Even though the process to make a will has similarities in every state, there are differences that are essential to know. Each U.S. state has its own laws surrounding wills. There are very specific state statutes that you have to follow when you make a will. These same stipulations apply when you make a will online. To make an online will in Mississippi, you want to be sure you follow the state requirements in order for your will to be valid. You want to use an online will that is customized for the state of Mississippi.
Can I Make a Will Online in Mississippi?
Yes, you can make a will online in Mississippi. Every person 18 years of age or older, who is of sound and disposing mind, can make a will in Mississippi.
To make a will online, use an online will making service. We recommend USLegalWills to make a will online in Mississippi.
The legal requirements for a will to be valid in Mississippi are as follows:
- The will must be signed by the Testator (the person making the will).
- The will must be attested by two or more credible witnesses. The witnesses must sign the will after seeing you sign the will.
Your witnesses should be “disinterested parties” to your will (that is, they are not beneficiaries in your will). In Mississippi, any “interested party” that acts as a witness to a will risks losing their inheritance. If the will cannot be otherwise proven, the witness may be compelled to testify to its authenticity. If this occurs, any inheritance is voided, except in the case that the witness would be entitled to the estate if the will was not in place—their entitled share of the estate will be saved for them but it cannot exceed the value of the original inheritance.
To avoid legal complications, it is better to use two “disinterested parties” as the witnesses to your will.
The state of Mississippi does not recognize digital-only wills. If you make a will online in Mississippi, you must print it out for you and your witnesses to sign.
Does Mississippi Require a Notarized Will?
No, Mississippi does not require a will to be notarized for it to be valid. However, Mississippi does allow for a will to be “self-proved.” When a will is presented to the probate court, the court has to determine if the will is valid. If your will is “self-proved,” it speeds up the validation process.
To make a will “self-proved” in Mississippi, you and your witnesses will make sworn statements in front of a notary public. By making these sworn statements (affidavits), it is the same as you are making them before the court. It is these affidavits that are notarized (not the will itself), which you then attach to the will. Now your will is “self-proved.”
By having a “self-proved” will, it eliminates the need for your witnesses to testify before the court in regards to the authenticity of your will. You and your witnesses already essentially testified to its authenticity, which allows the probate court to accept the will as valid much quicker.
Can I Name an Executor in Mississippi?
You can name an executor in your will, which you can also do in a will you make online. The executor is the individual appointed to settle the estate, ensuring that the will is followed. It can be a very burdensome job, so you want to make sure you fully discuss what being the executor of an estate entails with the person you want to name. It is a good idea to name someone as the executor, otherwise the court will have to appoint someone (which can delay the probate process). You want to pick someone you know and trust; someone you are confident will make sure your will is followed.
Here are the requirements for an executor in Mississippi:
- The person must be at least 18 years old.
- The person must be of sound mind—not judged incapacitated by a court.
- The person must not have been convicted of a felony.
- the person must not have been convicted of a felony
Mississippi does not impose any special requirements to name an out-of-state executor. For practical purposes, however, it might be better to name someone who lives nearby.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Mississippi?
No, you do not need an attorney. It is always wise to consult an estate planning attorney if you have a large or complex estate. For most people, especially those with simple estates and straightforward wills, online will making is a good option. To make an online will in Mississippi, you want to make sure you follow all the requirements needed for a valid will. You will want to use an online will making service that has state-specific templates.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Mississippi?
Any type of will that meets the state-specific requirements, whether made online or not, is valid in Mississippi.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Mississippi?
A holographic will is a handwritten will that is signed only by the Testator (the person making the will). Mississippi does recognize holographic wills. In order for a holographic will to be valid in Mississippi, it must be testamentary in character. This means the Testator must write it with the intention for it to be their last will and testament. The entire will must be in the Testator’s handwriting, and it also must be signed and dated (by the Testator).
While Mississippi does recognize holographic wills as valid, it is better to write an online will using an online will making service instead. This is because holographic wills often face a long probate process. The court will have to call upon witnesses to testify to the handwriting, and the court may even call in handwriting experts.
In addition, a layperson often forgets to include important provisions in a holographic will. The language may be unclear, and the handwriting may be illegible.
To avoid long legal delays, it is better to make an online will in Mississippi.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Mississippi?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, which some people like to leave on video. Nuncupative wills are sometimes known as deathbed wills. While nuncupative wills are not ideal, they are allowed in Mississippi under the following conditions:
- It was made in the time of last sickness.
- It was made at the deceased’s residence, or where the deceased resided for ten days preceding the time of death (except when the deceased was taken away sick and died before returning home).
- If the value of what is bequeathed exceeds $100, it must be proved by two witnesses that the Testator called upon witnesses to bear testimony that such is their will (or words to that effect).
The probate court will not accept any nuncupative will until 14 days after the Testator’s death, nor until the widow (if any) and other next of kin, if they reside in Mississippi, have been called upon to contest if they so desire.
The probate court will not accept a nuncupative will that was not reduced to writing within 6 days after the words were spoke, nor will the court accept a nuncupative will (even if reduced to writing within 6 days) if 6 months have elapsed from the time the words were spoke.
In addition to the above, any active duty soldier or mariner at sea may distribute any property in a nuncupative will.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Mississippi?
A living will (also known as an advance directive) is a separate legal document that contains instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care. A last will and testament, on the other hand, contains matters pertaining a person’s estate. When you make an online will in Mississippi, it is the same as a last will and testament. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on living wills in Mississippi as well as a form to fill one out, you can go here.
In Mississippi, these are the requirements for a living will:
- It can only be created by an adult or emancipated minor.
- It must be in writing, dated, and signed by the “principal” (the creator of the living will).
- It must be signed by two adult witnesses, at least one of whom is not related to the principal, OR
- It must be acknowledged by a notary public.
After you create a living will and validate it, you will want to make copies of it to give to family members, the executor of your estate, your health care proxy if you named one, and to your medical providers. It is your responsibility to make it known that you have a living will. A living will only goes into effect should you become permanently incapacitated.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Mississippi?
When someone dies without a will, it is known as dying intestate. When this happens, there are laws that determine what happens to this person’s estate. These are known as intestacy laws, and they determine how the estate will be divided. The state of Mississippi will also appoint guardians for any minor children as well as appoint someone to be the executor of the estate.
When it comes to the division of the estate, the intestacy distribution laws of Mississippi regulates what happens. If the person is married with no children, the surviving spouse gets the entire estate. If the person is married with one child, half of the estate goes to the surviving spouse and half to the child. So on and so forth, and if the state exhausts the list and you have no surviving family, the state will take ownership of the estate.
This becomes a lengthy legal process. Property is often held up in probate for months, sometimes years, at a time. Having a valid will in place helps speed up the probate process, meaning your estate will be settled faster. If you want any say in how your property is distributed, you can only do that if you make a will.
It is especially important to make a will if you have any minor children.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Mississippi?
You can include the following in an online will in Mississippi:
- You can name the executor of your estate.
- You can name guardians for any minor children.
- You can name a trusted person to oversee any property left to minor children.
- You can leave property or gifts to family, friends, charities, or organizations.
- You can name a trusted person to care for any pets.
- You can designate who receives family heirlooms and other sentimental items.
- You can distribute other personal or sentimental items.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Mississippi?
You should not include any medical directives, end-of-life care, or funeral instructions in a last will and testament. When a person dies, the funeral arrangements are typically made immediately. Usually, it is not until after the funeral that the will is read. If you leave funeral instructions in your will, your family might not know about them until after the funeral.
If you leave medical directives or end-of-life care stipulations in a will, even if your family member knows about them, they will not be legally binding. For such directives, you want to create a living will.
If you want to leave funeral directions, you can discuss your wishes with your family members. You can also create a separate, informal document that describes your wishes. You will want to give it to the executor of your estate or other trusted people.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Mississippi?
A valid will is a legally binding document, whether made online or not. But, you can change or revoke your will at any time. You change and revoke a will made online the same way you revoke any will.
In Mississippi, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- You can physically destroy the will with the intent of revoking it.
- You can order someone else to physically destroy the will in front of you (with the intent of revoking it).
- You can make a new will that revokes the old will.
- You can write a document that says you revoke the old will (it must be finalized in the same way you finalize a will).
After any major life change—like marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, relocation, acquisition of sizable assets—it is a good idea to update your will. Most of the time, it is better to revoke your prior will and write a new will. But with minor changes, you can add an amendment (called a codicil) with the changes instead. A codicil must be finalized in the same way that the original will is finalized.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Mississippi?
To finalize a will in Mississippi, take these steps:
- If you made the will online, print it out.
- Sign the will in front of two credible witnesses.
- Have the two witnesses sign the will.
To make a will “self-proved” in Mississippi, you and your witnesses make sworn statements in front of a notary public. You then attach these notarized sworn statements to your will.
Be sure to consider these special considerations in Mississippi:
- Mississippi has special clauses that may automatically revoke your will if certain events occur. Examples are: if you didn’t have a child when you made the will but do when you die (or if your wife is pregnant), your will is revoked (unless your child dies before turning 21, and your child dies without ever being married or has no children).
- If your will is revoked through certain events like the above, intestacy laws apply and it is as though you died without a will.
- On the other hand, divorce does not automatically revoke any provisions in your will that give your former spouse property. This is why it is always best to update or write a new will after any major life change.
USLegalWills is our recommendation for making an online will in Mississippi. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy. You can also create a Living Will. USLegalWills offers a free service to document funeral wishes and save final messages for loved ones.