What Documents Are Needed for Estate Planning?

Mississippi law has a variety of rules and regulations surrounding what happens to the assets and property of someone when they become incapacitated, or they die. Oftentimes, families don’t consider the ramifications of these items left in limbo and end up having to go through probate or other legal proceedings as a result.

A great way to avoid some of these financial and legal headaches is to take the time now to consider creating these essential estate documents that can help streamline your estate plans and make the process much easier for your family and loved ones.

Durable Power of Attorney (POA)

A Durable POA document identifies a person as an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” legally authorized to make decisions on behalf of the document’s creator. Typically, these documents signify a “health care” or “financial” POA. Health care POAs are often created or combined with a living will (more below) or advance directive that outlines the type of treatment the document’s creator would want to receive in the event of various medical incapacitations.

Living Will

It’s important to understand that a “living will” is different from a standard will. Your living will state your wishes regarding medical decisions and treatments if you are unable to make those decisions on your own (incapacitation due to a medical incident, for example). Mississippi Code states that an individual can create this document either orally or in writing, granted that it meets certain legal standards. A living will created with a POA must be done in writing, however.

In the case of oral wills, the state mandates that two witnesses must be present during the vocal creation of the will, and the document can’t be taken to probate court for at least two weeks following the death of the will’s creator. Additionally, the will must be made at least ten days prior to death (unless the creator is sick and dies before returning home).

Standard Will

This document details specific wishes about how the creator would pass on property and assets in the event of their death. A will is important as it legally binds succession and can help your estate avoid the lengthy and costly probate process.


With all of the potential life-altering situations out of our control, it makes sense to consider creating the legal documents to ensure that if something happens to you, there’s a plan in place to care for your needs and those of your family. The Law Offices of Rusty Williard is an expert in Mississippi estate planning and is here to help you. Call (601) 824-9797 to learn more.