Category Archives: Probate

Affidavit of Survivorship in Wyoming

Whenever people own property as joint tenants, or tenants by the entireties, and one of them dies, then you clear title in the survivors with an affidavit of survivorship.

People often create joint tenancies in real estate in order to avoid probate. The joint tenants are often relatives. However, only married couples can own property as tenants by the entireties.

The way you tell what kind of tenancy you have is by looking at the deed. The deed will always have language that says something like “convey [or quitclaim] to John Doe and Jane Smith as  joint tenants [or] tenants by the entireties [or] tenants in common.”

If the deed does not say any of those three things, or if it says something else, then you should call a probate lawyer.

If the deed says tenants in common, then you cannot use an affidavit of survivorship. You will Continue reading


Probate is the legal process following a person’s death, by which their property is passed on to their heirs.  A probate can be a complicated and lengthy court proceeding, or it can be a simple document, such as an affidavit of survivorship.

In this article, we will discuss the most common ways to pass on the property of a deceased person to their heirs.

Formal probate

This is the most complicated, time consuming, and expensive process, because it involves a full court proceeding. This is what people want to avoid when they talk about avoiding probate.

Proving the Will

Generally, the process starts with proving the decedent’s will, if there is one. Some wills are self-proving, others are not. Some wills are holographic. Some wills are executed incorrectly, and therefore they are invalid. If there is a valid will, then you have a testate estate. If there is no will, or if the will is invalid, then there is an intestate estate.

Appointing an Executor or Personal Representative

The executor or personal representative is the person that handles the property of the person that died. An executor is a person appointed in a will. A personal representative is a person Continue reading

Personal Representative Attorney Fees in Wyoming

Personal representative attorney fees in Wyoming are generally determined by the size of the estate.  The more valuable the estate, the higher the attorney fees.

The most common way to establish estate value is to use the valuation as set out in the Report of Appraisal.

Now the Report of Appraisal will only be prepared if a “formal” probate is opened.  If the value of the estate is less than $200,000.00, then the estate can be probated with an Affidavit for Distribution for personal property (WS § 2-1-201) or an Application for Decree of Distribution for real property (WS § 2-1-205).

Statutory Schedule of Fees

However, the following schedule of statutory fees is useful to determine the fees charges by the personal representative’s attorney:

  1. For the first one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) of the value, ten percent (10%) or $100.00;
  2. For the amount over one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) of the basis, five percent (5%) or $100.00 plus an additional $200.00;
  3. For the amount over five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and not exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) of the basis, three percent (3%) or $100.00 plus $200.00 plus an additional $450.00;
  4. For all sums over twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) of the basis, two percent (2%).

I don’t think you will find any attorney that will probate a Wyoming estate valued at less than $20,000.00 for the statutory fee of $750.00, unless it is a very simple estate containing something like a car and a bank account (of  a  few thousand dollars).   Most attorneys will charge at least a $1,000.00 plus costs.

However, most attorneys will probate a Wyoming estate for the statutory fee of approximately 2% of the value reported in the Report of Appraisal.  So, if the estate consists of a bank account of $100,000.00 and a house worth $250,000.00 and cars and motorcycles worth $50,000.00, then the estate will be valued at $400,000, and the attorney’s fee will be .

In such a case, the attorney fees will be $750 for the first $20,000.00, and 2% for the rest ($380,000.00), or about $7,600.00 plus $750.00, or $8,350.00.

The Formula

So, the precise calculation is as follows:

PRAF = 0.02(AV – 20,000) + 750

Where PRAF is the Personal Representatives Attorney Fee, and AV is the Appraised Value on the Report of Appraisal.

The Rule of Thumb for Personal Representative Attorney Fee

However, if you are not that into algebra, then you can just use the rule of thumb, which is a little over 2% of the appraised value.

By Steve Harton

Steve Harton is a probate attorney in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming.  If you have questions about probate in Wyoming, please call him at (307) 382-5545, or visit