Making a Will in Wyoming

How to make a will in Wyoming and what can happen if you don't.

Steps to Create a Will in Wyoming

Here's a quick checklist for making a will in Wyoming:

  1. Decide what property to include in your will.
  2. Decide who will inherit your property.
  3. Choose an executor to handle your estate.
  4. Choose a guardian for your children.
  5. Choose someone to manage children's property.
  6. Make your will.
  7. Sign your will in front of witnesses.
  8. Store your will safely.

Why Should I Make a Wyoming Will?

A will, also called a "last will and testament," can help you protect your family and your property. You can use a will to:

  • leave your property to people or organizations
  • name a personal guardian to care for your minor children
  • name a trusted person to manage property you leave to minor children, and
  • name an executor, the person who makes sure that the terms of your will are carried out.

What Happens If I Don't Have a Will?

In Wyoming, if you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to state "intestacy" laws. Wyoming's intestacy law gives your property to your closest relatives, beginning with your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, your grandchildren or your parents will get your property. This list continues with increasingly distant relatives, including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. If the court exhausts this list to find that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, the state will take your property.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Wyoming?

No. You can make your own will in Wyoming, using Quicken WillMaker & Trust. However, you may want to consult a lawyer in some situations. For example, if you think that your will might be contested or if you want to disinherit your spouse, you should talk with an attorney. Nolo's will-making products tell you when it's wise to seek a lawyer's advice.

What Are the Requirements for Making and Signing a Will in Wyoming?

To make a will in Wyoming, you must be:

You must make your will on hard copy. That is, it must be on actual paper.Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-112. It cannot be on an audio, video, or any other digital file. (Although, see "Can I Make a Digital or Electronic Will?," below.) Type and print your will using a computer, or you can use a typewriter. Wyoming does permit handwritten wills (Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-113, but they are usually not a good idea.

To finalize your will in Wyoming:

  • you must sign or acknowledge your will in front of two witnesses, and
  • your witnesses must sign your will. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-101.

It's best to have "disinterested" witnesses who don't stand to inherit from you rather than "interested" witnesses who do, since interested witnesses can lose the gift you gave them. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-112.

Holographic wills in Wyoming do not need to be witnessed if you sign it and it is entirely in your handwriting. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-113,

Do I Need to Have My Will Notarized?

No, in Wyoming, you do not need to notarize your will to make it legal.

However, Wyoming allows you to make your will "self-proving" and you'll need to go to a notary if you want to do that. A self-proving will speeds up probate because the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who signed it. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-114,

To make your will self-proving, you and your witnesses will go to the notary and sign an affidavit that states who you are and that each of you knew you were signing the will.

Should My Will Name an Executor?

Yes. In Wyoming, you can use your will to name an executor who will ensure that the provisions in your will are carried out after your death. Quicken WillMaker & Trust produces a letter to your executor that generally explains what the job requires. If you don't name an executor, the probate court will appoint someone to take on the job of winding up your estate.

Can I Revoke or Change My Will?

In Wyoming, you may revoke or change your will at any time. You can revoke your will by:

  • burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying your will with the intent to revoke it
  • ordering someone else to burn, tear, cancel, obliterate, or destroy your will in front of you, or
  • making a new will that says it revokes the old one or has contradictory terms to the old will. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-117.

If you and your spouse divorce (or if a court determines that your marriage is not legal), Wyoming law revokes any language in your will that leaves property to your spouse or names your spouse to be your executor. This rule does not apply if you specifically state in your will that divorce should not affect the provisions in your will or if you happen to remarry your spouse. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-118. If you have any concerns about the effects of divorce on your will, see an estate planning attorney for help.

If you need to make changes to your will, it's best to revoke it and make a new one. However, if you have only very simple changes to make, you could add an amendment to your existing will – this is called a codicil. In either case, you will need to finalize your changes with the same formalities you used to make your original will (see above).

Can I Make a Digital or Electronic Will?

In a few states, you can make a legal will digitally – that is, you can make the will, sign it, and have it witnessed without ever printing it out. Although such electronic wills are currently available in only a minority of states, many other states are considering making electronic wills legal. It is generally assumed that most states will allow them in the near future.

Wyoming's remote notarization law specifically prohibits its use for estate planning documents. However, Wyoming law does recognize wills that were made in a valid manner in other states. Wyoming Statutes § 2-6-116.

Where Can I Find Wyoming's Laws About Making Wills?

You can find Georgia's laws about making wills here: Wyoming Statutes Title 2 Wills, Decedents' Estates and Probate Code Chapter 6 Wills.

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