Emphasizing the Following:

Auto Accident and Personal Injury Claims

Mike has successfully handled many types of civil claims.

(Click here for some of his Results).

Probates, Wills and Guardianships in Montana

Mike works closely with clients in estate planning, elder protection, and handling the estates of loved ones who have passed.

Auto Accident and
Personal Injury Claims

If you have been injured in an automobile or other accident, you should see us as soon as possible—and preferably before giving a recorded statement.  Insurance adjusters can seem friendly at the outset, but once they have the information they are looking for and have taken your statement, they can become adversarial.  In addition, many personal injury claims involve “hidden” issues outside of the experience of the average client.


For instance, your right to recovery may not be confined to one individual insurance policy. In some cases, you can “stack” policies of insurance to increase coverage.  You may also be entitled to recover medical bills and lost wages immediately pending resolution of your underlying claim.  In addition, you will want to know if the Made Whole Rule applies in your case.  Finally, you should not rely upon the advice of friends or the opinion of the opposing insurance adjuster about these issues or about what constitutes a “fair settlement” of your claim.

Probates, Wills and
Guardianships in Montana

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.

Divorce and Family Law

In dividing assets in a divorce, Montana is a no-fault and equitable distribution state.  Equitable means “fair” not necessarily “equal.”  No-fault means the Court doesn’t divide the marital estate based upon who is “at fault” in causing the marriage to break up.  By law, there are a number of financial, health and other factors that the Court must consider in dividing a marital estate.  The Montana Supreme Court has also outlined special guidelines concerning the division of inherited, gifted and pre-marital property.  If your divorce involves such property, you will want to consult with us early on in your case to protect your rights.  

Parenting of children in Montana is based upon a “best interest of the child” standard and is governed by a number of statutory factors.  Child support is subject to the Montana Child Support Guidelines, which can be surprisingly complicated (particularly if you are self-employed).  Many divorce cases in Montana are resolved short of trial through formal or informal settlement negotiations.  Indeed, a settlement conference is mandatory in many jurisdictions before you can go to trial.  Because any good settlement is based upon an assessment of what could happen if your case went to trial, it is in your best interest to have experience on your side. 

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