July 5, 2011 § 6 Comments

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  • You could certainly be correct. But where “A” dies and leaves 9 known heirs ( a spouse and 8 adult children, and subsequently one of those children dies, “B,” divorced and unremarried in the same county leaving only one adult child “C”), and all nine agree to join in a single petition to adjudicate the heirs of “A” and “B,” and process is published for the unknown heirs of “A” and the unknown heirs of “B,” and the land is in that same county, then it seems that a single action might be possible and comport with due process. The summons would simply be addressed as mentioned (i.e. to the unknown heirs of “A” and the unknown heirs of “B”) and fully describe that the petition is to determine the heirs of “A” and the heirs of “B,” giving the names of the 9 living petitioners and names of “A’s” 9 known heirs (who survived him) and the name of “B’s” one known heir (who survived him). Afterall, it seems we often do the same thing conceptually in a complaint to confirm title, where title is deraigned, the known heirs of multiple deceased persons in the chain are mentioned, and their unknown heirs are made defendants by publication of process in one action where the land is located, without multiple heirship adjudication actions in other counties or states.

  • In adjudicating heirs of a decedent in an intestate estate, is it permissible to also request an adjudication in the same petition of the identities of heirs of any known heirs who survived the original decedent, then subsequently died before the administration of the decedent’s estate was even begun (or completed)? Such a process of multiple adjudications in one hearing (after proper publication of process) would seem permissible for reasons of judicial economy and since the court has the obligation to do complete equity in one proceeding, rather than having multiple separate adjudications where several heirs have survived the decedent then died themselves, after having established a right to inherit. If such multiple adjudications are allowable in one proceeding, what if one or more of the heirs (who survived the decedent, then died) were not residents of the same county as the decedent, or were nonresidents of Mississippi at the time of their deaths? Would those facts deprive the court of the jurisdiction to hear all adjudications at one hearing in the court where the original decedent’s heirship adjudication is taking place after proper publication of process? In such a case, where some heirs survived the decedent, then subsequently died intestate themselves, such multiple adjudications are necessary in some forum (preferably in one court, it would seem) before the administrator would be able to properly disburse monies to the correct heirs. Would the fact that the original decedent died intestate while owning land in the county where his estate is being administered, give the court jurisdiction to adjudicate the heirs of heirs (who had survived the decedent then subsequently died) even if those heirs had survived the decedent and then died while residents of another county or another state. Or must one get separate adjudications in the other counties or in other states, where those heirs of heirs resided at the time of their deaths? This is a recurring question that is often encountered.

    • Larry says:

      Interesting question. It just seems to me, sitting here at home on a Saturday, that trying to do so much in one action is fraught with problems. How would a illegitimate know to assert a clam of heirship from B when you are probating the estate of A? Before you publish you must make diligent inquiry for identities and addresses of the various heirs, and any residents o Mississippi would not be amenable to process by publication. Also, due process would require that you identify and name everyone you can. Most lawyers in my experience open separate estates to provide a conduit for inheritance and to allow claims of heirship to be dealt with in each case on its own. That seems to me to be the safest way to go, and the way that would properly seal off future litigation. All of this is off the top of my head, though. I don’t have any authority for this.

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