Billings Probate Attorneys

Compassionate Legal Support in Montana 

Losing a loved one is difficult enough without having to deal with probate and other legal matters that may arise in the wake of someone’s passing. Proactive action can alleviate a great deal of the burden associated with probate, but even the most comprehensive estate plan will not eliminate the process entirely.

Probate can be stressful and overwhelming, but our goal is to make the process as efficient and painless as possible. Our Billings probate lawyers are prepared to guide you through each stage of settling your loved one’s estate. At Dietrich & Associates, P.C., we have over 36 years of legal experience and know how to handle all types of probate complications and conflicts.  

We have represented high-net-worth individuals and can handle estates of all sizes. Call (406) 344-1310 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.

What is a Probate Lawyer?

Probate lawyers (also known as estate lawyers) serve as administrators or executives of estates for their clients after a loved one passes away. The process involves distributing the assets of the estate, paying the deceased person's debts, and more. 

Our Billings probate attorneys can assist you with each step of the process, including:

  • Filing the last will and testament
  • Preparing and filing documents required by the court in a timely manner
  • Keeping track of the estate’s checking account
  • Locating, securing, and inventorying probate and non-probate assets
  • Obtaining date-of-death values and appraisals of property
  • Collecting life insurance proceeds
  • Managing retirement plans, including IRAs and 401(k)s
  • Offering advice concerning the payment of the decedent’s final bills and outstanding debts
  • Determining if any estate and/or inheritance taxes will be due
  • Addressing income tax issues
  • Settling disputes among personal representatives, beneficiaries, and other interested parties
  • Assisting with the sale of estate property
  • Requesting court permission for various actions
  • Retitling real estate if it is not sold
  • Distributing what remains of the decedent’s assets after paying all debts and taxes

How Probate Works in Montana

Every estate will need to go through some level of probate, the court-supervised process for settling someone’s final affairs. Unfortunately, probate is known for being expensive, time-consuming, and often rife with conflict. 

Most people name an executor to oversee their estate in their last will and testament. If there is no enforceable will, the court will appoint an executor. This personal representative will need to fulfill numerous legal responsibilities involved in the inventorying of property, payment of debts, and distribution of assets. A legal representative can provide sophisticated guidance and represent the deceased’s estate in the event of a will contest or any other type of dispute.

Avoiding Probate in Montana

Because probate can be so costly and onerous, it is almost always in your best interest to avoid it wherever possible. Keep in mind that probate assets will only be distributed after all debts and taxes have been paid. Your personal representative may be forced to liquidate assets to settle these obligations, which can jeopardize planned inheritances.

Creating an estate plan can minimize the consequences of probate. Assets placed in trusts are generally exempt from the process and can be distributed more efficiently to beneficiaries. Certain types of irrevocable trusts can also be used to achieve asset protection and reduce the impact of federal estate taxes. Our team at Dietrich & Associates, P.C. can walk you through your planning options and implement the tools that are right for your estate. 

In Montana, an expedited probate procedure may also be available to small estates. This option may be pursued if the estate’s total value does not exceed the homestead allowance, family allowance, exempt property, funeral expenses, medical expenses, family allowance, and costs of estate administration. 

Protecting Your Loved One's Estate

When a loved one passes away, their estate can become vulnerable to various legal and financial challenges. At Dietrich & Associates, P.C., our experienced probate attorneys in Billings are dedicated to protecting your loved one's estate and ensuring their final wishes are carried out.

Here are some ways our probate attorneys can help:

  • Asset Evaluation: We will thoroughly evaluate your loved one's assets, including property, investments, and personal belongings, to determine the value of the estate.
  • Probate Administration: Our attorneys will guide you through the probate process, handling all necessary paperwork, court filings, and communication with beneficiaries and creditors.
  • Estate Distribution: We will work diligently to ensure that your loved one's estate is distributed according to their wishes, minimizing disputes among beneficiaries.
  • Estate Tax Planning: Our team can help you navigate complex estate tax laws, potentially reducing the tax burden on the estate and maximizing the inheritance for beneficiaries.
  • Contested Probate: If disputes or conflicts arise during the probate process, our skilled attorneys will provide strong legal representation to protect your interests and resolve any issues.

At Dietrich & Associates, P.C., we understand that estate administration can be a challenging and emotional process. Our compassionate legal team is here to provide the support and guidance you need during this difficult time.

If you have questions about probate laws in Montana or need to speak to a legal professional who understands the process, do not hesitate to contact us online or call (406) 344-1310.

When does it make sense to hire a probate attorney to litigate a trust in Montana?

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  • “I would just like to say that the level of professionalism they maintain is extraordinary!” - Matthew M.
  • “David is a phenomenal lawyer and an empathetic human being.” - David P.
  • “Tough to get into but definitely worth it.” - Former Client
  • “Mr. Dietrich is an expert in the law and understands people.” - WS
  • “David and his crew were awesome!” - Tasha K.
  • “Overall the finest lawyer I have ever felt with.” - Evelyn M.
  • “I have referred countless clients to David Dietrich and Associates over the year, and, will continue that practice.” - William D.
  • “I have such confidence in him that I have referred family, friends, and business associates.” - Former Client
  • “I can't recommend them enough!” - DB.

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