phase, the estate is closed. Your probate lawyer in Mississippi will prepare a Petition for your signature, closing the estate. They will attend a hearing and obtain an Order that tells you which steps need to be taken to discharge you from your responsibilities. Finally, your lawyer may file a Statement of Compliance to show that all actions have been taken.
The probate process can seem confusing but when you work with an experienced attorney, you will find that things move along seamlessly. The process does take time, however, so be patient. To learn more about the MS probate process, schedule a consultation with Susan G. Pinkston.