Money is Personal

August 21, 2018 § 2 Comments

MCA 91-7-1 states that a will may me probated, and letters testamentary issued, in the county where:

  1. The testator or decedent had a fixed place of residence; or
  2. If she had no fixed place of residence and land is devised under the will, then in the county where the land, or some part of it, is located; or
  3. If the testator had no fixed place of residence and only personal property is disposed of in the will, then in the county where the testator dies, or where some part of the property may be.

A lawyer talked with me about a problem he ran into with 3, above. In his case, the decedent was a resident of another state, but had money on deposit in Mississippi. The lawyer attempted an ancillary probate to get the money for the beneficiaries, but the chancellor would not admit the will to probate in the county of the deposit because the judge was not satisfied that the funds met the definition of personal property within the meaning of the statute.

MCA § 1-3-41, defines personal property as follows:

The term “personal property,” when used in any statute, shall include goods, chattels, effects, evidences of rights of action, and all written instruments by which any pecuniary obligation, or any right, title, or interest in any real or personal estate, shall be created, acknowledged, transferred, incurred, defeated, discharged, or diminished.

All that, but no direct mention of cash, deposits, or funds.

The Mississippi Legislature cured the problem with SB 2508, effective July 1, 2018, which clarified the statute’s definition to embrace “all tangible and intangible personal property” and “cash, deposit accounts, and promissory notes.”

That should take care of that.

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