MSU Extension Provides Information About Selecting An Attorney To Develop An Estate Plan Or Administer An Estate

MSU Extension has released a new MontGuide providing information about selecting an attorney to develop and implement an estate plan or to provide legal help with the probate process.

“When selecting an attorney to help develop an estate plan, it is helpful to have one who is well-informed about Montana will and trust laws, and other legal tools. You want the attorney to develop an estate plan tailored to your needs, by considering your age, health, family, income, assets, goals, and other circumstances,” says Marsha Goetting, MSU Extension family economics specialist.

“If the goal is to find an attorney to help settle an estate or administer a probate, then look for one who is knowledgeable about the probate process and trust law in Montana as attorneys have different areas of expertise,” said Ed Eck, co-author and Professor Emeritus, Alexander MontGuide Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana.

The MontGuide outlines four steps Montanans could use to find the right attorney for them. Step one: searching for an attorney to help develop an estate plan, the first step is to organize information the attorney needs to know, or if searching for an attorney to help probate an estate, the first step is or organize information about the deceased. Step two: find attorneys to consider, step three: schedule a meeting with the attorney(s) from step two and prepare, and step four: take part in the meetings and evaluate.

Try asking friends or family members for referrals of attorneys, make an appointment. Ask what information you should bring to the meeting. If you are searching for help with developing an estate plan, the attorney may send a questionnaire for you to complete before the appointment.

Before meeting with the attorney, prepare a list of questions to ask. During the initial session ask what percent of the attorney’s practice consists of estate planning and estate administration. Ask about the fee, if any, for the meeting. Often, attorneys do not charge for the first meeting. Like you, the attorney wants to assess whether the attorney’s knowledge and skills are a fit for your needs and consider whether you and the attorney “click.”

“Montanans who have been through the estate planning process emphasize the importance of having a good relationship with the attorney,” emphasizes Goetting. The process of selecting an attorney whose major focus is estate planning or estate administration takes time. However, when you find an attorney you feel comfortable with and trust, you will feel the time spent was worth it.

To get the “Selecting and Attorney in Montana to Develop an Estate Plan or Administer an Estate” MontGuide and other estate planning MontGuides, contact Carrie Krug at the MSU Extension Richland County office at 406-433-1206 or find them online here:


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