Our goal is to lift the burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on what is most important—coming to terms with your loss and preparing to move on with your life.

Steve Darty

When a loved one has passed, what all must be done?  We need to secure property, obtain death certificates, close accounts, notify the credit agencies, and the list goes on, particularly when dependents are involved.  We need a forum to address all of the legal matters triggered as well.  In Montana, that usually means opening probate.

Probate may seem like a uniform, routine  procedure, but every family is different and therefore different variables must be addressed for every probate.  Often the most important probate questions those you may not know to ask.

Probate is the State of Montana’s process for 1) validating a will or determining the legal heirs if there is not a will or trust, 2) freezing the assets then ensuring the decedent’s debts are settled before the heirs inherit, and 3) paying applicable taxes and “closing the books” on the decedent’s affairs.

Montana Probate is administered in the County District Court and is therefore public information.  In Montana, probate is typically an “informal” process, meaning there are no appearances in front of a judge, but rather all documents are filed with the Clerk of District Court, assuming the will is uncontested.  A personal representative (PR) of the decedent is appointed and has a fiduciary responsibility to the estate to dutifully administer the probate proceedings.  This means the PR can be held civilly liable for mismanaging the distributions, even if the mistakes are accidental.  This can be a daunting, stressful process and is often performed by someone still dealing with the loss of a loved one.

As you can imagine, accomplishing all of this takes an enormous amount of time and can be extremely frustrating. When you factor in the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one, the process can seem overwhelming.  Most PRs are serving in this capacity for the first time and halfway through the process decide an experienced Montana probate attorney is needed.  The assets in the estate pay the attorney fees and hiring an experienced probate lawyer often saves money in the end.

The Darty Law Office is an experienced Missoula probate law firm helping clients throughout the state of Montana.  We help families navigate the process and settle the estate as quickly and economically as possible.  Our goal is to lift the burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on what is most important—coming to terms with your loss and preparing to move on with your life.  If a loved one of yours has recently passed and you would like a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss the next steps, please request a consultation today.

 

 

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