I get a bunch of e-mails from people who want to know where to start
with Mississippi probate. Many of them have not considered whether
probate is really required.
As I've mentioned in my discussion of how to determine whether Mississippi probate is necessary, so much depends on what assets the decedent owned, where they are located, and how they are titled.
once in a while I get a call from someone with a deceased friend or
family member that had no assets other than an automobile. Sometimes
they have been told that they need to go through probate so that they
can get clear title to the automobile. But this isn't always the case.
Title Bureau for the Mississippi Department of Revenue has a
little-known procedure for transferring a decedent's automobile that is
titled in Mississippi without the need for probate. To take advantage
of this procedure, the decedent's closest relatives ("next of kin") must
file an affidavit with the Mississippi Department of Revenue that
contains the following information:
This information is all found in the form Affidavit When Owner Dies Without a Will, which is promulgated by the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
sometimes get asked about whether this procedure is available if the
decedent had a valid Last Will and Testament. This question usually
comes up when the decedent had a valid Last Will and Testament that is
not expected to be admitted to probate. This is usually the situation
when the automobiles are the only assets involved.
is caused by the short title of the document ("Affidavit When Owner Dies
Without a Will"). At first glance, this seems to indicate that the
procedure is only available if there is no will. But this may be
misleading. The rest of the Affidavit indicates that reference to the
owner dying without a will really refers to the owner dying without a
will that has been or will be admitted to probate. For example:
indicates that that the procedure is available even if there is a valid
Last Will and Testament, as long as the will is not expected to be
probated, no executor is appointed, and no widow's allowance is made.
This interpretation has been confirmed by my calls with the Title Bureau
on this issue.
It is clear that the procedure is not
available if the decedent's will has been or is expected to be admitted
to probate. If the executor intends to probate the will, the
automobiles will pass under the will and not through this special
I advise potential clients to contact the Title Bureau
for the Department of Revenue (601-923-7200) with any specific questions
about the form and the circumstances under which it can be used. If
the decedent's only asset was an automobile and the Title Bureau
confirms that the form can be used, Mississippi probate can usually be
View more from Jeramie Fortenberry
About Jeramie Fortenberry
I am an attorney
practicing trust and estate law in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. I
offer free telephonic consultations to clients with questions about
probate and estate planning. Get yours today.
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