Trusts and Estates


The death of a family member may require legal assistance to administer the decedent’s estate. We understand that planning for the protection and transfer of family assets is a vital concern of most families. Wyoming families often present specific and unique needs in estate planning, such as protection of a family ranch, farm, or business, or providing for a child or family member with special needs. Our lawyers have helped many Wyoming families complete this planning. We are ready to help you do the same.

The attorneys at Davis & Cannon, LLP would be glad to provide an initial consultation to discuss your family's individual circumstances and needs.

Trusts

If there is a Trust, the firm can assist the Trustee with all aspects of administration in accordance with the terms of the trust or Wyoming’s version of the Uniform Trust Code (UTC).

In many cases the Living Trust has become the preferred strategy in planning for our clients. A trust is a legal arrangement where property is transferred to a person, persons or corporation known as a Trustee(s) who hold the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries under the terms of the Trust. The Trustee is a fiduciary with duties to hold, manage and deal with the property in the best interests of the persons named in the trust, the beneficiaries.

Trusts may be used to avoid probate, avoid or diminish probate fees, protect beneficiaries from their own inability to handle money, for tax-planning purposes, gifting and to transfer property to a trust.

As trusts are created and generally funded immediately, they also provide life planning opportunities, such as providing for illness, mental or physical disability.


Wills

If there is a valid will or the decedent died without a will, Davis & Cannon, LLP'’s attorneys have a long history of handling matters relating to probate and the administration of probate estates. This process includes filing the decedent’s will with the court, or proceeding without a will (intestacy), securing the appointment of a personal representative of the estate, notifying creditors and family members of the probate matter, obtaining necessary appraisals, paying creditors and taxes, and distributing property to beneficiaries.

For many years the will was the instrument of choice for most clients and still is a necessary part of the estate planning scheme. A will is a legal document that appoints a person to manage his or her estate, provides directions of how to transfer real and personal property, and may contain many other special directions.

Clients with young children may also include provisions for the appointment of guardians or the creation of a testamentary trust, which will hold property in trust until their children reach a certain age. The testamentary trust may also protect the assets from creditors or other claimants.

Wyoming law sets forth specific requirements which must be met for a document to qualify as a valid will. If a will is not valid, or if a person dies without leaving a will, then property will pass under Wyoming's intestate laws, which are not tailored to match a particular person’s needs.


Other Estate Planning Strategies

When required or desired the firm is also experienced in incorporating other estate planning techniques, such as life insurance and other irrevocable trusts, forming family corporations, partnerships or limited liability companies, and family foundations.

The firm also has extensive experience in ancillary probate matters—that is the probate and transfer of assets owned by a non-resident who dies owning property (frequently mineral rights) in Wyoming.

Many estates include real property or business interests, which may need to be managed or transferred during the probate process. With our experience in real estate law and business planning, we can advise clients on issues related to these assets and their associated debt.

Our attorneys also represent clients in litigation over probate and trust matters, such as will contests, disputes with creditors, and disputes among beneficiaries and Trustees.