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LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9905
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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If a spouse passes away and you own land and property

Customer Question

If a spouse passes away and you own land and property together in the state of Wyoming. What about the item inside the buildings that is on the property that were also purchase together from a joint checking acoount, does the surviving spouse own them with out going though probate?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

Was there a will that governed the property of the deceased spouse?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No will
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

Thank you; if there is no will, then the property passes via the laws of intestate succession. This means that of that person's property, 1/2 goes to the surviving spouse, and 1/2 to the issue (child, grandchild) of the deceased. If there is no issue, then the surviving spouse inherits their property.

For personal possessions, if it was gifted during the life, then that gift would be controlling.

If property is worth less than $200,000 (the decedent's portion), then there is a summary procedure that may be done.

Basically, the heir would file, (with the county, not the court) after a minimum of 30 days, a simplified probate affidavit, that helps expedite the process.

WY 2-1-205 governs this process:

2-1-205. Summary procedure for distribution of personal or real property; application for decree; notice by publication; presumptive evidence of title; effect of false statements.

(a) If any person dies who is the owner of personal or real property, including mineral interests, but whose entire estate including personal property does not exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000.00), the person or persons claiming to be the distributees of the decedent may file, not earlier than thirty (30) days after the decedent's death, an application for a decree in the district court of the county where the property is situated.

(b) The application shall be sworn to and signed by each person claiming and shall state the facts required by W.S. 2-1-201(a)(i) through (iv). The application shall also fully describe any real property being claimed. The application shall have attached thereto a sworn report of appraisal, made by a person who has no legal interest in the estate, showing the value on the date of the decedent's death of all interests owned by the decedent in real property, including mineral interests.

(c) After publication of the notice of application once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, or otherwise as the court may order, the court shall consider the application. If the decedent received medical assistance pursuant to W.S. 42-4-101 through 42-4-114, the state department of health shall be provided a copy of the application for a decree within five (5) days of its filing. If it appears that the facts stated in the application are not in dispute, the court shall enter a decree establishing the right and title to the property. A certified copy of the decree shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk and thereafter the decree and the record thereof shall be presumptive evidence of title to the property.

(d) In the event that the decree is entered as the result of a petition containing false statements, title to the property which passes as a result of the decree shall not be affected but the person or persons signing and swearing to the application shall be subject to the appropriate penalties for perjury.

(e) The procedure provided by this section may be used in addition to the affidavit procedure provided by W.S. 2-1-201.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There are 2 children involved. What about it the items inside the building were business own by the husband and wife.
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

It would depend on the business's articles/bylaws as those typically determine what happens upon the death of one of the members/partners. It would also be subject to the business's creditors. Business property is different than personal property because business property is governed by the contract between the principals.