General DefinitionA decedent's intestate estate is defined as any part of the estate not effectively disposed of by a valid will. Whenever any person dies intestate, the estate will descend and be distributed in the person's heirs, subject to the payment of debts, in the manner provided under the Wyoming probate code. Sec. 2-4-101(a).
Order of DistributionThe intestate share of the surviving spouse not including any elective share is as follows:
- If the intestate leaves a husband or wife and children, or the descendants of any children surviving, 1/2 of the estate shall descend to the surviving husband or wife and the residue to the surviving children and descendants of children. Sec. 2-4-101(a)(i).
- If the intestate leaves husband or wife and no child nor descendants of any child, then the real and personal estate of the intestate shall descend and vest in the surviving husband or wife. Sec. 2-4-101(a)(ii).
The estate of any intestate not passing to the surviving spouse will descend in the following manner:
- If there is no surviving spouse, then to the intestate's surviving children, and the descendants of the children who are dead, the descendants collectively taking the share which their parents would have taken if living. Sec. 2-4-101(c)(i).
- If there are no children, nor their descendants, then to his father, mother, brothers and sisters, and to the descendants of brothers and sisters who are dead, the descendants collectively taking the share which their parents would have taken if living, in equal parts. Sec. 2-4-101(c)(ii).
- If there are no children nor their descendants, nor father, mother, brothers, sisters, nor descendants of deceased brothers and sisters, nor husband nor wife, living, then to the grandfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts and their descendants, the descendants taking collectively, the share of their immediate ancestors, in equal parts. Sec. 2-4-101(c)(iii).
- If there are no other takers, then to the State. Sec. 9-5-202.
Common Law or Community PropertyWyoming is a common law property state.
CapacityThe testator of a valid will must be at least 18 years of age, of sound mind and able to make a will and dispose of all of his property by will at the time of the drafting. Sec. 2-6-101.
DraftingEvery will shall be in writing signed by the testator or by another person in the testator's presence and by his or her express direction. In addition, the will must be witnessed by two competent witnesses. Sec. 2-6-112.
A holographic will is valid in Wyoming, whether or not witnessed, if it is entirely in the handwriting of the testator and signed by the hand of the testator. Sec. 2-6-113.
Any will may be simultaneously executed, attested and made self-proven, by the acknowledgment thereof by the testator and the affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state where execution occurs and evidenced by the officer?s certificate under official seal. Sec. 2-6-114.
BeneficiariesA beneficiary includes, in the case of a decedent's estate, an heir, legatee and devisee and, in the case of a trust, an income beneficiary and a remainder beneficiary. Sec. 2-3-802(a)(ii).
Where the title to property depends upon priority of death and there is no sufficient evidence that the persons have died otherwise than simultaneously, the property of each person shall be disposed of as if he had survived. Sec. 2-13-103.
ModificationsA will or any part thereof is revoked by a subsequent will which revokes the prior will or part expressly or by inconsistence or by being burned, torn, cancelled, obliterated or destroyed with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it by the testator or by another person in his presence and by his direction. Sec. 2-6-117(a).
If after executing a will the testator is divorced or his marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise. Treatment is made as if the former spouse failed to survive the decedent. Dispositions or appointments revoked by divorce may be revived by testator's remarriage to the former spouse. A decree of separation does not impact the will. Sec. 2-6-118.
Naming of Personal RepresentativeThe decedent has the right to name a personal representative of his or her estate through a validly constructed will.
Admission to ProbateThe executor named in a valid will must submit a petition to probate to the appropriate county probate court. Sec. 2-6-201.
Every person to whom letters testamentary or of administration are issued shall, before receiving them, must execute a bond to the state of Wyoming. Sec. 2-3-102.
If all personal representatives die or become incapable, or the authority of all of them is revoked, letters testamentary or letters of administration then shall be issued in the same manner by an appointed representative. The appointed representative will provide a bond give bond with same guarantees required and exercise the same authority as the named representative. Sec. 2-3-124.
NotificationsUpon the filing of a petition for probate of a will, the court or the clerk may hear the petition and begin the probate process. Notice is not required and there will be no delay made in the hearing, unless good cause appears. Sec. 2-6-203.
Homestead and the Elective ShareA surviving spouse is entitled to a homestead allowance, exempt property and family allowance whether or not he elects to take an elective share and whether or not he renounces the benefits conferred upon him by the will except that, if it clearly appears from the will that a provision therein made for the surviving spouse is intended to be in lieu of these rights, he is not so entitled if he does not renounce the provisions made for him in the will. Sec. 2-5-103.
When a married person dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to an elective share of the estate if the will deprives the surviving spouse of more than the elective share. The surviving spouse has a right to ½ of the decedent's property if there are no surviving issue of the decedent, or if the surviving spouse is also a parent of any of the surviving issue. The surviving spouse has a right to one-fourth of decedent's property, if the surviving spouse is not the parent of any surviving issue of the decedent. Sec. 2-5-101(a).
Debts and DistributionsPayment of the estate's debts and charges must be made in the following order:
- Court costs;
- Other costs of administration;
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses;
- Allowances payable under Secs. 2-7-503 and 2-7-504;
- All debts and taxes having preference under the laws of the United States;
- Reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending him at his last illness;
- All taxes having preferences under the laws of this state;
- All debts owing to employees for labor performed during the ninety (90) days next preceding the death of the decedent;
- All claims allowed under Sec. 2-7-707;
- All other claims allowed. Sec. 2-7-701.
If the estate is less than $200,000.00, the person or persons claiming to be the distributees of the decedent may file, not earlier than thirty (30) days after the decedent's death, an application for a decree for summary distribution in the district court of the county where the property is situated. Sec. 2-1-205.
Estate tax is imposed on the transfer of the "Wyoming gross estate" and equals the maximum federal tax credit. The "Wyoming gross estate" is defined as the federal gross estate minus any real or personal property located outside of Wyoming. Sec. 39-19-103(b). Because there is no current federal credit, there is no estate tax in Wyoming
Income Tax Charitable Deductions and/or Credits
No personal income tax in Wyoming.
Gift Annuity Requirements
Wyoming, a "silent" state, does not specifically address charitable gift annuities.