ANGEL, COIL & BARTLETT is a Bozeman, Montana law firm with attorneys who advise clients on Montana’s probate and estate administration process. We serve the towns of Southwest Montana including Bozeman, Big Sky, Big Timber, Ennis, Livingston, Gardner, and Three Forks.
Issues and problems arising after the death of a loved one can be overwhelming. Angel, Coil & Bartlett has attorneys who assist and advise on Montana’s legal administrative process for wrapping up decedents affairs. This process is generally termed “Probate.” Administering an estate through this probate process can be relatively simple and straightforward. Other times, probate can be challenging, lengthy, and ripe with legal issues. Regardless of the complexity, the probate process ensures that property of the deceased is accounted for, debts and taxes are paid or disposed of, and any remaining property is properly disbursed.
Some of the main steps involved in the probate process include the following:
• Filing of necessary initial documents to open an estate
• Appointing a Personal Representative
• Preparing statutory notices to interested persons
• Gathering estate assets
• Conducting an inventory and appraisal of the assets
• Dealing with creditor claims and tax issues
• Provide accountings to the court
• Ensuring that assets are properly transferred or liquidated.
Montana has adopted the Uniform Probate Code or UPC. The UPC lays out the different laws that must be adhered to when probating an estate. The probate process in Montana generally occurs in one of four ways. A person can die testate (with a Will) or intestate (without a Will). Furthermore, the probate proceeding can be formal (court supervision) or informal (without direct court supervision but rather through the Clerk of Court). Other ways of administrating estates also exist and may be useful as specific circumstances may warrant.
Probate generally occurs when the decedent held assets in his or her name alone. Because the individual is no longer available to transfer property to others, the court will appoint an individual to be the Personal Representative of the estate to act in the place and stead of the decedent. The Personal Representative is charged with making sure that the probate process is done correctly and that the affairs of the deceased are completed in accordance with Montana law. A person is generally appointed Personal Representative based on being named to that position in the decedent’s Will or is appointed by the court in instances where no Will exists and law establishes their priority status. We work closely with the Personal Representative throughout the probate process.
Contact ANGEL, COIL & BARTLETT for legal assistance concerning Montana’s probate process. This summary is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.