ADMINISTRATION OF AN INTESTATE ESTATE

August 18, 2010 § 9 Comments

[This outline is based on the 15th Chancery Court District Newsletter published by Chancellor Ed Patten]

Statutory order of preference for appointment of Administrator.  § 91-7-63, MCA.

  • Surviving spouse.
  • Next of kin, if not otherwise disqualified.
  • Other third party, bank or trust company.
  • If no application is made within 30 days of the decedent’s death, administration may be granted to a creditor or other suitable person.
  • If no application is made and the decedent left property in Mississippi, county administrator or sheriff may be appointed.  § 91-7-79 and -83, MCA.

Oath and Bond.

  • At the time that Letters of Administration are granted, the Administrator must take and subscribe the oath set out in § 91-7-41, MCA.
  • At the same time the Administrator must also post a bond in the full value of the personal estate unless al heirs are competent and consent to waive or reduce bond, or unless the Administrator is the sole heir.  § 91-7-67, MCA.

Notice to Creditors.

Administrator has the responsibility to provide notice to creditors in the order and form prescribed in § 91-7-145, MCA:

  • Adminisrator must make a reasonably diligent effort to identify creditors having a claim against the estate, and to mail them actual notice of the 90-day time period within which to file a claim.  
  • Administrator must file affidavit of known creditors and attest to having served actual notice on them. 
  • After the affidavit of known creditors has been filed, Administrator publishes notice to creditors in a local newspaper notifying them that they have 90 days within which to file a claim against the estate.  The notice must run three times, once per week for three consecutive weeks, and must include the name of the estate and the court file number.
  • Administrator must file proof of the newspaper publication with the court.
  • Publication may be waived by the court in small estates with a value not more than $500.

Inventory and Appraisal.

  • Unless excused by the court, the Administrator must complete and file inventory and appraisal within 90 days from the grant of Letters of Administration.  § 91-7-145, MCA.

Determination of Heirs.

  • An action to determine heirs must be brought before the estate may be closed.
  • Publication process to the unknown heirs of the decedent must be made.
  • Determination of heirship requires 30 days’ process and should be to a day certain so tha the unknown heirs may be called.

Interim Hearings.

  • Held as necessary to meet needs of the estate or to resolve interlocutory conflicts among the parties.
  • A hearing to determine heirs may be necessary if any previously-unknown heir appears and claims heirship and the claim is disputed by the other heirs.
  • A hearing to adjudicate whether to pay probated claims may be necessary if there is any dispute as to the validity or timeliness of the claims.

Petition to Close Estate and Discharge Administrator.

  • The attorney must file a cerificate that there are no probated claims, or that the probated claims have been satisfied.
  • Final account is filed with petition, unless excused by the court.
  • All parties in interest are summoned to a hearing on the final account and petition to close.  § 91-7-295, MCA.
  • If approved, the court enters judgment for final distribution of any property in the Administrator’s care.  § 91-7-297, MCA.
  • Upon court’s approval, the Administrator is allowed a reasonable fee for services and reimbursement of attorney’s fees.  § 91-7-299, MCA.  

BONDS IN ESTATES

June 22, 2010 § 2 Comments

[This information comes from the outline of a presentation made by Bob Williford to the Chancery Judges Spring Conference earlier this year.  Used with  his permission.]

Intestate Estates:

  • the Administrator is required to give a bond equal to the value of all of the personal estate.  § 91-7-67, MCA. 
  • Bond may be waived or reduced if (1) Administrator is the sole heir, or (2) all of the heirs are competent and agree in their sworn petition to waive or reduce bond, BUT
  • The court may nonetheless require a bond to protect the creditors if the court deems it necessary to protect their interests.  Smith by and through Young v. Estate of King, 501 So.2d 1120 (Miss. 1987).
  • At any time that the court deems the bond inadequate, the court may require the Administrator to give a new bond.  § 91-7-315, MCA.

Testate Estates:

  • The Executor is required to give bond in an amount equal to the full value of the estate.  § 91-7-41, MCA.
  • Executor who is also a residuary legatee may give bond conditioned to pay all debts and legacies of the testator within one year.  § 91-7-43, MCA.
  • If the testator in the will directs that the Executor not be required to give bond, then none is required unless the court or the clerk has a reason to require a bond.  § 91-7-45, MCA. 
  • Any creditor may petition the court to require the Executor to give a bond if the creditor believes that his or her claim is jeopardized due to bad management of the estate.  § 91-7-45, MCA. 
  • State or national banks domiciled in Mississippi are not required to give bond unless directed by the Will.  The court has discretion to waive the bond notwithstanding that the Will directs it.  § 81-5-35, MCA. 

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