It is our experience that some clients have been frightened in a previous state of residence about “probate.” However, many uncontested estates in Montana can be probated informally, and the process may be streamlined compared to a state with inheritance taxes.
Montana voters did away with the state inheritance tax a number of years ago. Although subject to change, many estates are no longer subject to the federal estate tax as well.
In Montana, many people find that a Will, Health Care Declaration (sometimes called a “Living Will”), and Power of Attorney adequately cover their estate planning needs without the need to tie up their assets during their lifetime in some kind of trust. (If you have minor children, you should definitely nominate a guardian in your Will). This does not mean there is not an appropriate place for trusts in estate planning.
Although effective planning is essential, Guardianship and Conservatorship proceedings can arise when it is alleged that a family member has lost the ability to make appropriate financial or safe medical decisions for themselves. These cases sometimes involve allegations of elder exploitation or neglect. Experienced legal counsel is essential.