How Probate Laws Work in Wyoming

If your loved one recently died, you are likely still in the grieving process. However, some obligations for the decedent can’t be delayed and must be handled. If they had an estate, it must be maintained and prepared for probate.

Probate is the legal process of distributing the estate to the heirs. This is a complex process that includes paying any debts and other steps to ensure the decedent’s will is followed. If you’re involved in the estate in any way, it can be helpful to know the basics about probate in Wyoming.

Is Probate Required in Wyoming?

The short answer to this question is “yes.” Probate is required in Wyoming unless the estate meets the exception. Most estates will need to follow this process for the assets to be distributed to the heirs.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Wyoming?

Even though probate is required in Wyoming, some estates may fit the exception. To avoid probate, the estate must be placed in a living trust with a named beneficiary. The trust is separate from the person who owned the estate and is now the trustee. The persons named as beneficiaries of the trust will receive the estate after the person dies.

While the entire estate may not be able to avoid probate, some assets may not have to be included if they have been handled the correct way. Assets, such as life insurance policies and investments, can be kept out of probate if there is a named beneficiary. Bank accounts with someone listed as payable on death won’t need to be listed as probate property. These accounts will automatically go to the named beneficiary when a copy of the death certificate is presented.

Assets which are jointly owned will go to the surviving owner. This can include real estate as well as other assets.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Wyoming be Compensated?

An executor of an estate can receive compensation for the time they spend working on the estate. They may also be paid for any expenses they must pay out of pocket that are required for the estate.

How Much Does an Executor in Wyoming Get Paid?

In Title 2 of the Wyoming statutes, 2-7-803, the statute states that the court may determine the amount of compensation for “ordinary services rendered to the estate.” The fees are computed based on the value of the estate with the first $1000 paid at 10 percent. The next $4000 paid at 5 percent. All additional sums at 2 percent. The amount may be higher if the work done by the personal representative could be considered extraordinary.

How Long Does Probate Take in Wyoming?

The time for probate may vary widely, depending on the size of the estate and other factors. The executor must publish notice and notify heirs of the death of the person. Creditors are given some time to submit claims, which means probate must stay open until this process has been completed. If there are heirs or others who contest the will or if other delays come up, the process can take much longer. Expect it to take at least 6-9 months, but more likely a year. Complex probate cases may not be resolved for several years.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Wyoming?

While most estates will need to go through probate in Wyoming, the state does allow for simplified procedures to make the process go faster. If an estate is valued at $200,000 or less, the estate may be dispersed with an affidavit, which is filed with the county clerk.

Another option is a simplified version of probate where notice must be published and mailed to the inheritors. Even though the person requesting a simplified version of probate must still complete some of the basic tasks, there isn’t as much oversight from the court. The process doesn’t take as long as with formal probate.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Wyoming?

A will needs to be filed with the county court when a person dies. It will be filed in the county where the decedent lived up to their death. Even if there is no estate to go through probate, the will should still be filed. The court has the job of determining its validity if someone contests.

Settling an Estate in Wyoming

Settling an estate can take several months no matter what state the decedent lived in. All states follow similar guidelines, but each one has its own statutes regarding probate.

Complications can arise at any point in the probate process. It’s a good idea to talk to a probate attorney if you have questions even though Wyoming doesn’t require an attorney for the process.

How Long Do You Have to File After a Death in Wyoming?

According to the state statute, Chapter 6, Article 2-6-202, the person named as executor in the will must file for probate within 30 days of the person’s death. The court may appoint someone else to act as executor in this case.

Probate Court in Wyoming

The district courts in Wyoming handle matters of probate. There are 24 district judges who travel to the county seats in their districts to hear cases. You can find the location of the court for the area where the decedent lived on the website of the Wyoming Judicial Branch District Court Locations – Wyoming Judicial Branch (state.wy.us).

Probate Code in Wyoming

Probate is governed by the Title 2 statute in Wyoming. You can read the statute online at the State of Wyoming 66th Legislature website Legislature of the State of Wyoming (wyoleg.gov).

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