Probate Shortcuts in Wyoming

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Wyoming.

Wyoming offers some probate shortcuts for "small estates." These procedures make it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using simplified probate procedures or without any probate court proceedings at all -- by using an affidavit. And that saves time, money, and hassle.

Here are the ways you can skip or speed up probate. (If the affidavit procedure is used, there's no need to use the simplified probate procedure.)

Claiming Property With a Simple (Small Estate) Affidavit

Wyoming has a procedure that allows inheritors to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than a certain amount. All an inheritor has to do is prepare a short document, stating that he or she is entitled to a certain asset. This document, signed under oath, is called an affidavit. When the person or institution holding the property -- for example, a bank where the deceased person had an account -- gets the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate, it releases the asset.

The out-of-court affidavit procedure is available in Wyoming if the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, is $200,000 or less. The affidavit must be filed with the county clerk. There is a 30-day waiting period. Wyo. Stat. § 2-1-201.

Simplified Probate Procedures

Wyoming has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

You can use the simplified small estate process in Wyoming if the value of the entire estate, including real estate and mineral interests, less liens and encumbrances, is $200,000 or less. There is a 30-day waiting period.

The request must include the following information:

  • the relationship between the inheritor and the deceased person
  • the legal reason why the inheritor is claiming a right to the property
  • a statement regarding whether any other inheritor has a right to the property, and
  • a full description regarding any real property or mineral interests the deceased person owned.

The inheritor must then:

  • obtain a sworn report with a broker’s price opinion about the value of any real property the deceased person owned
  • publish a notice of the request once a week for two weeks in a newspaper published in the county where the request was filed, and
  • mail a copy of the request to the surviving spouse, other inheritors, and any known creditors within ten days from the first publication date.

The newspaper publisher must sign an affidavit that it published the notice, and the inheritor gives this affidavit to the court.

If the deceased person received state medical assistance, inheritor must also give a copy of the request to the state department of health.

Wyo. Stat. § 2-1-205.

For More Information

For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor’s Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).

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