if you don't decide what happens when you die, the state will decide for you. take control of your family's future. We specialize in the three critical documents for montanan's;a valid will, a living trust (or medical power of attorney), and a financial power of attorney. We have the staff available to conduct your will signing ceremony in our office, including an in-house notary public.
A trust is traditionally used for minimizing estate taxes and can offer other benefits as part of a well-crafted estate plan in montana.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries.
Since trusts usually avoid probate, your beneficiaries may gain access to these assets more quickly than they might to assets that are transferred using a will. Additionally, if it is an irrevocable trust, it may not be considered part of the taxable estate, so fewer taxes may be due upon your death.
Assets in a trust may also be able to pass outside of probate, saving time, court fees, and potentially reducing estate taxes as well.
Other benefits of trusts include:
Control of your wealth. You can specify the terms of a trust precisely, controlling when and to whom distributions may be made. You may also, for example, set up a revocable trust so that the trust assets remain accessible to you during your lifetime while designating to whom the remaining assets will pass thereafter, even when there are complex situations such as children from more than one marriage.
Protection of your legacy. A properly constructed trust can help protect your estate from your heirs' creditors or from direct ownership by beneficiaries who may not be adept at money management, such as minors or individuals with special needs.
Privacy and probate savings. Probate is a matter of public record in montana; a trust may allow assets to pass outside of probate and remain private, in addition to possibly reducing the amount lost to court fees, attorney fees, and taxes in the process.
Considering bankruptcy? we can answer important questions such as whether you would be able to keep your home and possessions. In montana, for many people who are hopelessly in debt, bankruptcy is the answer and the relief and hope that comes from starting fresh really is worth the cost. Our office files all legal paperwork and appears on your behalf in a required creditors and confirmation hearings before montana's bankruptcy court in the following counties: Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders.
Montana real estate
Our office can help you avoid realtor fees by drafting the necessary paperwork for your real estate transaction for a lower percentage than realtors charge. we also aid in drafting real estate agreements, easements, and other real estate agreements. we also offer aid to those who find themselves in real estate-related disputes.
There are several types of litigation. Civil litigation is the act of suing or being sued for civil violations (as opposed to criminal violations). This office considers representing clients who are involved in accidents, those who are involved in contractual, business, real estate, or other civil disputes.
In montana you may have legal recourse if you have been injured in an accident or as a result of someone else's negligence. Examples include auto accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice in Montana. The key to whether you can receive compensation is whether the other party was negligent. The analysis goes something like this:
1. Did the other party owe you a duty to act in a certain way? Normally, people have a duty to act as a reasonable person would in the same circumstances, or as a similarly situated practitioner reasonably should act.
2. If so, did the other party breach their duty to act in a certain way towards you?
3. If so, was the other party's breach of their duty the proximate cause of your injury?
4. If so, did you incur real damages, and what is the monetary value of your damages?
Contracts form the backbone of our daily interactions with other parties. Our office drafts numerous types of contracts and assists clients when they need to enforce their contracts with stubborn parties.
WHEN A PERSON DIES, WITH OR WITHOUT A WILL, Montana laws provide a legal process to determine his or her real and personal property and for determining the market value of the assets and their distribution to appropriate parties.
This process is called Probate. More specifically, probate proceedings have the following major functions: to determine the validity of and interpret Wills; to discover, collect, manage and protect estate assets until final distribution; to settle claims of creditors; to settle federal and state obligations, if due; to distribute the decedent’s property to his or her heirs according to Montana’s law of intestacy (dying without a Will) and devisees (those named in the Will); and to provide a method of securing the legal transfer of real estate or personal property ownership (cars, stocks, bonds, and so on). Although probate may seem lengthy and detailed, it is provided by Montana law to assure that the property of the deceased is accounted for, and that all debts and taxes are paid. Someone must carry out the business of the estate and see that the property is distributed to the designated parties.
We administer much of the probate process for you, including filing all legal documents with the court. We follow these steps:
STEP ONE is to determine if the decedent had a valid Will.
STEP TWO is determining if the assets belonging to the decedent are probate assets.
STEP THREE is to determine legally who the Personal Representative should be.
STEP FOUR is opening the Probate with the correct court in the county in which the decedent resided.
STEP FIVE is adhering with all legal requirements and steps provided for in montana law for carrying out the probate process, such as proper filings, proper notice to heirs and beneficiaries, proper notice to creditors and publication, drafting the inventory and accounting, and filing the closing paperwork.
STEP SIX is collecting, preserving, liquidating, and distributing all assets of the decedent.
STEP SEVEN is notifying creditors of the decedent and paying all valid creditor debts.
STEP EIGHT is formally closing the probate with the court and providing all required summary documents.
Estate planning is the process of arranging your affairs to meet your objectives regarding the use, conservation and distribution of your property. Basically, estate planning is a part of your overall financial plan because it involves the coordination of all your properties (stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, business interests, life insurance, retirement benefits and other assets) into a total program.
You can’t take these “riches” with you. Since someone is going to inherit your montana real and personal property, it seems only sensible to have the results of your hard-earned efforts distributed according to your wishes. And by planning, you can conserve as much of your assets as possible from the other costs of estate settlement.
There are six basic steps in the estate planning process:
1. Initiate the discussion.
2. Take stock of the present.
3. Develop objectives.
4. Choose professional advisers and discuss objectives.
5. Consider alternatives and implement the plan.
6. Review and modify.
Montana business law
The area of business law comprises a broad range of services. Our firm is often retained on a permanent retainer to help businesses with whatever comes up, from contract and lease drafting, to Montana secretary of state and department of revenue compliance, to governance and board of directors issues. scott has a degree in business management and serves on multiple boards of directors. Our firm handles all manner of Montana business law and compliance issues. We can help you with formation, bylaws, legal drafting, liability management, governance, and of course litigation.
The area of non-profit law comprises a broad range of services. Our firm is often retained on a permanent retainer to help non-profits and unincorporated associations with whatever comes up, from contract and lease drafting, to Montana secretary of state and department of revenue compliance, to governance and board of directors issues. scott has a degree in business management and serves on multiple boards of directors. Our firm handles all manner of Montana non-profit law and compliance issues. We can help you with formation, bylaws, legal drafting, liability management, governance, and of course litigation.
guardianship & conservatorship
In montana, you have choices about who can make decisions for you if you become mentally incapacitated due to age, disease, genetic predisposition, alzheimers, or accident. In one scenario, you can choose in advance what you would like to happen in the event you become incapacitated by drafting a proper will, advance medical directives (healthcare power of attorney or living will) and a financial power of attorney.
In the event that you do not make these elections in advance, they will be made for you. In montana, if a person hasn't made advance directives and becomes incapacitated, another person can petition the court to be able to make decisions for you. The person who is given the authority to make healthcare and well-being choices for you is called a guardian. The person who is given the authority to handle your assets, bank account, real estate, etc is called your conservator. The conservator and the guardian can be the same person in Montana. The process of having a guardian and conservator appointed in montana is similar to holding a small trial. It is much more time consuming and expensive than it is to make these decisions for yourself in advance.