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Probate & Estate Administration Lawyers in Ridgeland, MS
Estate & Probate Attorneys Serving Ridgeland
When the time comes to probate or administer an estate, you want to make sure that these matters are handled appropriately, in a reasonable amount of time, and with minimum expense to the estate. The probate and estate administration attorneys at Hancock Law Firm in Ridgeland provide services with a high level of personal attention and professionalism to help ensure your probate or estate administration is properly carried out. If you have any questions or concerns about the probate process or estate administration, we are more than happy to help. Call our Ridgeland, MS law office today to schedule a strictly private, no-commitment consultation with an attorney.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the court-supervised process for giving effect to a will and settling an estate after someone passes. In other words, probate is the name of the legal process where a person’s will is confirmed as valid (or they are confirmed to have passed away without a will), their estate is settled, and their property/assets are distributed to the proper beneficiaries. Among other things, the Mississippi probate process includes:
- Identifying and locating all of the assets of the estate
- Properly managing them or liquidating them to cash if necessary
- Paying off all debts, taxes, or other claims owed by the estate
- Distributing the remaining proceeds or property to heirs and beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or other testamentary documents.
Probate is supervised by the court and proceeds in a certain order, and the courts are often backlogged with other cases. In addition, potential creditors must be notified of the death and given time to present claims to the estate; final tax returns must be filed; and other activities must be carried out which take some time.
Is Probate Still Required If There is No Will?
Probate may still be required even if there is no valid will. When a person dies without a will, they are classified as “intestate.” In effect, this means that their property and assets are controlled by the Mississippi inheritance laws—meaning they will lose the right to control what happens to their own possessions. The probate process is still used to settle the estate (pay debts and taxes) and to determine who gets to inherit what.
Probate is Necessary in Many Cases—But There is an Exception for Small Estates
Probate is necessary in most cases, except in the case of extremely small estates, where the assets may be transferred outside of probate by affidavit. Under Mississippi state law (MS Code § 91-7-322), you may be eligible to use a legal tool called a small estate affidavit if the total value of your loved one’s estate is less than $50,000. Notably, a small estate affidavit is generally a faster, more efficient way to claim the property. It is an effective alternative to probate for some people and families. If you have any questions about small estates, our Ridgeland, MS estate administration lawyers are available to help.
Know the Difference Between Probate Property and Non-Probate Property
Not all property is subject to the probate process. When a person passes away in Mississippi, their property and assets can be divided into two broad categories:
- Probate Property: Probate property is all of the property owned solely and directly by the person who passed away, without any valid designated beneficiaries. In effect, all of their personal property that is covered by a will—or that would have been covered by a will—is subject to the probate process.
- Non-Probate Property: In Mississippi, certain property/assets can avoid probate. There are three broad ways for property to avoid probate. First, property or assets placed into a legally valid trust can avoid probate. Next, assets with a designated beneficiary—such as a 401(k) account—can pass outside of the probate process. Finally, assets owned jointly by a married couple can generally pass directly to the surviving spouse.
Our Attorneys Can Help Make the Probate Process as Smooth and Efficient as Possible
Probate generally takes several months to complete. Although there is a certain minimum amount of time that probate must take, our lawyers are diligent in their approach and strive to keep the process from taking any longer than necessary. We work personally with the family members involved, explaining the process at the outset so you know what to expect, and maintaining ongoing communication so you always know the progress of the probate or estate administration.
We Provide Comprehensive Estate Administration in Ridgeland, MS
Depending upon the complexity of the estate, there may be a host of tasks that must be completed as part of the administration of the estate. At Hancock Law Firm, we engage in the efficient preparation of documents and completion of tasks, providing full attention to detail to prevent costly and time-consuming errors.
Below is a brief sample of some of the tasks we are commonly called upon to complete as part of probate:
- Deed of reconveyance
- Distribution of assets
- Muniment of title
- Quitclaim deed
- Reconcile an insolvent estate
- Response to collection actions
- Revocation of power of attorney
- Small estate affidavit
- Take possession of assets
- Tax matters
- Will disputes
- Ancillary proceedings
With extensive experience providing probate law and estate administration services in Mississippi, we know that every case is different. Our Ridgeland, MS probate & estate administration attorneys will put in the time, resources, and attention to detail into your case. You can trust our legal team to handle your case the right way.
Get Help from Experienced Ridgeland Probate Attorneys
Our goal is to help bereaved family members through a difficult time by providing accurate, efficient, and compassionate probate and estate administration legal services. For help with the administration of an estate in Ridgeland or a surrounding area, contact the Hancock Law Firm, PLLC for assistance. From our Ridgeland law office, we provide probate and estate administration services in Madison County and throughout the wider region.
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