At Gibson & Mullennix, we understand that time is of the essence in these types of cases, and that if you want to protect your rights you need to act quickly. The law only allows a short period of time to make a claim as an heir if there has been no paternity established.
Mississippi Code Annotated 91-1-15 states: An illegitimate shall inherit from and through the illegitimate’s natural father and his kindred, and the natural father of an illegitimate and his kindred shall inherit from and through the illegitimate according to the statutes of descent and distribution if:
- (a) The natural parents participated in a marriage ceremony before the birth of the child, even though the marriage was subsequently declared null and void or dissolved by a court; or
- (b) There has been an adjudication of paternity or legitimacy before the death of the intestate; or
- (c) There has been an adjudication of paternity after the death of the intestate, based upon clear and convincing evidence, in an heirship proceeding under Sections 91-1-27 and 91-1-29. However, no such claim of inheritance shall be recognized unless the action seeking an adjudication of paternity is filed within one (1) year after the death of the intestate or within ninety (90) days after the first publication of notice to creditors to present their claims, whichever is less; and such time period shall run notwithstanding the minority of a child. This one-year limitation shall be self-executing and may not be tolled for any reason, including lack of notice. If an administrator is appointed for the estate of the intestate and notice to creditors is given, then the limitation period shall be reduced to ninety (90) days after the first publication of notice, if less than one (1) year from the date of the intestate’s death; provided actual, written notice is given to all potential illegitimate heirs who could be located with reasonable diligence. No claim of inheritance based on an adjudication of paternity, after death of the intestate, by a court outside the State of Mississippi shall be recognized unless:
- (i) Such court was in the state of residence of the intestate at the time of the intestate’s death;
- (ii) The action adjudicating paternity was filed within ninety (90) days after the death of the intestate;
- (iii) All known heirs were made parties to the action; and
- (iv) Paternity or legitimacy was established by clear and convincing evidence.
Contact us at Gibson & Mullennix, PLLC to discuss your options and your rights today!