Do the heirs have to abide by a living Will?

My grand father left a living Will that was filed and the estate was closed in 1984 in Mississippi. The Will stated that the land is to be passed down from generation to generation and we all are to share and share alike. So my mother and her sister are now deceased and in the Will it was passed down to my mothers children. As landowners, do the heirs have to abide by my grandfather’s Will or can we sell to an outside person? If someone wants to sell Timber, dirt, etc. on the land, do we have to split the monetary?

Asked on November 1, 2017 under Estate Planning, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the land went in directly and entirely to your mother and her sister, so they simply inherited and owned it, if it is now similarly going from them to you and your siblings, then the owners are free to sell it or do anything else they want with it. Person A's will does not bind person B from doing what he or she wants with his or her property, including property inherited from A. There are legal ways that your grandfather could have used to make sure the property was never sold, such as putting into a trust which would own it and let descendents live on, use (e.g. farm) etc. the land without the right to sell it; but if he did not use those means and simply left the land to his two daughters, then it became their land to do what they want with; and when they passed, if they simply leave it to their heirs, those heirs can do as they wish. Your grandfather's wishes are just wishes--his family may choose to follow them, but are not obligated to do so.

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