Mississippi Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Mississippi

Note:    This summary is not intended as an all inclusive summary of the law of wills in Mississippi, but does contain basic and other information.  Hand-written wills are not discussed.

Who may make a will: Every person eighteen (18) years of age or older, being of sound and disposing mind, shall have power, to make a will.  91-5-1.

Execution: A last will and testament, or codicil, be signed by the testator or testatrix, or by some other person in his or her presence and by his or her express direction. Moreover, if not wholly written and subscribed by himself or herself, it shall be attested by two (2) or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator or testatrix.  91-5-1.

Revocations: A will may be revoked by the testator or testatrix destroying, canceling, or obliterating the will, or by subsequent will, codicil, or declaration, in writing, made and executed. 91-5-3.

Devises or bequests to witnesses: If any person be a subscribing witness to a will wherein any devise or bequest is made to him and the will cannot otherwise be proven, such devise or bequest shall be void, and the witness shall be competent as to the residue of the will as if a devise or bequest had not been made to him, and he may be compelled to testify. If such witness would have been entitled to any share of the testator’s estate in case the will were not established, then so much of such share shall be saved to the witness as shall not exceed the value of the devise or bequest made to him in the will. 91-5-9.

Creditor as subscribing witness: Any creditor shall be a competent subscribing witness to a last will and testament; but any special provision in favor of such creditor in the will, either by admitting the debt or by providing for its payment or by giving it a preference, shall be void, and such claim shall stand as though the provision had not been made.  91-5-13,

Right of spouse to renounce will; form of renunciation; right to intestate share: When a husband makes his last will and testament and does not make satisfactory provision therein for his wife, she may, at any time within ninety (90) days after the probate of the will, file in the office where probated a renunciation to the following effect, viz.: “I, A B, the widow of C D, hereby renounce the provision made for me by the will of my deceased husband, and elect to take in lieu thereof my legal share of his estate.” Thereupon she shall be entitled to such part of his estate, real and personal, as she would have been entitled to if he had died intestate, except that, even if the husband left no child nor descendant of such, the widow, upon renouncing, shall be entitled to only one-half ( 1/2) of the real and personal estate of her deceased husband. The husband may renounce the will of his deceased wife under the same circumstances, in the same time and manner, and with the same effect upon his right to share in her estate as herein provided for the widow. 91-5-25.

Will not providing for spouse: If the will of the husband or wife shall not make any provision for the other, the survivor of them shall have the right to share in the estate of the deceased husband or wife, as in case of unsatisfactory provision in the will of the husband or wife for the other of them. In such case a renunciation of the will shall not be necessary, but the rights of the survivor shall be as if the will had contained a provision that was unsatisfactory and it had been renounced. 91-5-27.

Spouse with separate estate: In case the wife have a separate property at the time of the death of her husband, equal in value to what would be her lawful portion of her husband’s real and personal estate, and he have made a will, she shall not be at liberty to signify her dissent to the will or to renounce any provision or bequest therein in her favor and elect to take her portion of his estate. If her separate property be not equal in value to what would be the value of her portion of her husband’s estate, then she may signify her dissent to the will, as in other cases provided by law, and claim to have the deficiency made up to her, notwithstanding the will. The court in which the will is probated may appoint three commissioners to ascertain, by valuation of the estate, what her lawful portion thereof would be worth; and the commissioners shall also value her own separate estate and report their valuation to the court. Whereupon the court shall make the proper order for allowing her to share in her husband’s real and personal estate to make up the deficiency after the following rule: if her separate property be equal in value to two thirds of what she would be entitled to, she shall have one third of her lawful portion of the land and one third of what would be her distributive share of the personalty; if her separate property be worth half in value what she would be entitled to, then she shall be entitled to half her lawful portion of real estate and half of what would be her distributive share of the personalty; if her separate property be worth only one third in value what she would be entitled to, then she shall be entitled to two thirds of her lawful portion of real estate and two thirds of what would be her distributive share in the personalty. This section shall not preclude or prevent any married woman from renouncing the provisions of her husband’s will and electing to take her lawful portion if her separate property do not amount in value to one fifth of what she would be entitled to. This section shall apply to a husband renouncing the will of his wife, and shall govern as to his right to share in her estate in such case. 91-5-29.

Person who kills another not to take under his will: If any person shall willfully cause or procure the death of another in any manner, he shall not take the property, or any part thereof, real or personal, of such other under any will, testament, or codicil. Any devise to such person shall be void and, as to the property so devised, the decedent shall be deemed to have died intestate.  This shall not defeat the title of a bona fide purchaser for value of the property so devised, who acquired the same after one year from the probation of the will without notice that the person to whom the same was devised so caused or procured the death of the testator.91-5-33.


Inside Mississippi Last Will and Testament Law