What is a Last Will and Testament


A Montana Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their children’s inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representative—or co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)—to manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedent’s debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedent’s property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usually—in most states—means it must be properly witnessed, as well—not just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedent’s debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedent’s heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedent’s property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Montana Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they don’t, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Montana free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Montana

What makes a person think over the necessity of creating the Last Will and Testament? No matter how wealthy you are, this document will serve as an official tool, helping to distribute the assets you possessed among your children, closest relatives, or beneficiaries. It is not only a good idea to make the Last Will if you are a pensioner or are fighting with some severe illness. Life is unpredictable — preparing this paper will simplify dealing with your property in an undesirable event.

Depending on where you reside, the rules of executing the Last Will will differ. In the state of Montana, you have to keep up with the following requirements:

  • It is mandatory that the testator is at least 18;

  • You have to be qualified as mentally capable of describing your decisions in the Last Will;

  • Only written issue-related forms will be considered effective;

  • You may choose to leave your assets to any person, even if they are not your relatives;

  • The document must be signed by the testator or someone on their behalf;

  • The document is required to be witnessed by two competent adults.

Once you have signed and witnessed the paper, it has to be proven effective by the probate court. Montana offers both formal and informal probate.

If you have decided to modify the Last Will you already executed, this is no big deal to fix that. A codicil will serve as an additional paper, providing the necessary extra details. In case you wish to completely revoke the document, you may opt for canceling it or executing another one.

But what happens if the deceased person did not have enough time to prepare the Last Will? Montana laws will regulate that the following way:

  • Normally, the surviving spouse receives the whole estate;

  • In case the deceased person and their spouse had shared children, and the spouse has other children as well, he or she will be granted 150,000 US dollars and half the balance;

  • If the deceased person and the spouse had shared children and the decedent also had children from other partners, the surviving spouse gets 100,000 US dollars of the estate and half the balance;

  • If the couple did not have children, but there are parents of the decedent, the assets will be distributed among them and the spouse.

Make sure to understand the difference between the Last Will and Testament and the Living Will. The Last Will is created to simplify financial assets distribution, while the Living Will consists of a set of instructions to the designated agent and medical personnel concerning the executor’s health care preferences. This document will include, for instance, information about whether the patient wishes to receive life-sustaining treatment, be artificially fed, and other related matters.



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