Create a Living Trust in Wyoming

Create a Living Trust in Wyoming

by Brette Sember, Esq., May 2015

A living trust in Wyoming allows you to place your assets in trust, yet have control and use of them during your life. After your death, assets in the trust are passed to the beneficiaries you have selected. A revocable living trust (sometimes referred to as an inter vivos trust) may be an estate planning tool to consider.

Living Trusts in Wyoming

A Wyoming living trust is created when the grantor transfers ownership of assets into the trust. As the grantor, you select the assets you want to transfer, but it is usually beneficial to place as many assets as possible into trust. Some accounts, such as life insurance and retirement accounts, are not eligible. You need to name a trustee who is responsible for managing the assets in the trust for your benefit during your life. Any adult can be your trustee, but it is most common to simply name yourself as trustee so you can have the most control. You will also select a successor trustee, who will step in after your death to protect and manage the trust and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries according to your terms. Your revocable trust can be changed or eliminated at any time you want during your life, but an irrevocable living trust is permanent.

One of the biggest perks of a living trust Wyoming is that trust assets do not go through probate when you die. Probate is the court proceeding that reviews and validates wills. A will cannot be put into effect until probate concludes, and assets cannot be distributed until this happens. Probate can take months and involves the expenses of an attorney, executor, and court fees. Wyoming has not adopted the Uniform Probate Code, so its process is lengthy. A trust allows you to avoid all of this and can distribute your assets immediately after your death if you wish. You can use one trust to avoid probate in other states in which you own property, as long as you transfer that property into the trust.

Estates worth less than $200,000 qualify for a small estate proceeding in Wyoming, a procedure that is faster and less expensive than probate. This process is also less expensive than setting up a trust, but does not offer any of the benefits a trust provides.

Do I Need a Living Trust in Wyoming?

Creating a living trust in Wyoming is an important option to consider when you are planning for the future. One of the benefits may directly impact you during your lifetime. Your revocable living trust protects you should you become mentally incapacitated. All of your assets are already controlled, owned, and managed by the trust and a conservatorship proceeding is likely unnecessary. While a durable power of attorney can be rejected, a trust cannot be. Your financial life is protected by the trust.

If you prefer to keep your financial life private, a trust may appeal to you for that reason. If you use a will to transfer assets, the will is probated and becomes public record. A trust, on the other hand, is not made public and your assets, beneficiaries, and trust terms remain private. A living trust also offers added security since it is much more difficult to contest than a will.

Living trusts are appealing because of the measure of control they provide during life and after death. While you are alive, your assets are technically owned by the trust, but you control the trust and can do whatever you want with the assets. Nothing in your daily life need change. After your death, you maintain control because your assets are managed by the trust and not distributed until the dates you have chosen. Some people wait to distribute when beneficiaries reach certain ages. If you use a will, assets are passed as soon as probate concludes.

Living Trusts and Estate Taxes in Wyoming

If you are looking to avoid paying estate tax, a revocable living trust won’t help you, but you might not owe estate tax since Wyoming has no estate tax and federal tax applies only to estates valued at over $5 million. It is possible to create a specialized trust known as a QTIP trust (also called a marital or AB trust) that passes assets from the deceased to a surviving spouse with no tax. Your trust will not avoid Medicaid spend down requirements and cannot protect you from creditors.

How to Create a Living Trust in Wyoming

To create your living trust in Wyoming, prepare a written trust document and then sign it in front of a notary. For the trust to be effective, you must next transfer ownership of assets into it. A living trust may be a good solution for your estate plan. Weigh its benefits and limitations when making a decision.

LegalZoom can help you create a living trust online in Wyoming. LegalZoom living trusts include a pour-over will, transfer deeds, and a document organizer