Pop culture references to wills are often dramatic affairs. When wills are encountered in books, movies, or on TV, the circumstances usually seem ominous. But exactly how do wills work?
Put simply, a will is a person’s plan for what happens with his or her property after they die. Of course, none of us want to think about dying ourselves or losing a loved one. But it’s always better to have a plan in place when the inevitable happens. And the Cowboy State has regulations on the way a will can be created, who can create one, and what it can cover. This is a brief summary of wills laws in Wyoming.
A person's will could dictate anything from how the family business should be run to who gets a prized automobile. Wyoming’s will statutes are generally similar to will laws in other states in most respects. In addition, Wyoming law does not recognize oral, or non-written, wills.
Wills Laws in Wyoming
Wills statutes in Wyoming are highlighted in the chart below.
|2-6-101, et. seq.
|Age of Testator
|Any person of legal age and sound mind
|Number of Witnesses
|Two competent witnesses and signed by testator or by some person in his presence and by his express direction.
|Nuncupative (Oral Wills)
|Valid if entirely written and signed in hand of testator himself; need not be witnessed.
The terminology used in Wyoming estate planning laws can sound like inscrutable legalese, so the laws can seem confusing when first encountering them. So for clarification:
- The “testator” is the person whose after-death wishes are specified in the will;
- A “nuncupative” or oral will is one that is spoken or otherwise unwritten, and are not legally binding in Wyoming; and
- A “holographic” will is a handwritten testament, which is only valid if it is executed by a U.S. Armed Forces serviceperson outside the country and only remains valid for one year.
Wyoming Wills Laws: Related Resources
Trying to determine what happens to a person’s possessions after he or she passes away is serious, and creating a will, especially one that accomplishes everything the person intended, can be a daunting task. If you'd like to learn more about wills, you can visit FindLaw’s Wills section for more articles and resources on creating and changing a will. If you would like legal assistance in creating or interpreting a will, you can contact a Wyoming wills attorney.