In Montana, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your choice on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in Montana may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Montana
Estate plans in Montana almost always have these elements:
Will: If you've determined who you want to leave your property and money to after you die, you should make these wishes official, by writing a will. When writing a will, it's always a good idea to have the assistance of an attorney, since many problems can come up which might make the will much more challenging to implement, or they might even void it entirely. Common problems include ambiguities in the terms of the will (a term which is not precisely written, so it can be interpreted differently by reasonable people), as well as failure to follow the obligated formalities.
Power of Attorney: Sometimes, people fear that they may become incapacitated (because of injury, illness, or mental deterioration), and that they won't be able to make their own decisions. Fortunately, if you want, you can grant a family member or close friend (or someone else you absolutely trust) legal authority to make essential decisions for you, if you are ever incapacitated. This is known as "power of attorney."
Funeral Arrangements: If you have any choice whatsoever on how your mortal remains should be handled, you should make it clear to your family, in writing. You should additionally make the necessary arrangements with a funeral home, in advance. If possible, you should try to pay in advance for your funeral expenses, to save your survivors the further burden of planning and paying for a funeral. These arrangements should be laid out somewhere other than in your will, because a will typically isn't read for days or weeks after the testator's death, by which point it is usually too late.
Do I Need a Montana Estate Planning Attorney?
These decisions are typically considered extremely significant. For that reason, you will likely find that the cost of hiring a Montana attorney to be well worth its cost.
Interesting Facts About Montana
Montana is a western U.S. state famous for its mountain ranges. In fact, the state contains over 70 of the named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. Montana has several unofficial nicknames such as "Land of the Shining Mountains". It is often chosen as the setting for films involving America's "great outdoors". Millions of tourists visit Montana yearly for its numerous National parks and monuments.
Montana laws are overseen by the Montana State Legislature. The state of Montana has historically been a major influence in the area of women's rights laws. For example, Montana was the first state to ever elect a woman to Congress in the year 1916. It was also one of the first of the 50 states to provide for women's voting rights. Montana law is also generated through case law.
Due to the state's rich geography, many Montana legal cases revolve around the issues of natural resources and environmental concerns. One such case is Montana v. United States (1981). This case involved a dispute over access to fishing on Crow Nation tribal lands by non-tribal members. The case helped to clarify the limits on interactions between tribal governments and the U.S. federal government.
Lawyers in Montana are available to assist clients with various legal issues. Legal questions or disputes can be directed to an experienced Montana lawyer, who will provide counsel and representation on the matter. Working with a Montana attorney at the beginning of a project can help prevent legal disputes in the future.