In Mississippi, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone decides what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you really want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for really implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these goals.
In addition to decisions concerning the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For example, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your preference on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such choices for you, if you are unable.
A reliable estate planner in Mississippi may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Additionally, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Mississippi
Estate plans in Mississippi almost always have these features:
Will: If you've decided who you want to leave your property and money to after you die, you should make these wishes official, by writing a will. When writing a will, it's always a good idea to have the help of an attorney, since many problems can come up which might make the will much more difficult to implement, or they might even void it entirely. Common problems include ambiguities in the terms of the will (a term which is not clearly written, so it can be interpreted differently by reasonable people), as well as failure to follow the required formalities.
Power of Attorney: Sometimes, people fear that they may become incapacitated (because of injury, illness, or mental deterioration), and that they won't be able to make their own decisions. Luckily, if you want, you can grant a family member or close friend (or someone else you absolutely trust) legal authority to make important decisions for you, if you are ever incapacitated. This is known as "power of attorney."
Funeral Arrangements: If you have any preference whatsoever on how your mortal remains should be handled, you should make it clear to your family, in writing. You should further make the necessary arrangements with a funeral home, in advance. If possible, you should try to pay in advance for your funeral expenses, to save your survivors the additional burden of planning and paying for a funeral. These arrangements should be laid out somewhere other than in your will, because a will normally isn't read for days or weeks after the testator's death, by which point it is usually too late.
Do I Need a Mississippi Estate Planning Attorney?
Given the importance of decisions related to estate planning in Mississippi, you will probably find that having an accomplished attorney to assist you will be well worth the cost, and might pay for itself in future savings.
Interesting Facts About Mississippi
Mississippi is named after the Mississippi River, which marks the state's western boundary. Much of the state's economy revolves around the river. For example, Mississippi is one of the leading producers of farm-raised catfish in the U.S. The city of Jackson is Mississippi's state capital.
Mississippi is known for being an innovator in terms of new laws. The state was the first ever to implement a state sales tax, and the first to enforce a Married Women's Property Act. It was also one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana possession. On the other hand, Mississippi also maintains some very strict laws. Many counties in the state are "dry" counties, meaning that alcohol sales are heavily regulated in those areas. Also, the state has approved legislation banning same-sex marriages.
Mississippi's highest court of law is the Supreme Court of Mississippi. It was originally called the "High Court of Errors and Appeals". Some appeals go straight to the Supreme Court from the trial court level. However, most appeals are heard in the Mississippi Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is relatively young, as it began operations only in the year 1995. The Court of Appeals was created to relieve the Supreme Court's caseload.
Lawyers in Mississippi can provide much-needed help in many areas of law. Experienced Mississippi lawyers provide expert advice and guidance regarding the state's laws. An attorney in Mississippi can also represent you in court if a lawsuit is necessary.