Montana: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for Montana. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

If you or a loved one lives in Montana, there are a number of important forms, documents, resources, and specific state laws you should be aware of. Whether you are handling a guardianship of an elderly person, or just want to know how probate court or inheritance law works, continue reading for some of the more important documents and laws you should know about.

Essential Montana Medical State Laws & Forms

How to Get Your Medical Records in Montana

Montana law (37.106.402) requires the following health care providers to retain medical records for different lengths of time:

  • Hospitals: Must keep hospital records for at least 10 years after a patient’s last treatment. If the patient is a minor, the hospital must retain records for ten years after they turn 18.
  • X-rays and images: Must be retained by medical providers for 5 years.

In Montana you have a right to access and view your medical records. You also have a right to amend and add information to your medical records. However, depending on the nature of the medical records, certain information may not be eligible for amendment. Speaking with your healthcare provider regarding amendments is the best option. Fees vary from office to office.

According to Montana (Title 50-16-540), a fee cannot exceed a total of $15 for a medical provider to collect and gather medical records. Each page cannot be charged at more than $0.50.

Montana Advance Directive Forms & Laws

How to Create a Living Will in Montana

Download the Montana living will form. This form has additional documents related to creating a medical POA, or medical proxy.

Montana Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)

DNRs are allowed in Montana. Download a standard DNR form here. It’s also in the same packet as the living will and POA form. Two witnesses must sign the DNR.

Montana Durable Medical Power of Attorney (POA)

This form is available in Montana and allows you to name another person to be your agent. This agent will have the ability to make medical decisions for you.

This is also available in this form that can establish your living will. Witnesses or notaries are not required in Montana for a medical POA

Montana Organ Donor Registry

If you want to be an organ donor in Montana, you can learn more and register at Donate Life Today’s registry website.

Essential Montana Legal & Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Trusts and Probate Laws in Montana

According to Title 72, most estates in Montana will have to go through the probate process. A living trust is one way to avoid going through the probate process. In Montana you can also create transfer-on-death deeds. These deeds don’t take effect until the person dies, after which the estate can transfer to an inheritor.

Additionally, an executor may file an affidavit for a small estate if the value of the estate does not exceed $50,000.

There is also a “simplified probate process” which can be requested in writing by an executor. After communicating the facts and circumstances to a probate judge, the court will decide whether the probate process can be skipped. 

Montana Digital Estate Planning Laws

Montana recently incorporated digital estate planning laws in 2017. The new statute provides information on how to properly manage and protect digital estates, their assets, and communications.

Montana Probate Laws

If a person’s estate is intestate because they die without a will, it will be distributed through Montana’s intestacy laws. This is a process that involves distributing assets to the closest relatives.

Intestacy succession laws are available here, as well as in Title 72 Chapter 2

How to Get a Marriage, Birth, and Death Certificate in Montana

Montana has collected the information on how to obtain each of these vital records in one webpage. These forms can also be ordered online at the same website:

  • Marriage certificate: The cost to acquire a marriage certificate copy is $10
  • Birth certificate: The cost to acquire a death certificate copy is $12. Additional copies are $5
  • Death certificate: The cost to acquire a death certificate copy is $12. Additional copies are $5

Does Montana Have an Estate & Inheritance Tax?

  • Estate tax: There are no estate taxes in Montana
  • Inheritance tax: There are no inheritance taxes in Montana
  • Gift tax: There are no gift taxes in Montana 

Be aware that you are still responsible for federal taxes on an inheritance.

Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning in Montana

Montana has a number of unique state laws when it comes to your medical records, inheritance taxes, wills, trusts, and estate planning. Navigate the strict probate process and lax estate tax with confidence with your customized and organized Pillar account. You can scan, store, and share your most important state documents when you need them with Pillar's secure and easy-to-use online storage tool for you and your family.

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