CHAPTER 9 - PROCEEDINGS TO ESTABLISH TITLE WITHOUTADMINISTRATION

 

ARTICLE 1 - SURVIVING REMAINDERMAN OR JOINT TENANTS

 

2-9-101. Petition to establish rights upon death of owner of life estate or joint interest in realty; notice; decree; recording and effect thereof.

 

If any person dies seized of a life estate which terminates by reason of his death, or of an estate by the entireties, or of an estate by joint tenancy or joint estate with another, any person interested in the property or in the title thereto may file in the district court of the county in which the property is situated a verified petition setting forth such facts. After two (2) weeks notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, or otherwise as the court may order, the court shall hear the petition and the evidence offered in support thereof. If upon hearing it appears to the court that such life estate, estate by entireties, estate by joint tenancy or joint estate was created and vested, and that the life estate of the deceased person terminated by reason of death, or that the estate by entireties remains vested solely in the surviving spouse by reason of death, or that the estate by joint tenancy or joint estate remains vested solely in the surviving joint tenant or joint tenants, the court shall so decree. A certified copy of the decree shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk and thereafter the decree and the record thereof together with the record of the instrument or instruments purporting to create the life estate, estate by entireties, estate by joint tenancy or joint estate, shall be presumptive evidence of the creation of such estate, the termination thereof and the survivorship of the estate by entireties, estates by joint tenancy or joint estate.

 

2-9-102. Affidavit of survivorship; recordation; copy of death certificate to be attached.

 

If any person dies who is the owner of a life estate which terminates by reason of his death, or if any person dies who is the owner with his surviving spouse of an estate by entireties, or if any person dies who is the owner with another of a joint estate or an estate in joint tenancy, any person interested in the affected property or the title thereto may make the death a matter of record by recording in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the property is situate an affidavit describing the property, the instrument under which the estate was vested with appropriate references to its recording data if the instrument was recorded, and certifying under oath to the death of the decedent as the party who was named in and whose death terminated his previous estate in the property under the vesting instrument. The affidavit shall have attached thereto a copy of the official death certificate of the decedent, certified to by the public authority in which the original death certificate is a matter of record.

 

2-9-103. Affidavit of survivorship; prima facie evidence; procedure deemed independent.

 

Each affidavit signed, sworn to and recorded substantially in compliance with the provisions of W.S. 2-9-102, constitutes prima facie evidence that all facts recited therein are true. The permissive and nonjudicial procedure provided by W.S. 2-9-102 and 2-9-103 shall be independent of and shall not affect or be affected by the procedure provided under W.S. 2-9-101.

 

ARTICLE 2 - DETERMINATION OF HEIRSHIP

 

2-9-201. Application by petition two years after death; where filed.

 

When more than two (2) years have elapsed since the death of a person residing in this state, or residing outside of this state but owning real estate or any interest therein situated within this state, or who has made entry on any government lands and has not received patent therefor, and there has been no previous, record judicial determination of the decedent's heirs or the right of descent of the real property interest, any heir of the deceased or other person having derived title to any real property or any interest therein from the deceased or from any of his heirs either by direct or mesne conveyances, may make application by petition to the court or commissioner of the county in which the deceased was a resident at the time of his death, or if a nonresident of the state at the time of his death then in the district court of the county where the real estate or some part thereof belonging to the deceased in his lifetime is situated, for determination of the time of death of the decedent and a determination of the heirs of the deceased, the degree of kinship and the right of descent of the real property belonging to the deceased.

 

2-9-202. Application by petition two years after death; fixing time for hearing; notice thereof; contents.

 

Upon filing the petition the court shall fix a time for hearing the petition not less than thirty (30) days after the filing thereof. Notice of the time and place of hearing shall be given to all persons interested in the proceeding including creditors, heirs and devisees, setting forth the filing of the petition, the date of the supposed death of the deceased, his place of residence, a description of the real property or interest therein of which he died seized or a description of the real property on which he had made an entry but had not yet received patent and the interest in the real estate of the petitioner. The notice shall be published once a week in a newspaper of general circulation in the county for four (4) consecutive weeks prior to the hearing, and shall be mailed simultaneously with the first publication to those persons designated in W.S. 2-7-205.

 

2-9-203. Application by petition two years after death; hearing; determination and decree.

 

Upon hearing, if it appears to the court that more than two (2) years have elapsed since the death of the deceased, that he died seized of an interest in lands in this state or that he died intestate having entered government lands and not having received a patent therefor, and there has been no previous record judicial determination of the decedent's heirs or the right of descent of the real property interest, the court shall determine the date of the decedent's death, who were the heirs of the deceased upon the date of death, their degree of kinship and the right of descent of the real property or interest therein of which the deceased died seized or on which he had made an entry but had not yet received a patent therefor, and shall make and enter its decree accordingly.

 

2-9-204. Procedure when applicant for public land dies and patent issued to heirs.

 

(a) Whenever any person makes entry on any land in the United States and dies before patent for the same is issued and patent thereafter is issued to the heirs at law of the decedent, any person interested in the lands as heir at law or devisee or as grantee or assignee of such heirs at law or devisee, or the personal representative of any of them if deceased, may file a petition in the district court in and for the county wherein the land or any part thereof is situate, setting forth the date of death of the decedent, the date of issuance of the patent and that the patent was issued to the heirs at law of the deceased person, the land described therein, the names, ages and residence if known of the heirs at law of the deceased persons and a request that a decree be entered by the court establishing who are the heirs at law of the deceased person. Upon filing of the petition the clerk of court shall make an order fixing the time and place of hearing of the petition not less than thirty (30) days from the filing of the petition.

 

(b) Notice of the time and place for hearing the petition shall be given by publishing notice thereof at least once each week for three (3) successive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation in the county and the mailing of true copies to all known heirs of the deceased person at least ten (10) days prior to the date fixed for the hearing. Proof of publication and mailing shall be made to the court upon the hearing. Any time before the date fixed for the hearing any person interested in the lands as heir at law or devisee of the decedent or as the grantee of any such heir at law or devisee, may answer the petition and deny any of the matters contained therein. At the time fixed for the hearing or at such time thereafter as may be fixed by the court, the court shall hear the proofs offered by petitioner and any person answering the same, and shall make a decree conformable to the proofs. The decree shall have the same force and effect as decrees entered in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure.