A Mississippi small estate affidavit is a legal statement used to obtain the property and financial assets of a deceased person without intervention from the court. Mississippi law states that a small estate affidavit is applicable when the total value of the decedent’s assets is $75,000 or less. Also, the form is suitable for the collection of personal property only and, therefore, cannot be used to obtain the decedent’s real estate.
While many states require the affidavit to be filed or recorded prior to asset collection, Mississippi has no such obligation. Instead, an heir simply needs to draft the document and present it to the custodian of the decedent’s property (e.g., financial institution, storage facility, landlord). The custodian will be legally obligated to transfer ownership of the asset to the heir.
How to Record (4 Steps)
- Step 1 – Small Estate Conditions
- Step 2 – Determine Successorship
- Step 3 – Prepare Affidavit
- Step 4 – Obtain Property
A small estate affidavit can be used to claim personal property left by the decedent so long as the estate satisfies the following statutory requirements (§ 91-7-322(1)):
- The decedent has been deceased for at least thirty (30) days.
- The total value of the decedent’s assets is not greater than $75,000, excluding all liens and encumbrances.
- A personal representative has not been designated by the court, and no application or petition for appointment is pending.
The person who drafts the affidavit, known as the “affiant,” must be a successor to the property they intend to collect. According to § 91-7-322(2), the order of successorship is as follows:
- The surviving spouse;
- If no surviving spouse, then the decedent’s children;
- If no surviving spouse or children, then the decedent’s grandchildren; or
- If no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, then either of the decedent’s parents or any sibling.
The affiant must complete the Affidavit of Small Estate and sign the form in the presence of a notary public. Once prepared, the affiant should attach to the document copies of the death certificate and, if applicable, the decedent’s last will and testament.
Note: If there are multiple successors, an affidavit must be signed and notarized by each additional individual.
To obtain assets in the estate, the affiant must present the affidavit to the person or entity who possesses the property or is indebted to the decedent. The asset holder will be required by § 91-7-322(1) to relinquish the property or make payment to the affiant.