About Probates and Wills in Montana. 


Montana law provides access to a streamlined and informal probate system for many uncontested estates under the Uniform Probate Code.  Montana voters did away with the state inheritance tax a number of years ago.  And although the future of federal estate and generation skipping transfer taxes is always subject to change by Congress (the current law expires in December of 2012), estates of five million dollars or less are not subject to federal estate tax and married couples should be able to exclude ten million dollars from the federal estate tax.  It is our experience that some clients have been frightened in a previous state of residence about “probate” and some have been talked into investing in complicated inter vivos trusts, not all of which are necessary or even practical.  In a basic sense, probate in Montana is the legal process of transferring the title to property you leave at your death to the beneficiaries you want to have that property while addressing any claims that might exist at that time in an orderly fashion.  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 have a Will if for no other reason than to nominate a guardian in the event something happens to you).  This does not mean there is not an appropriate place for trusts in estate planning.  For example, you might consider a trust where you have concerns about an impaired beneficiary, or if you own real estate in more than one state, or if you want to keep assets from a prior marriage in a particular family.

Skalkaho Falls

by:  Caleb Tipton



716 South First Street, Hamilton, Montana 59840

Telephone: (406) 363-3090