In the event that the value of the Estate of a Decedent located in Wyoming does not exceed $200,000, the Estate may be subject to an abbreviated estate administration process. The availability of this process is dependent upon a number of factors and the type of assets owned by the Estate.
In the event that the Estate of the Decedent does not exceed $200,000 and consists of solely personal property, the Estate may be subject to distribution through an Affidavit of Distribution. Personal property is generally defined as property other than real estate. The Affidavit of Distribution is a sworn statement made by the beneficiaries, or on behalf of the beneficiaries, setting forth the information prescribed in Wyoming Statute Section 2-1-201 below. The Affidavit is recorded in the County Clerk’s Office, typically in the county where the Decedent was a resident, and upon recording, the beneficiary can present the recorded Affidavit to the appropriate bank, party, or agency holding the property, to have the property transferred to the beneficiary.
In the event the Estate of the Decedent does not exceed $200,000, and consists of both personal property and real property (real estate), the Estate of the Decedent may be subject to a summary procedure for distribution by filing an Application for Decree of Distribution in Wyoming District Court, and complying with the provisions of Wyoming Statute Section 2-1-205 below.
In the event the value of the Estate of the Decedent subject to administration exceeds $200,000, then the Estate may need to be administered through a formal probate administration process. Please note that certain assets with a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance and retirement accounts, assets held in trust, or assets that pass pursuant to right of survivorship or a transfer/payable on death designation, are typically not added into the $200,000 calculation. For example, if the Decedent had an IRA with a value of $350,000, which named a child as the beneficiary, the IRA would not be counted against the $200,000 value, and the remainder of Decedent’s estate may still qualify for the summary distribution process.
Below are links to a sample Affidavit of Distribution and Instructions for completing the Affidavit:
Wyoming Statute Section 2-1-201. Payment of indebtedness and delivery of tangible personal property or instruments evidencing debt.
(a) Not earlier than thirty (30) days after the death of a decedent, any person indebted to the decedent or having possession of tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock or chose in action belonging to the decedent shall make payment of the indebtedness or deliver the tangible personal property or the instrument evidencing the debt, obligation, stock or chose in action to the person or persons claiming to be the distributees of the property, upon being presented an affidavit, filed as provided by subsection (c) of this section, made by or on behalf of the distributee stating:
(i) The value of the entire estate, located in Wyoming or otherwise subject to probate administration in this state, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000.00);
(ii) Thirty (30) days have elapsed since the death of the decedent;
(iii) No application for appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction in this state; and
(iv) The claiming distributees are entitled to payment or delivery of the property; the facts concerning the distributees’ relationship to the decedent, and there are no other distributees of the decedent having a right to succeed to the property under probate proceedings.
(b) The transfer agent for any security shall change the registered ownership on the books of a corporation from the decedent to the distributee or distributees upon presentation of an affidavit as provided in subsections (a) and (c) of this section.
(c) When filed with the county clerk and a certified copy is presented to a party with custody of assets the affidavit shall be honored and have the same effects as provided for in subsections (a), (b) and (d) of this section and W.S. 2-1-202. The county clerk of the county in which any vehicle is registered shall transfer title of the vehicle from the decedent to the distributee or distributees upon presentation of an affidavit as provided in subsection (a) of this section.
(d) Upon presentation of an affidavit as provided in subsections (a) and (c) of this section, any bank, savings and loan institution, credit union or any other like depository shall pay any deposit in the sole name of the decedent, together with the interest and dividends thereon, to the distributee or distributees. A receipt for the payment by the distributee paid is a valid and sufficient release and discharge for the payment made.
Wyoming Statute Section 2-1-205. Summary procedure for distribution of personal or real property; application for decree; notice by publication; presumptive evidence of title; effect of false statements.
(a) If any person dies who is the owner of personal or real property, including mineral interests, but whose entire estate including personal property does not exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($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 in the district court of the county where the property is situated.
(b) The application shall be sworn to and signed by each person claiming and shall state the facts required by W.S. 2-1-201(a)(i) through (iv). The application shall also fully describe any real property being claimed. The application shall have attached thereto a sworn report of appraisal, made by a person who has no legal interest in the estate, showing the value on the date of the decedent’s death of all interests owned by the decedent in real property, including mineral interests.
(c) After publication of the notice of application once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, or otherwise as the court may order, the court shall consider the application. If the decedent received medical assistance pursuant to W.S. 42-4-101 through 42-4-114, the state department of health shall be provided a copy of the application for a decree within five (5) days of its filing. If it appears that the facts stated in the application are not in dispute, the court shall enter a decree establishing the right and title to the property. A certified copy of the decree shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk and thereafter the decree and the record thereof shall be presumptive evidence of title to the property.
(d) In the event that the decree is entered as the result of a petition containing false statements, title to the property which passes as a result of the decree shall not be affected but the person or persons signing and swearing to the application shall be subject to the appropriate penalties for perjury.
(e) The procedure provided by this section may be used in addition to the affidavit procedure provided by W.S. 2-1-201, or in the alternative, if the person or persons claim both real property and personal property.