State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title2 > Chapter2





2-2-101. Exclusive jurisdiction conferred on district courts.


Thedistrict courts of the state have exclusive original jurisdiction of allmatters relating to the probate and contest of wills and testaments, thegranting of letters testamentary and of administration, and the settlement anddistribution of decedents' estates. The court granting the letters hasexclusive jurisdiction of all matters touching the settlement and distributionof the estates for which letters have been granted. The jurisdiction oversubject matter of the district court sitting in probate, sometimes referred toin this Title 2 as the "probate court", is coextensive with thejurisdiction over subject matter of the district court in any civil action. Adecree of distribution entered by the district court in probate, pursuant toW.S. 2-7-807 or 2-7-813, shall be a final determination of title as to assetsdescribed therein, as to all distributees served with notice, or who havewaived notice, of the hearing provided for in W.S. 2-7-807 or 2-7-811, as the casemay be. As to all other parties, an action may be brought and maintained atany time prior to the entry of final decree of distribution under W.S. 2-7-813,by or against the personal representative in the district court, sitting inprobate, seeking any legal or equitable remedy as to any interest in property,real or personal, in which the estate asserts or claims any interest. Inaddition, all causes cognizable in the district court in any civil action maybe brought and maintained, at any time prior to the entry of final decree ofdistribution under W.S. 2-7-813, by or against a personal representative in thedistrict court sitting in probate which granted the letters to the personalrepresentative.


2-2-102. Venue generally.


(a) Wills shall be proved and letters testamentary or ofadministration granted:


(i) In the county of which the decedent was a resident at thetime of his death, regardless of where he may have died;


(ii) In the county in which the decedent died, leaving estatetherein, if the decedent was not a resident of the state at the time of hisdeath;


(iii) In the county in which any part of the estate may be, ifthe decedent died out of the state and was not resident thereof at the time ofhis death;


(iv) In the county in which any part of the estate may be, ifthe decedent was not a resident of the state and did not leave estate in thecounty in which he died;


(v) In all other cases, in the county in which the decedentdied, and application for letters is made.


2-2-103. Jurisdiction of estate of nonresident.


Whenthe estate of the decedent is in more than one (1) county, the decedent havingdied out of the state and not being a resident thereof at the time of hisdeath, or being a nonresident and dying within the state but not leaving estatein the county where he died, the district court of that county in whichapplication is first made for letters testamentary or of administration hasexclusive jurisdiction of the settlement of the estate.


2-2-104. Court open in vacation period.


Forthe purpose of granting probate of wills, issuing letters testamentary and ofadministration, filing reports, accounts and petitions of personalrepresentatives, filing claims against the estate and issuing process andnotices required by the Probate Code, the court shall be kept open in thevacation period, and the business pertaining thereto done by the courtcommissioner and the clerk, shall be subject to the supervision of the court atthe next ensuing term.


2-2-105. Orders in vacation to be written, filed and recorded.


Thejudges of the district courts within their respective jurisdictions and thecourt commissioners within the counties in which they are appointed, may makeorders in vacation for the sale of personal property at public or privatevendue, for the compounding of debts, for the settlement of an estate asinsolvent, for the approval of bonds and all other orders of an ex parte natureas may facilitate the settlement of estates. The orders shall be in writing,signed by the judge or commissioner issuing the same, and shall be filed andrecorded as a vacation entry in the proper record.


2-2-106. Powers and duties of court commissioners; generally.


Thecourt commissioner of each district court shall, upon the order of the court invacation, or upon a general order made for that purpose, examine the bondsfiled by the personal representatives, with a view to ascertaining theirsufficiency, and may approve the same. He may examine any inventory, sale bill,account current, except final accounts and vouchers filed therewith, or examineinto the condition of an estate generally.


2-2-107. Powers and duties of court commissioners; compellingattendance of witnesses; process.


Inorder to make such examination, the court commissioner is entitled to processto compel the personal representative and other witnesses to appear and testifybefore him on the hearing, and for the production of books, papers, monies orother things pertinent to the matter to be heard.


2-2-108. Powers and duties of court commissioners; compellingattendance of witnesses; failure to appear or testify.


Anyperson refusing to appear or testify in vacation, may be cited for contempt andheld to bail to answer to the alleged contempt at the next term of court. Thecommissioner shall report his findings upon the matter in writing, to the courtfor its action. Exception may be filed to the report which shall be heard anddetermined as in other cases.


2-2-109. Authority of other judges to act when district judge sick.


Wheneverany judge of the district court is absent from the state, sick or otherwiseunable to attend to the duties of his office, any other district judge may,upon application, examine into all matters, make all orders, and direct the affairsof the administration of estates that are required to be performed by judges invacation, and shall have the same powers as the original judge would have.


2-2-110. When judge disqualified; exception.


Whenthe judge before whom probate matters are brought is interested as next of kinto the decedent, or as the legatee or devisee under the will, or has any otherinterest in the outcome of, or concerning the matters brought before him, heshall call in some other district judge to hear and determine all such matters.Being a witness to a will does not itself disqualify a district judge, afterthe will has been probated, from hearing any matters concerning the will or theestate being probated except matters relating to the admission of the will to probateand contests thereon, and the granting of letters testamentary or ofadministration thereunder.


2-2-111. Presumption after ten years notices properly given.


Inany estate, wherein a decree of final settlement and distribution is or hasbeen entered by any court of this state it shall, after ten (10) years from thedate of the decree, be conclusively presumed that all notices required by lawhave been made and for the times and in the manner required by law.




2-2-201. Records required to be kept; probate docket; reports to bemade by commissioner.


(a) The clerk of district court in each county shall keep abook for the recording of wills and probate containing:


(i) Proceedings of the guardianship of infants and incompetentpersons;


(ii) All letters testamentary and of administration;


(iii) All inventories and records of sales of personal estate;


(iv) A general entry, claim and allowance docket.


(b) A separate set of books shall be kept for each decedent'sestate recording all proceedings concerning the probate of each will, andshowing the entry of the inventory appraisement and all claims allowed,including costs of the final distribution of the estate, and showing the finalsettlement of the estate.


(c) The clerk of court shall prepare for the use of the courtat each term a probate docket containing:


(i) All appointments made in vacation;


(ii) All pending petitions for the sale of real estate,including the parties thereto;


(iii) All pending petitions for the release of sureties;


(iv) All pending petitions for the removal of personalrepresentatives.


(d) The court commissioner is bound to furnish:


(i) The record of all reports and accounts filed in vacation;


(ii) All claims against the estate pending for trial at eachterm of court;


(iii) All delinquencies of personal representatives to dischargeany duty in the manner or within the time required by law or order of thecourt.


2-2-202. Preparation and contents of probate docket; distribution ofcopies; call of docket.


(a) Not less than ten (10) days before thefirst day of the term of the district court the clerk of the district court ineach county of the state shall make a docket of all estates of deceased personspending in his county which shall include:


(i) Title of the estate;


(ii) Date of letters testamentary or letters of administration;


(iii) Name or names of the executors or administrators; and


(iv) The names of the attorneys of record.


(b) As soon as the docket is made, one (1) copy shall befurnished to the judge of the district court of his county and one (1) copyshall be furnished upon request to each attorney of record in the estates.


(c) The judge of the district court in each county shall, uponthe call of the docket after the first day of a regular term of court, read theprobate docket in open court and shall make an order in each estate as he deemsnecessary to expedite the progress and closing thereof.


2-2-203. Authority to approve bonds.


Allbonds required by this act may be approved by the clerk of the district courtwherein they are required to be filed.




2-2-301. Contents of orders and decrees; recording.


Ordersand decrees of the court in probate proceedings need not recite the existenceof facts or the performance of acts upon which the jurisdiction of the court orjudge may depend, but need only contain the matters ordered or adjudged, exceptas otherwise provided in this chapter. All orders, judgments and decrees of thecourt shall be entered at length in the proper journal of the court. When ajudgment or decree is made setting apart a homestead, confirming a sale, makinga distribution of real property, or determining any other matter affecting thetitle to real property, a certified copy shall be recorded in the office of thecounty clerk of the county in which the property is situated.


2-2-302. Notice imparted from date of recording.


Whenit is provided in this chapter that any order or decree of the court shall berecorded in the office of the county clerk, notice is imparted to all personsfrom the time of recording.


2-2-303. Citations; requirements generally; contents.


(a) Citations shall be directed to the person to be cited,signed by the clerk, and issued under the seal of the court, and shall contain:


(i) The title of the proceeding;


(ii) A brief statement of the nature of the proceeding; and


(iii) A direction that the person cited appear at a time andplace specified.


2-2-304. Citations; issuance.


Thecitation may be issued by the clerk upon the application of any party, withoutan order of the judge or commissioner, except in cases in which an order isexpressly required by the provisions of this chapter.


2-2-305. Citations; service.


Thecitation shall be served in the same manner as a summons in a civil action.


2-2-306. Citations; used to give personal notice.


When a personal notice is required, and nomode of giving it is prescribed in this chapter, it shall be given by citation.


2-2-307. Citations; when to be served.


When no other time is specially prescribedin this chapter, citations shall be served at least five (5) days before thereturn day thereof.


2-2-308. Provisions of Rules of Civil Procedure applicable; parties.


Exceptas otherwise provided in the Probate Code, the provisions of the Wyoming Rulesof Civil Procedure are applicable to and constitute the rules of practice forall proceedings, new trials or appeals. In all proceedings the party affirmingis contestant and the one denying or avoiding is contestee.


2-2-309. Trial by court or jury.


Ifno jury is demanded, the court shall try the issues joined. If, on writtendemand, a jury is called for by either party in a matter triable under W.S.2-2-308, one shall be had as in other civil cases.


2-2-310. Appointment of attorney for minors or nonresidents;compensation; failure to appoint of no effect.


Ator before the hearing of petitions and contests for the probate of wills, forletters testamentary or of administration, for sales of real estate andconfirmation thereof, settlements, partitions, and distribution of estates,setting apart homesteads, and all other proceedings where all the partiesinterested in the estate are required to be notified, the court may appoint anattorney-at-law to represent the devisees, legatees, heirs or creditors of thedecedent who are minors and have no general guardian in the county, or who arenonresidents of the state, and those interested who, though they are neither minorsor nonresidents, are unrepresented. The order shall specify the names of theparties, so far as known, for whom the attorney is appointed. The attorney mayreceive a fee, to be fixed by the court, for his services, which shall be paidout of the funds of the estate as necessary expenses of administration, andupon distribution may be charged to the party represented by the attorney. If,for any cause, it becomes necessary, the court may substitute another attorneyfor the one first appointed, in which case the fee shall be proportionatelydivided. The failure to appoint an attorney will not affect the validity of anyof the proceedings.


2-2-311. Payment of costs.


Whenit is not otherwise prescribed in this chapter, the district court, or thesupreme court on appeal, may order costs to be paid by any party to theproceedings, or out of the assets of the estate. Execution for the costs mayissue out of the court.


2-2-312. Service of process on guardian; right of guardian to waive.


Wheneveran infant or incompetent person has a guardian of his estate residing in thisstate, personal service upon the guardian of any process, notice or order ofthe court concerning the estate of a deceased person in which the ward isinterested is equivalent to service upon the ward, and it is the duty of theguardian to attend to the interests of the ward in the matter. The guardian mayalso appear for his ward and waive any process, notice or order to show causewhich an adult or a person of sound mind might waive.




2-2-401. Schedule; additional charges.


(a) For probate matters filed or commenced, the clerk of thedistrict court shall collect fees as follows:


(i) Original filing fee———————– $50.00


(ii) When an inventory or appraisement is filed showing anestate or guardianship valued at five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) or more,additional fees based upon value shall be collected as follows:


(A) Value five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) to ten thousanddollars ($10,000.00)———————————- $5.00


(B) Each additional ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) of valueor portion thereof————————————— $5.00


(iii) In addition to the original filing fee under paragraph(a)(i) of this subsection, a court automation fee in the amount of ten dollars($10.00) which shall be deposited into the judicial systems automation accountestablished by W.S. 5-2-120;


(iv) In addition to the original filing fee under paragraph(a)(i) of this subsection, an indigent civil legal services fee in the amountof ten dollars ($10.00), which shall be deposited into the indigent civil legalservices account established by W.S. 5-2-121.


(b) The original filing fee shall cover the general filingactivity of the clerk's office and a certification of one (1) copy of anyorder, decree or judgment at the time of its filing for each party. Other copycharges and certification fees shall be assessed at the same amount asestablished for other business of the court.


(c) Additional fees or charges may be assessed for particularmatters as ordered by the court.


2-2-402. Responsibility of clerk for collection; distribution.


Theclerk of the district court of each county is responsible upon his bond for thecollection or payment of any fees in probate matters which are to be collectedby him or when the court orders fees to be paid to the clerk for fees notspecially provided for in W.S. 2-2-401. All of the fees shall be paid to thecounty treasurer at the end of each month.


2-2-403. Allowance where not specially provided.


Whenthere are no fees specially provided for the performance of any duty under theProbate Code, reasonable fees may be ordered and allowed as the court may deembest.


2-2-404. Payment of court commissioner.


(a) The court commissioner, in performing the duties prescribedby the Probate Code, shall receive the following fees in full payment for allservices, which shall be taxed as costs against the estate:


(i) For attending any matter, five dollars ($5.00) per day forthe time actually employed in hearing the matter;


(ii) For each order made by him, three dollars ($3.00);


(iii) For all other services he shall receive the same fees whichclerks of courts receive for similar services.