Wyoming Transfer on Death Deed Form

What is a Wyoming transfer-on-death (TOD) deed?

A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed is an official document used to transfer real estate when a property owner dies, without the need to probate the deceased owner’s estate. Transfer-on-death deeds are not new in Wyoming; they were first been authorized by the Wyoming Nontestamentary Transfer of Real Property on Death Act in 2013.1

What is the purpose of a Wyoming TOD deed?

Like transfer-on-death deeds in other states, a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed is designed to avoid probate when an owner dies. Instead, the property transfers automatically to the beneficiaries named in the deed.2 There is no need to probate the deceased owner’s estate.

A Wyoming property owner who makes a transfer-on-death deed does not lose any control over the property during his or her life. As described below, the owner may also revoke the deed at any time.3 Wyoming law is clear that the “signature, consent, or agreement of, or notice to, a grantee beneficiary of a transfer on death deed is not required for any purpose during the lifetime of the owner.”4. The named beneficiary does not get any legal right to the property until the owner’s death.5

Taken together, these rules mean that if the owner changes his or her mind—for example, if the owner wants to sell the property or name other beneficiaries—the owner is free to do so without the consent of the named beneficiaries.

Attorney Practice Note: The retained ability to control the property during life makes Wyoming transfer-on-death deeds a better choice than life estate deeds. Life estate deeds also avoid probate, but at a cost: an owner who makes a life estate deed cannot change his or her mind without involving the remainder beneficiaries. Wyoming transfer-on-death deeds provide the same probate avoidance benefit without this significant drawback.

What is the benefit of avoiding probate?

Probate is a legal process for transferring a deceased person’s property to his or her heirs. If the person dies without a valid will, the property passes to the deceased person’s family members as provided by Wyoming law. If the person had a will, the property passes to the individuals, trusts, or organizations named in the will. Either way, transferring the assets usually requires a court process.

Probate proceedings can take a lot of money and time. A lawyer usually must write the paperwork and present it to the probate court. Once the paperwork is filed, it becomes a matter of public record, putting the deceased owner’s financial affairs on display. Many people use transfer-on-death deeds and other probate avoidance techniques to bypass the probate process.

What types of property can be transferred using a Wyoming TOD deed?

Property owners can use Wyoming transfer-on-death deeds only to transfer real estate.6 Other property—like a car—cannot be transferred using this type of deed. The same is true for mobile homes that are not permanently attached to the real estate. If the mobile home can be moved, it is generally treated like a car, which cannot be transferred by deed.

What is the effect of a Wyoming TOD deed while the owner is alive?

A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed has little effect during the owner’s life. The deed does not make any transfer until the death of the owner.7 Until that time, no beneficiary named in the deed has any legal right or interest in the property.8 The owner can revoke the deed, sell the property, or mortgage the property without the signature, consent, or agreement of the beneficiary named in the deed.9 The owner need not even notify the chosen beneficiary during the owner’s lifetime.10

Can the owner sell the property after recording a TOD deed?

Yes. Signing a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed does not cause the owner to lose any rights to the property while still alive. The owner can sell the property without the consent of the beneficiaries named in the deed.11

How can an owner revoke a transfer-on-death deed?

An owner who makes a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed can revoke it at any time until death.12 There are two ways an owner may revoke a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed: by filing a revocation or by filing a new deed.

How to revoke a Wyoming TOD deed by revocation

The owner may revoke, or cancel, the deed by signing and filing a revocation in the Office of the County Clerk in the county where the property is located.13 The revocation must be recorded in the land records before the death of the owner who signed it.14 This rule prevents fraud, such as if an angry family member tries to revoke a deed after the deceased owner’s death.

How to revoke a Wyoming TOD with a later deed

The owner may also revoke the deed by signing a new deed. If, at the time of death, the owner has filed more than one transfer-on-death deed transferring the same property, the last transfer-on-death deed controls who will own it.15 In other words, if the owner signs a new transfer-on-death deed naming different beneficiaries and records it after the first one, the second transfer-on-death deed replaces the first one.

Attorney Practice Note: A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed cannot be revoked by a will.16 If an owner dies with both a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed and a will that leaves the property to someone else, the law ignores the will for that property. A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed will always trump parts of a will that disagree with it.

What is the effect of a Wyoming TOD deed when the owner dies?

On the death of an owner—and subject to the rules for joint owners discussed below—the owner’s interest in the real estate passes to the beneficiaries named in the deed.17 Nothing further is required to transfer the interest, but the beneficiaries will not have clear title (title that is insurable) until something is recorded to prove to others that the original owner is deceased and the beneficiaries now own the property.

Because the Wyoming transfer-on-death deed avoids probate, there is no need to go to court after the owner’s death. Instead, the beneficiary simply needs to file two documents in the land records:

  1. A survivorship affidavit that identifies the transfer-on-death deed by deed book and page number; and
  2. A certificate of clearance issued by the Wyoming Department of Health that certifies all medical assistance claims (if the deceased owner received governmental assistance, such as Medicaid) have either been paid or do not exist.

Filing these documents shows that the ownership of the property has passed from the deceased owner to the surviving beneficiaries.18

Can a Wyoming TOD deed leave property to multiple beneficiaries?

Yes. A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed may name any number of beneficiaries to receive the property.19 The named beneficiaries can hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship, as tenants in common, or in any other form of co-ownership recognized by Wyoming law.20

Can joint owners sign a Wyoming TOD deed?

Yes. If multiple owners own Wyoming real estate, the owners may jointly sign a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed.21

The effect of a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed signed by multiple owners depends on how the owners co-own the property before signing the deed. If the owners hold title as tenants in common, there is no survivorship right. Each may freely transfer his or her interest at death without affecting the other owners.

If owners who hold title as joint tenants with the right of survivorship sign the deed—and it includes language stating that the deed will take effect on the death of the last surviving owner—then the deed will transfer the property when the last owner who signed it dies.22 If some, but not all, of the owners sign the deed, then its effect depends on the order of death:

  • If the last surviving owner signed the transfer-on-death deed, then the property will pass as described in the deed.
  • If the last surviving owner was one of the owners who did not sign the deed, then the deed is void.

Taken together, these rules mean that a joint tenancy with right of survivorship that existed before a TOD deed has more legal force unless all of the joint owners sign the TOD deed.

Attorney Practice Note: Look at the prior deed—the deed that transferred property to the current owners making the transfer-on-death deed—to determine how the current owners own the property. The right of survivorship, if there is one, will usually be stated in the vesting paragraph. Look for language indicating “joint tenants with right of survivorship” or something similar.

Similar rules apply to revoking the deed. Usually, if there is more than one owner, any owner may revoke the transfer-on-death deed.23 But if they held the real estate as joint tenants with right of survivorship and less than all joint tenants sign the deed, the revocation is not effective unless signed by the last surviving owner.24

What happens if the beneficiary named in a Wyoming TOD deed dies before the owner?

A transfer-on-death deed to a deceased beneficiary could make the deed fail (a legal concept known as lapse). A well-written transfer-on-death deed can include wording to avoid the risk of lapse.

Wyoming law allows a transfer-on-death deed to name alternate beneficiaries (referred to in the law as successor grantee beneficiaries) and state what must happen for them to receive the property.25 The deed could say, for example:

  • That the interest of any deceased beneficiary will pass to an alternate or contingent beneficiary;
  • If multiple beneficiaries are named, that the interest of any deceased beneficiary will pass to the surviving beneficiaries.

These “anti-lapse provisions” help ensure that if a beneficiary dies before the owner, probate can still be avoided instead of making the deed invalid.

Attorney Practice Note: Our Wyoming transfer-on-death deeds include anti-lapse provisions allowing the property to pass to surviving owners or alternate beneficiaries. The exact language included will differ depending on the choices made in the interview.

Must the owner notify the beneficiaries of the Wyoming TOD deed?

No, there is no notice requirement. An owner who makes a Wyoming transfer-on-death deed need not tell the beneficiary for any purpose during the owner’s lifetime.26

Can a Wyoming TOD deed be used when the property is mortgaged?

Each beneficiary who receives property via transfer-on-death deed takes it “subject to all conveyances, assignments, contracts, mortgages, deeds of trust, liens, security pledges, and other encumbrances made by the owner or to which the owner was subject during the owner’s lifetime.”27 This language means, for example, that if the owner mortgaged the property prior to death, the property remains subject to the mortgage, and the bank can foreclose if the mortgage is not paid.

Attorney Practice Note: Mortgage documents often include a “due-on-sale” clause, a rule that requires the mortgage to be repaid in full upon a transfer of property. By federal law, due-on-sale clauses do not apply to a transfer to a relative resulting from the death of the borrower.28

Must a Wyoming TOD deed be recorded?

Yes. A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed is valid only if it is recorded in the Office of the County Clerk in the county where the real property is located before the death of the owner. If there are multiple owners, it must be recorded before the death of the last surviving owner).29 If the owner or owners do not record the deed before death, the deed will not transfer the property to the beneficiaries.

Can an agent under a power of attorney sign a TOD deed for a property owner who cannot sign?

The Wyoming Nontestamentary Transfer of Real Property on Death Act does not describe the mental capacity required to sign a transfer-on-death deed, nor does it specify whether an agent under a power of attorney can sign the transfer-on-death deed for an owner who lacks mental ability.

Most other states with transfer-on-death deed laws require the owner to have the same mental capacity as is required to make a will—a pretty high standard that requires the owner to understand the concept of the document and how it affects the assets involved. Some state laws allow signature under a power of attorney only if the power of attorney includes language authorizing the agent to sign or revoke transfer-on-death deeds. If the person signing for a mentally disabled owner is also a beneficiary named in the deed, care should be taken to avoid legal challenges. It is usually best for the owner to sign the deed if at all possible.

What are the requirements for a Wyoming TOD deed?

A Wyoming transfer-on-death deed must meet several sets of requirements:

  • The deed must clearly state that it takes effect on the owner’s death.30
  • The deed must be signed and recorded in the Office of the County Clerk in the county where the property is located before the death of the owner or the last surviving owner.31
  • The deed must have all of Wyoming’s required elements, including a valid legal description and the correct formatting.

Wyoming publishes a sample form for TOD deeds in the law. Still, care must be taken to ensure that each TOD deed is properly formatted and includes all the desired features—such as anti-lapse rules—not provided by that sample form.32

Need a transfer-on-death deed that meets Wyoming recording requirements?

Each deed produced by our deed creation service is attorney-designed to comply with Wyoming law. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized transfer-on-death deed in minutes.

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  1. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-101, et seq.
  2. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a).
  3. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(f).
  4. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(k).
  5. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(o).
  6. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a) (“A deed that conveys an interest in real property”).
  7. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a).
  8. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(o).
  9. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(k).
  10. Id.
  11. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(k).
  12. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(f).
  13. Id.
  14. Id.
  15. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(h).
  16. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(m).
  17. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(o).
  18. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(n).
  19. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(b).
  20. Id.
  21. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(d) and Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(f), each of which contemplate signature by multiple owners.
  22. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(d).
  23. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(d).
  24. Id.
  25. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(c).
  26. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(k).
  27. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a).
  28. See 12 USC 1701j-3(d)(5).
  29. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(e).
  30. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(a).
  31. Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-103(e).
  32. See Wyo. Stat. § 2-18-104.