Estate administration is a general term for making sure that the property of a decedent is distributed to the person who should receive that property. Not all property needs to be administered. Jointly owned property (such as a joint bank account) automatically becomes the property of the surviving owner(s) of that account. Bank accounts with a payable on death (p.o.d.) designation will be paid out to the person(s) so designated. Investment accounts with a transfer on death (t.o.d.) designation will be paid out to the person(s) so designated.
It is the size of a Wyoming estate which determines whether an estate can be handled as a small estate or must be probated in the local state district court. It does not matter whether the decedent had a last will at the time of his or her death or if he or she died intestate (that is, without a last will).
Small estates are defined as estates worth no more than $200,000 on the date of the decedent’s death. Affidavits of survivorship, affidavits of distribution and summary distribution actions are the most common procedures used to transfer the decedent’s assets to the person(s) who are entitled to receive such assets.
Probate estates are defined as estates worth at least $200,000 on the date of the decedent’s death. The probate process is more complicated and takes more time than does a small estate administration.