One reason people delay drafting their will is that they don’t understand its benefits. One of the primary goals of individuals who do move forward with this process is to take charge of distributing their assets when they pass away. Many Mississippi residents are well aware that intestate succession laws dictate what becomes of their assets if they die without a will in place. What many people don’t know, though, is what constitutes a properly executed will in this state.

The testator, or person drafting the will, must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind when the will is executed. They must also have two or more individuals witnessing their signature unless the will is wholly in their handwriting. State law does warn testators against selecting witnesses who are also beneficiaries. They note that such a selection can void the will. This Mississippi law also highlights how a testator can have someone else sign their will on their behalf, provided that it is done in front of them.

Nuncupative, or oral, wills are also valid in Mississippi. Testators must generally reside in a home at least ten days before their death for their oral will to be legally-binding. State law prohibits such an individual from giving away more than $100 unless two witnesses can attest that it was the testator’s final wishes to do so. Certain restrictions apply to when you can file such a will with the probate court and who can contest it.

While some people take time to have an attorney help them draft their will, many individuals take their chances and handwrite or orally record their wills. There are plenty of testators who make one small misstep in drafting their wills only to have them invalidated by a Flowood probate judge in the end. 

One of the best things you can do if someone contests your loved one’s will is to have a probate & estate administration attorney review your Mississippi case. Your Flowood lawyer will likely want to know more about the events surrounding the drafting of your loved one’s will before advising you of whether it’s legally binding.