When you sit down to draft a will, it might seem overwhelming at first. You might feel like you might do something wrong, invalidating your will. In the end, as long as you understand what your particular state requires to execute a valid will—it is a relatively straightforward process. Every state, including Wyoming, has its own legal stipulations for wills set forth in its state code; and while the process is similar in every state, there are differences that you need to know. The requirements of one state can be totally different from another state. As long as you follow the laws for your state, you can make a valid will. To make a will in Wyoming, be sure you fully understand the requirements; you also want to make sure you use an online will designed for the state.
Can I Make a Will Online in Wyoming?
Yes, you can make a will online in Wyoming. We recommend using an online will making service like USLegalWills to make your will.
The legal requirements to make a will in Wyoming are:
- The person making the will (the Testator) must be of legal age and of sound mind.
- The will must be in writing. If you make a will online, you must print it out. The state of Wyoming does not currently allow for digital-only (or electronic) wills at this time.
- You must sign (or acknowledge) your will in front of two competent witnesses,
- The witnesses then sign the will.
In Wyoming, state law will void any provisions left to a witness—unless the witness is an heir-at-law (someone who would inherit if the person did not have a will). To avoid legal complications, however, it is better to use two “disinterested” witnesses (witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the will).
Does Wyoming Require a Notarized Will?
When a will is presented in the probate court, it must be validated. While Wyoming does not require your will to be notarized to be legal, state law does allow you to “self-prove” your will. A will that is “self-proved” allows the court to quickly validate the will, which speeds up the probate process.
To make a will “self-proved” in Wyoming, you and your witnesses make a sworn statement in front of a notary public. These sworn statements (affidavits) are notarized and attached to the will. Once you attach the affidavits to your will, it is now considered “self-proved.”
Making an affidavit in front of a notary is the same as if you made a sworn statement before the court itself, meaning the court can accept the affidavit in lieu of witness testimony.
Can I Name an Executor in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, an executor can be named in an online will. The executor is the person designated to settle the estate and ensure that the will is followed after the Testator’s death. Naming an executor for your estate is a good idea (otherwise the court will appoint someone, which can cause delays in the probate process), and you want to choose someone you know and trust. You should pick someone who is honest, organized, and can keep track of details. Be sure the person you intend on naming as your executor is willing to accept the job.
Here are the requirements for an executor in Wyoming:
- The executor must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.
- The executor must be a U.S. resident and citizen.
As long as the person meets those requirements, unless there is clear evidence that they are incompetent or negligent, the court must appoint that person.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are some specific guidelines in Wyoming:
- An out-of-state executor must appoint an in-state resident to act as an agent to accept legal papers on behalf of your estate.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Wyoming?
You do not need an attorney to make a will. Of course, if you have a large estate or if you have a complex will, it is best to consult an estate planning attorney. Otherwise, if you have a straightforward will and a relatively simple estate, online will making is a good option.
You want to make sure you use an online will making service that has templates designed for your particular state. You also want to make sure you follow all the legal requirements to make a will in Wyoming. Otherwise, you risk your will not being valid.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Wyoming?
Any type of will which meets the federal and state-specific requirements is valid in Wyoming, whether the will is made online or not.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Wyoming?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament signed only by the Testator. Generally, holographic wills often face delays in the probate process. A holographic will must be proved authentic, which means that there have to be witnesses able to testify to the handwriting. Sometimes handwriting analysis experts will even be called to testify. There is also the issue that someone could try to forge a holographic will, so the process to validate a holographic will can be lengthy.
In Wyoming, a holographic will is valid if the will is entirely in the handwriting of the Testator and has their signature.
Holographic wills also face challenges because many people do not use clear enough language, forget important provisions, or have illegible handwriting. To avoid long legal delays, it is better to execute a properly written and witnessed will.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Wyoming?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, sometimes left in a video. In any state, a nuncupative will is considered an emergency or last resort type of will; if the individual is facing imminent death and has not drafted a written will, a nuncupative will is better than leaving no instructions at all. If time and health allow, a written, witnessed, and legally binding will is much better for avoiding legal delays when settling the estate.
Wyoming does not recognize nuncupative wills. For a will to be considered valid in Wyoming, it must be in writing. Oral wills do not satisfy that requirement. Any terms left in a nuncupative will in Wyoming will not be enforced by the court.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Wyoming?
A living will is also sometimes known as an advance directive; it is its own legally binding document that contains medical directives and end-of-life care desires. A living will and a last will and testament are two separate documents, both with different requirements to become legally binding. While medical decisions and end-of-life care instructions can only be effective if made in a living will, a last will and testament contains matters pertaining to your estate. You can’t leave medical directives in a last will and testament and vice versa, you can’t leave provisions for your estate in a living will. You can, however, make both a living will and a last will and testament online. For more information on living wills in Wyoming, you can go here.
The overall requirements for a living will in Wyoming are:
- It can only be made by an adult who is of sound mind (the declarant).
- It must be in writing, signed, and dated, in the presence of two adult witnesses.
- The witnesses cannot be related to the declarant.
- It is not effective during pregnancy.
- The terminal condition must be certified (in writing) by two physicians.
A living will only goes into effect under certain conditions; if you are able to communicate and make decisions for your health care, you are always free to do so.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Wyoming?
Dying without a will means that the intestacy laws of Wyoming will determine what happens to a person’s estate. In addition to that, the court will appoint a guardian for minor children and name an executor. After which, the estate will then be divided according to the intestacy distribution laws. There are various scenarios that the court considers while dividing the estate between surviving family members. If you are married, if you have children, if your parents have survived you, if you have siblings—the laws will determine how it is all divided. And if the court determines there are no surviving family members, the state can take ownership of your estate. It can be a lengthy process, often holding up your property in probate for months (or even years) at a time.
To avoid this, it is best to make a will in Wyoming. It is especially important to make a will if you have children (so you can make sure they are cared for in the event of your death). In order to distribute your estate in a particular way, you can only do so by making a will.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Wyoming?
You can include various provisions when you make a will, whether you do so online or otherwise. You can include the following when making a will in Wyoming:
- Guardians for minor children.
- A trusted person to oversee any property left to minor children.
- A trusted person to care for remaining pets.
- Distribution of family heirlooms.
- Distribution of personal items.
- Property or gifts left to specific people (family, friends), or to charities or organizations.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Wyoming?
A last will and testament is not the right place for designating end-of-life care or funeral instructions. Typically, a will is not read until after the funeral—when the process to settle the estate begins. If funeral instructions are left in the will, family members may not know about them until after the funeral. And any end-of-life care or medical decisions will not be considered legally binding if left in a last will and testament.
To designate end-of-life care, create a living will.
To leave your funeral directions, you can have a conversation about your wishes with family members. You do not have to make a formal document, but feel free to write something up that describes what you wish for your funeral arrangements. Your family can reference this when it comes time to plan the funeral, making it a bit easier. Be sure to give copies of this to the executor of your estate or other trusted people.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Wyoming?
A will is a legally binding document, whether it is made online or not. However, as long as the Testator is living, the will can be changed or revoked.
In order to change or revoke a will in Wyoming, you can:
- Revoke the will by destroying it physically with the intent to revoke it.
- Revoke the will by ordering someone else to physically destroy it in front of you.
- Make a new will that explicitly states it revokes the old one or includes contradictory terms.
With any major life change, it is a good idea to update your will. Any change in circumstance, whether that be in your family or financially, means you should revisit your will. Marriage, divorce; birth or adoption of a child; major changes in your assets; relocation—these are all times in which you should take a look at your will and determine if you should update it. If you have to make major changes, it is better to revoke your old will and make a new one. For only minor changes to a will, add an amendment called a codicil. A codicil must be finalized in the same way that the original will is finalized.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Wyoming?
After you make a will in Wyoming, you want to finalize it by taking these steps:
- If made online, print it out. The will must be in writing.
- Sign it in front of two witnesses, then
- Have your witnesses sign it in front of you.
To make a will “self-proved” in Wyoming, you and your witnesses make sworn statements in front of a notary public. Attach these notarized affidavits to your will.
Be sure to consider these special considerations in Wyoming:
- It is best to have two “disinterested” witnesses, otherwise a witness may lose any provisions left to them in the will.
- Wyoming offers a “small estate” option (for estates worth $200,000 or less). Property can be claimed through an affidavit (skipping the probate proceedings all together), or the executor can file a request to use a simplified small estate process.
USLegalWills is a leading provider of online wills. Their service has helped millions of people create a last will and testament over the last twenty years. We like that their services are easy to understand, reasonably priced, and produce an accurate document. You can also create a Living Will and other key end-of-life documents. It’s an affordable, accessible way to create an online last will and testament now. No more procrastinating. Get started with USLegalWills and leave your estate in order for your loved ones.