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How may estate planning help my heirs avoid probate in Montana?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Estate Planning

Montana’s probate code allows certain heirs to skip probate court procedures when a deceased’s estate has a value of less than $50,000. As noted by SmartAsset, if heirs do not contest a will, they may instead settle the estate through an “informal” probate process.

The informal probate process does not require a lengthy court procedure. Your heirs may take ownership of your assets with the assistance of a clerk and the personal representative named in your will. While Montana does not impose estate taxes, your estate’s representative may settle any final taxes that remain due.

Real estate holdings

If your assets do not include any real estate, your heirs may avoid probate. If you own any real estate, however, your property’s deed may need to transfer to your intended heir through the probate court.

Your named heir may avoid probate when listed as a joint tenant or co-owner on your property’s deed. When you die, the person named on a title through a “joint tenancy with right of survivorship” then inherits your half of the property.

Transfer-on-death accounts

You may change the documents related to your financial accounts so that your heirs receive your remaining assets and also avoid probate. As noted by, you may add transfer-on-death beneficiaries to bank and brokerage accounts. After your death, the holding company transfers the money or stocks left in the accounts to the individual named in your TOD documents.

With some well-thought estate planning, you could arrange for a smooth transfer of your assets, and it may not require probate. If you have reason to believe your heirs may dispute your will’s instructions, you could also consider setting up a trust.