In Wyoming, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone decides what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions concerning the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For example, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your choice on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in Wyoming may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Wyoming
Estate plans in Wyoming should almost assuredly have, at a very minimum, these 3 things:
Will: A will is a document which dictates how one's property should be disposed of after its owner dies. If there is a large amount of valuable property at stake, any doubt or uncertainty in a will can lead to major disputes between potential beneficiaries. Anything which makes the intent of the testator unclear might cause it to end up in a probate court. Good drafting (with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney) can reduce the chances of this happening.
Power of Attorney: This is a legal document in which you give some other person (typically a family member) the ability to make decisions (often related to money or healthcare) on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so.
Funeral Arrangements: The judgment of what should be done with your body after you die is a very personal one. If you have a preference on this, for religious, or other, reasons, you should discuss this with a family member in advance. You should additionally put your wishes in writing, but you should not put it ONLY in a will; wills aren't always read immediately after the person who wrote it died. Sometimes, weeks, or even months, go by before the will is read. Obviously, by then it will almost certainly be too late to implement your wishes.
Do I Need a Wyoming Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning is very important (if you care about what happens to your family after your death), and can involve some pretty challenging decisions. It should be clear, then, that a knowledgeable Wyoming estate planning attorney will likely be worth the cost, because they can give your wishes the best possible chance of taking effect.
Interesting Facts About Wyoming
Wyoming is located in the Western portion of the United States. It is characterized by a high number of mountain ranges and high plains prairies. It is the least populated state in the U.S., but the 10th largest in geographic size. Wyoming's economy consists largely of mineral extraction, and trade. Wyoming has the highest concentration of certain minerals in the entire world.
Nearly half of all Wyoming land is owned by the United States government. Additionally, the state of Wyoming owns 6% of the land in the state. Most of the government land in Wyoming is overseen by the Bureau of Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Many Wyoming laws involve protection of the state's valuable natural resources.
Due to its smaller population, Wyoming does not have an intermediate court for appeals. Instead, appeals go directly to the highest court, the Supreme Court of Wyoming. This arrangement is generally viewed as acceptable, since the Supreme Court experiences a relatively lighter caseload in comparison with other state courts. Jury trials are heard in the Circuit Courts or at the District Court level. The Wyoming Supreme Court also operates programs aimed at student education and preventing juvenile delinquency, such as the Children's Justice Program and the iCivics program.
Lawyers in Wyoming work diligently to provide the community with outstanding legal services. Wyoming lawyers file lawsuits on behalf of clients and provide them with indispensable legal advice. An attorney in Wyoming can provide assistance with legal claims and disputes.