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In re Estate of Coborn

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 23, 2015

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF ELDA L. COBORN, a/k/a ELDA LAVERNE COBORN, ELDA COBORN, ELDA L. COBURN and ELDA COBURN, deceased. PAMELA LYNN COPELAND and AUBREY ALAN COBORN, Appellants (Applicants)

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County. The Honorable Catherine R. Rogers, Judge.

For Appellants: Thomas N. Long and Aaron J. Lyttle, Long, Reimer, Winegar, Beppler, LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 272

BURKE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] In this probate case, Appellants, Pamela Lynn Copeland and Aubrey Alan Coborn, challenge the district court's order denying, in part, an application for a summary decree of distribution. Appellants claim the Laramie County district court erred in refusing to distribute Wyoming real property not located in Laramie County. The court declined to distribute the property because it determined that it had statutory authority to order summary distribution of the decedent's real property interests located in the county in which the district court is located, but not real property located in other Wyoming counties. We will reverse and remand for further proceedings.

ISSUE

[¶2] Appellants present this issue:

Whether Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 2-1-205 (LexisNexis 2013), which permits a district court to grant summary distribution of small estates, requires Appellants to file a petition for summary distribution in every county in which the decedent's property was located.

FACTS

[¶3] Elda L. Coborn died intestate on March 17, 2014. She owned a house in Laramie County, Wyoming, mineral interests in Campbell and Johnson Counties, and personal property. Appellants are the daughters of Ms. Coborn. They filed an " Application for Summary Decree of Distribution of Real and Personal Property" in the district court in Laramie County, Wyoming. In accordance with the statutory requirements for summary distribution found in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 2-1-205, they alleged that the entire estate was located in Wyoming or otherwise subject to probate in Wyoming, and that its total value did not exceed $200,000.

[¶4] The district court granted the application in part, distributing the personal property and the real property located in Laramie County. The court denied the application with regard to the mineral interests in Campbell and Johnson Counties, based upon its determination that the statute did not authorize the court to distribute real property located in other Wyoming counties. Appellants challenge that determination in this appeal.

Page 273

STANDARD OF REVIEW


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