Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Mississippi
Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:
1. Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.
2. Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.
Under Mississippi statute, where as estate is valued at less than $50,000, an interested party may, thirty (30) days after the death of the decedent, issue a small estate affidavit to collect any debts owed to the decedent. The successor of a decedent, after the fling of said affidavit, shall be empowered to negotiate, transfer ownership and exercise all other incidents of ownership with respect to the personal property and instruments of the decedent.
Mississippi requirements are set forth in the statutes below.
SEC. 91-7-322. Payment of indebtedness or delivery of personal property of decedent to decedent’s successor; affidavit of successor.
(1) Except as may be otherwise provided by Sections 81-5-63, 81-12-135, 81-12-137 and 91-7-323, at any time after thirty (30) days from the death of a decedent, any person indebted to the decedent or having possession of tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, or chose in action belonging to the decedent shall make payment when due of the indebtedness or deliver the tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, or chose in action to a person claiming to be the successor of the decedent, as defined herein, upon being presented an affidavit made by the successor stating:
(a) That the value of the entire estate of the decedent, wherever located, excluding all liens and encumbrances thereon, does not exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00);
(b) That at least thirty (30) days have elapsed since the death of the decedent;
(c) That no application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent is pending, nor has a personal representative of the decedent been appointed in any jurisdiction; and
(d) The facts of relationship establishing the affiant as a successor of the decedent.
(2) For the purposes of this section, “successor” means the decedent’s spouse; or, if there is no surviving spouse of the decedent, then the adult with whom any minor children of the decedent are residing; or, if there is no surviving spouse or minor children of the decedent, then any adult child of the decedent; or, if there is no surviving spouse or children of the decedent, then either parent of the decedent.
(3) Any person who is the successor of the decedent, because the person is an adult with whom the minor children of the decedent are living, shall receive any property or payments of or for the decedent for the use and benefit of said children.
(4) The successor of a decedent, upon complying with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, shall be empowered to negotiate, transfer ownership and exercise all other incidents of ownership with respect to the personal property and instruments described in subsection (1) of this section.
(5) Any person paying, delivering, transferring or issuing personal property or the evidence thereof pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be discharged and released to the same extent as if such person had dealt with a personal representative of the decedent. Such person shall not be required to see to the proper application of the personal property or evidence thereof or to inquire into the truth of any statement in the affidavit. If any person to whom an affidavit is delivered, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, refuses to pay, deliver, transfer or issue any personal property or evidence thereof to the successor, such property or evidence thereof may be recovered or its payment, delivery, transfer or issuance compelled upon proof of the successor’s right in a proceeding brought in chancery court for such purpose by or on behalf of the persons entitled thereto. Any person to whom payment, delivery, transfer or issuance is made shall be answerable and accountable to the personal representative of the estate, if any, or to any other person having a superior right.