Rushing & Guice: Detail-Oriented Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Biloxi, MS
Too many Americans die without a will. That is called dying intestate and almost 70% of Americans die intestate. That leaves the family confused and burdened. It also requires that all of the remaining property go through probate, an expensive and time-consuming process that drains resources from the family. When you work with an estate planning attorney, estate planning can be accomplished in a timely fashion and can relieve the surviving spouse and family from the strain of focusing on tasks and decisions that could be assigned through thoughtful and comprehensive estate planning.
What is Defined as an Estate?
At Rushing & Guice, we understand the importance of estate planning in Mississippi. Estate planning involves the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets upon your death or incapacitation. It allows you to dictate how your property, finances, and personal belongings will be handled, ensuring that your wishes are carried out effectively. In Mississippi, estate planning typically involves the creation of a will, which outlines your preferences regarding beneficiaries, guardianship of minor children, and the appointment of an executor.
Additionally, other estate planning tools, such as trusts, can be utilized to protect assets, minimize taxes, and provide for loved ones. Our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the complexities of estate planning, ensuring that your legacy is protected and your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes.
What is Estate Plan in Mississippi?
An estate plan in Mississippi is a comprehensive legal strategy that outlines how an individual’s assets and affairs will be managed, distributed, and protected upon their death or incapacitation. It consists of several key components tailored to the individual’s unique circumstances and objectives.
In Mississippi, an estate plan typically includes a last will and testament, which specifies how the individual’s property will be distributed and names an executor to carry out their wishes. It may also involve establishing trusts to protect assets and minimize estate taxes. Other elements of an estate plan may include powers of attorney for healthcare and finances, living wills, and designations of guardians for minor children.
By working with an experienced estate planning attorney in Mississippi, individuals can ensure that their estate plan is legally valid, complies with state laws, and reflects their intentions. An effective estate plan not only provides peace of mind but also helps to minimize potential disputes and tax liabilities, while maximizing the protection and efficient transfer of assets to future generations.
What is Probate?
Probate is a court proceeding that authenticates a Will if the decedent had one; approves the named executor so that the property can be inventoried and distributed according to the terms of the will; values the estate so that any taxes and debts can be paid, and oversees the distribution of the estate to creditors and beneficiaries. Although Mississippi does not tax estates, there might be federal estate tax consequences that will be supervised by the probate process.
If there is no will, then the probate process becomes more complicated. The estate still needs to be inventoried, by an administrator appointed by the court, and the distribution of any assets is determined by the laws of intestate succession.
Protecting Your Assets from Probate
Estate planning to avoid probate is an important strategy. By providing ahead of time for ownership and distribution, there are several ways to pull a property out of an estate and avoid probate. Here are some of the strategies:
Co-own marital assets
By co-owning bank and brokerage accounts, motor vehicles, houses, and land, the surviving spouse maintains ownership of these assets without having to place them in probate.
Transfer funds to payable-on-death accounts
By designating a beneficiary to receive bank and brokerage accounts upon the death of the owner, these assets can be removed from probate jurisdiction. The beneficiary does not have any ownership or control of the assets before the death of the decedent.
Own property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship
A common way to avoid probate is to designate ownership, especially of real property, as joint tenants with the rights of survivorship. When the decedent dies, the remaining owner(s) receive the decedent’s share without having to place the real property in probate.
Create a living trust
When planning an estate, the testator places money or property into a trust that he or she manages and controls during their lifetime. Heirs are designated so that they become the successor beneficiaries of the trust.
Are there any estate taxes in Mississippi?
At Rushing & Guice, we understand that estate taxes can be a significant concern for individuals and families engaging in estate planning. As of our knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Mississippi does not impose a state-level estate tax. This means that estates in Mississippi are not subject to additional taxes imposed specifically by the state.
However, it is important to note that federal estate tax laws may still apply. The federal estate tax threshold and regulations can change over time, potentially affecting the tax obligations of larger estates. Our experienced estate planning attorneys stay up to date with the latest tax laws and can provide comprehensive guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.
We recommend consulting with our knowledgeable team to evaluate your estate and determine the potential tax implications involved. Our attorneys will work closely with you to develop a strategic estate plan that aims to minimize tax liabilities and maximize the preservation and distribution of your assets to future generations.
Please keep in mind that tax laws are subject to change, and it is crucial to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney or tax professional to receive accurate and up-to-date advice regarding estate taxes in Mississippi. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take proactive steps towards effective estate planning.
Will and Trust Attorneys Providing Protection from Creditors
Rushing & Guice helps clients to protect their personal and business assets from lawsuits and other creditor claims by working together to create different types of wealth preservation strategies based on their needs, protecting them, their families, or their businesses from the financial crisis, catastrophic judgments and future creditors. Our attorneys can work with you to implement appropriate strategies which can form a barrier between your assets and those who are trying to get access to them.
Do I need a will in Mississippi?
Yes, having a will in Mississippi is highly recommended for individuals who want to have control over the distribution of their assets after their death. A will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your property and possessions should be distributed, who will be responsible for administering your estate (known as the executor), and who will be the guardian of any minor children.
Without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession in Mississippi. These laws determine how your property will be divided among your heirs based on their relationship to you. This default distribution may not align with your personal wishes or the specific needs of your loved ones.
By having a will, you can ensure that your property is distributed according to your intentions. You can specify how specific assets should be distributed, designate beneficiaries, and even make provisions for charitable donations if desired. This provides peace of mind that your assets will be distributed in the manner you desire, and it can also help to minimize potential conflicts or disputes among family members.
Additionally, having a will can simplify the probate process in Mississippi. Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed and debts are settled. With a valid will in place, the court will have clear instructions on how to distribute your assets, which can streamline the probate proceedings and potentially reduce administrative costs.
It’s important to note that creating a will requires compliance with specific legal requirements in Mississippi. The will must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the will), and witnessed by two individuals who are not beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries. To ensure that your will is valid and properly reflects your wishes, it is advisable to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in Mississippi.
Having a will is a crucial component of comprehensive estate planning. It allows you to have control over the distribution of your assets, provides for the care of your loved ones, and can simplify the probate process. Consulting with an attorney will ensure that your will meets all legal requirements and is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.
When Should You Start Estate Planning?
Every adult should have an estate plan as soon as he or she owns property or even opens a bank account. Unexpected things do happen. However, there are also trigger events to begin the process of estate planning:
- opening a bank or brokerage account
- purchasing a home or real property
- starting a business
- marriage, divorce, and remarriage
- birth of a child
- birth of grandchildren
Estate planning includes more than just anticipating the distribution of assets. Estate planning also includes designation of a health care proxy, drafting a living will, appointment of a power of attorney, considering life insurance, and arranging for care in the event of disability.
Any estate plan needs to be reviewed and evaluated every 3-5 years as the tax laws and financial and personal circumstances might change.
Ancillary estates in Mississippi refer to additional probate proceedings that may be required when a person who owns property in Mississippi passes away but was a resident of another state. These estates are necessary to properly administer and distribute the deceased individual’s property located within Mississippi. The benefits of ancillary estates include ensuring that the property is handled in accordance with Mississippi laws, allowing for a clear and legal transfer of ownership. By going through the ancillary estate process, creditors, beneficiaries, and other interested parties have a structured framework to address any claims or disputes that may arise.
This process provides a level of transparency and protection for all parties involved and helps facilitate a smooth transfer of assets to the rightful beneficiaries. Seeking guidance from experienced probate attorneys is crucial to navigate the intricacies of ancillary estates in Mississippi and ensure compliance with the relevant legal requirements.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Estate Planning Lawyers and Probate Attorneys
At Rushing & Guice, comprehensive estate planning and asset protection counsel on the Gulf Coast are a phone call away. Call us at (228) 374-2313 or fill out our online form to arrange for a limited initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and look forward to the opportunity to serve as your attorneys.