The Wyoming Will Probate Law is contained in Title 2 – Wills, Decedents’ Estates and Probate Code. Here are the select provisions:
2-6-119. Duty of custodian to deliver will; failure to comply; order to third persons.
(a) Every custodian of a will, within ten (10) days after receipt of information that the maker thereof is dead, shall deliver the same to the clerk of the district court having jurisdiction of the estate or to the executor named therein. A failure to comply with the provisions of this section makes the person failing responsible for all damages sustained by anyone injured thereby.
(b) If it is brought to the attention of the court that any will is in the possession of a third person, and the court or the commissioner in vacation is satisfied that the information is correct, an order shall be issued and served upon the person having possession of the will, and if he neglects or refuses to produce it in obedience to the order he may be punished by the court for contempt.
2-6-120. Notification of executor; disposition where no petition filed.
Upon receipt of a will for filing, with information that the maker thereof is dead, the clerk shall notify the party, if any, named as executor of the will, and as many of the distributees named therein as may be readily located. If no action pursuant to W.S. 2-6-121, 2-6-122 or 2-6-201 is taken by any party within thirty (30) days after the giving of such notice, the clerk shall report the matter to the court and the court may make orders as it deems appropriate for the disposition of the will.
2-6-122. Petition and procedure for filing and probate of will without administration.
(a) Concurrently with the filing with the clerk of a will of a deceased person, or at any time thereafter prior to the filing of a petition pursuant to W.S. 2-6-201 and prior to the entry of any order by the court pursuant to W.S. 2-6-120 making other provisions for the disposition of the will, any party who would be entitled to letters testamentary under the provisions of W.S. 2-6-208 may file with the clerk a sworn petition for probate of will without administration. The petition shall show:
(i) The date and place of death of the decedent, and county and state of last residence of the decedent;
(ii) The names, ages and residences of the heirs and devisees of the decedent;
(iii) That a true copy of the will and a true copy of the petition have been mailed to each of the heirs and devisees; and
(iv) That the petition prays for probate of the will, without administration.
(b) A filing fee for the petition shall be charged, equal to the minimum fee applicable to proceedings under W.S. 2-6-203.
(c) Upon the filing of the petition, proceedings shall be had as provided in W.S. 2-6-203 through 2-6-206, and order shall issue and notices be given as provided in W.S. 2-6-209 if the will is found entitled to probate, except that the order shall not include the appointment of an executor, but recite that the will is admitted to probate without administration.
(d) After the entry of the order admitting the will to probate, the petitioner shall, at his own expense, cause to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a daily or weekly newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the probate was granted a notice in substantially the following form:
State of Wyoming ) In the District Court
) ….Judicial District
County of…. ) Probate No. ….
In the Matter of the ) Notice of Proof of
Estate of ) Will Without
……., Deceased. )
TO ALL PERSONS INTERESTED IN SAID ESTATE:
You are hereby notified that on the …. day of …., (year), the Last Will and Testament of Decedent was admitted to probate by the above named court and there will be no present administration of the estate. Any action to set aside the Will shall be filed in the Court within three (3) months from the date of the first publication of this notice, or thereafter be forever barred.
Dated …., (year).
PUBLISH: (once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks)
(e) The provisions of W.S. 2-6-301 through 2-6-306 apply to proceedings under this section.
(f) In the event administration of the estate is desired at any later date, any party designated in W.S. 2-6-208, in the order of preference set forth therein, may petition the court for the issuance of letters testamentary.
ARTICLE 2 – PROCEDURE FOR PROBATE
2-6-201. Contents of petition; defect in jurisdictional statement inconsequential.
(a) A petition for the probate of a will shall show:
(i) The jurisdictional facts;
(ii) Whether the person named as executor consents to act, or renounces his right to letters testamentary;
(iii) The names, ages and residences of the heirs and devisees of the decedent, so far as known to the petitioner;
(iv) The probable value and character of the property of the estate;
(v) The name of the person for whom letters testamentary are prayed.
(b) No defect of form or in the statement of jurisdictional facts actually existing shall make void the probate of a will.
2-6-202. Failure of executor to petition; appointment of administrator.
If the person named in a will as executor, for thirty (30) days after he has knowledge of the death of the testator and that he is named as executor, fails to petition the proper court for probate of the will and that letters testamentary be issued to him, he may be held to have renounced his right to letters and the court may appoint any other competent person administrator unless good cause for delay is shown.
2-6-203. Hearing upon petition; notice not required.
(a) Upon the filing of a petition for probate of a will, the court or the clerk may hear it forthwith or at such time and place as the court or clerk may direct, with or without requiring notice, and upon proof of due execution of the will, admit the same to probate.
(b) Notice is not required and there shall be no delay in the hearing, unless good cause appears.
2-6-204. Proof; self-proving will.
A will executed in compliance with W.S. 2-6-114 shall be probated without further proof.
2-6-205. Proof; wills not self-proving.
(a) If the will is not self-proving, proof of a will may be made by the oral or written testimony of one or more of the subscribing witnesses to the will. If the testimony is in writing, it shall be substantially in the following form, executed and sworn to contemporaneously with the execution of the will or at any time thereafter, whether before or after the date of death of the testator:
In the District Court of Wyoming
In and for ……………….. County
In the Matter of the Estate of) Probate No. ….
…. Deceased ) Testimony of Subscribing
State of …. )ss Witness on Probate of Will
…. County )
I, …., being first duly sworn, state:
I reside in the County of …., State of ….; I knew the testator on the … day of …, (year), the date of the instrument, the original or exact reproduction of which is attached hereto, now shown to me, and purporting to be the last will and testament of the said ….; I am one of the subscribing witnesses to said instrument; and on the said date of said instrument, I knew …., the other subscribing witness; and said instrument was exhibited to me and to the other subscribing witness by the testator, who declared the same to be his last will and testament, and was signed by the testator at …., in the County of …., State of …., on the date shown in said instrument, in the presence of myself and the other subscribing witness; and the other subscribing witness and I then and there, at the request of the testator, in the presence of said testator and in the presence of each other, subscribed our names thereto as witnesses.
Name of witness ….
Subscribed and sworn to before me this …. day of…., (year).
Notary Public in and for ….
County of ….
State of ….
(b) If it is desired to prove the execution of the will by deposition rather than by use of the affidavit form provided in subsection (a) of this section, upon application the clerk shall issue a commission to some officer authorized by the law of this state to take depositions, with the will annexed, and the officer taking the deposition shall exhibit it to the witness for identification, and, when identified by him, shall mark it as “Exhibit ….” and cause the witness to connect his identification with it as such exhibit. Before sending out the commission the clerk shall make and retain in his office a true copy of the will.
(c) If all of the witnesses are deceased or otherwise not available, it is permissible to prove the will by the sworn testimony of two (2) credible disinterested witnesses that the signature to the will is in the handwriting of the person whose will it purports to be, and that the signatures of the witnesses are in the handwriting of the witnesses, or it may be proved by other sufficient evidence of the execution of the will.
2-6-209. Order admitting or disallowing probate; mailing of copies.
The court or the clerk shall enter an order either admitting the will to probate or disallowing probate because of insufficient proof. An order admitting a will to probate shall include the appointment of an executor. The clerk, personal representative or attorney shall transmit by certified mail a copy of the order admitting the will to probate, together with a copy of the will, to each named beneficiary and to each heir of the decedent.
The Wyoming Will Probate Law can be difficult to interpret and perplexing for lay persons who are not familiar with reading legislation. If you need help with probating a Wyoming Will, seek the advices of a qualified attorney or contact your local county probate court.