Everything You Need to Know About the Last Will and Testament in Wyoming
A last will and testament refers to the legal instrument that communicates your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of your loved ones after your demise. It is an integral part of estate planning.
Even though most of us find excuses to avoid discussions about death, this is subject we should learn to talk about, perhaps with a little more empathy. And while at it, we must speak about creating wills. Regardless of the size of your estate, having a will dictates who inherits what and the best part is that no one will question your decisions, especially if you make the distribution as fair as possible.
How do you get started?
While you may require legal help to resolve complex issues like keeping assets in the family or property division after divorce and remarrying, as well as dealing with blended families, you might want to get started with a free Wyoming last will and testament form downloadable online at no cost. The form has leading sections which ensure that by the time you are signing the will, it has everything required for the validity of the will.
As you get ready to fill out the form, know that you must meet the statutory requirements highlighted in code section 2-6-101, et. Seq. Under the laws, the creator of the will is called a testator, and he or she must be an adult or of legal age. At the time of the will’s creation, the testator must be of sound mind, and they must act out of their own volition. At the same time, there should be 2 or more disinterested (not beneficiaries) adults as witnesses to the signing of the will and the witnesses must sign the will.
If for any reason, the testator is unable to sign the will, they should ask someone else to sign the will for them; in their presence and as per their explicit directions. There should be witnesses to attest to the signing of the will.
The last will and testament must be in writing. However, you should note that the state of Wyoming recognizes holographic or entirely handwritten wills in special circumstances and witnesses are not required.
In the will, the testator has to name his or her beneficiaries. Also, a testator must appoint a personal representative or an executor whose main roles are to manage the estate and to distribute the assets as per the requirements of the testator.
The other significant role of the testator is to file the will with the probate court where it will be validated.
The probate refers to the court-supervised process for asset distribution. There are two options for asset distribution when dealing with estates worth less than $200,000. The first option involves claiming of property via a signed affidavit. The use of the affidavit will skip the need for the probate proceedings. The second option involves filing a written request with the court to get a simplified asset distribution process.
What are the uses of the last will?
In many ways, the last will dictates how you’d like your children taken care of. First, it prevents the court from appointing a guardian for your children. The last will lets you name a guardian for your children, and the appointed guardian will be someone you trust to give your kids the best care. However, you should consider asking that person if they are willing to take on that role – you do not want to assume that someone would be willing to take care of your kids yet they are not willing to.
You could also appoint a guardian for your kids’ estate, and you should talk to them about the role too.
To be on the safe side, we recommend naming an alternate guardian. You also need to consider the health and the age of the person you have in mind.
Naming an executor
As mentioned above, the executor files the will with the probate court, manages the estate, and distribute your assets. So, choose someone you trust to act with integrity and with your best interests at heart.
The beauty of the last will is that it lets you name the person you want to inherit your estate and run the show upon your demise.
Creation of trusts
You can use the last will to create irrevocable testamentary trusts. These trusts vary in what they do from asset protection and asset accumulation to pet care and keeping assets in the family.
Addressing areas of contention
Using a complex will, you can easily address the issue of asset distribution in a blended family setting or after your second marriage.
With the help of an executor, you get to decide who gets what portion of your estate. You also need the will to set in motion business succession plans.
Join tenancy properties, life insurance or retirement account proceeds, and elective shares of the spouse are exempted from distribution.
What happens if you don’t create a will in Wyoming?
The state will invoke the intestacy laws which make your estate intestate. Under these laws, your surviving spouse will inherit your entire estate unless you have kids with the spouse where your estate is divided in half.
Without kids, spouse or parents, your sibling, and grandparents inherit your estate.
Changing your will
You need a codicil to change the will: the amendment should be done in the same manner as with the original will.
Revoking the will
You can revoke the powers of your will by executing a subsequent last will or intentionally destroying (burning, obliteration, canceling, or tearing) it.
Are you ready to create a will? Well, whether you live in Jackson, Cody, Cheyenne, Laramie, Casper or any other city in Wyoming, you could use our last will and testament forms available online at no cost.