What is Estate Planning

Estate planning is the creation of a definite plan to manage your assets while you’re alive and to distribute your assets after your death.

Estate planning involves topics that most people would rather avoid: incapacity, death, and taxes. Many people do not give proper thought to the possibility of becoming incapacitated, or the certainty of their own death, yet incapacity will happen to most of us, and death will happen to all of us.

Estate planning forces us to face the financial and emotional consequences of incapacity and death and take action to minimize the effects on our families. But estate planning is not all that complicated. When people are asked to summarize their estate planning wishes, most simply say that:

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1) They want their assets to be managed efficiently if they become incapacitated;
2) They want their estate to be distributed at their death to the people they choose according to their wishes;

3) They want to minimize executor and legal fees and court costs, and avoid unnecessary delays in passing on their property; and

4) They want to avoid, or at least minimize, the payment of death taxes (the Federal Estate Tax).

Thompson Painter Law P.C.  helps you accomplish your estate planning goals.


Our services include:

Estate Planning

You receive consultation and planning to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

Living Trusts

Our firm specializes in Revocable Living Trusts. Read about what a Living Trust can do for you.

Special needs and divorce protection

You learn how to protect family members and you get informed advice on these important estate planning issues.

Long-term health care

You can make sure that you have properly outlined necessary health care instructions.

Creditor & Asset protection

You find out how you can protect your estate and your heirs from lawsuits.

Trust administration

Your family can get help in distributing your estate after the first and second spouses pass away according to your Trust dictates.

Structured buy-out plans

You can plan for your children to sell land and assets.

Retirement planning

You can ensure that your tax-deferred accounts are properly structured to give your family the greatest tax advantages possible.

Probate assistance

You can get the assistance you need on the death of someone with or without a Will.

Advanced planning

You can get assistance with matters such as Family Limited Partnerships, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, and Charitable Remainder Trusts, among others.

Updating documents

You can ensure that your affairs are in order with regular estate reviews, and amend or restate your existing estate plan to ensure its effectiveness.

Tax planning

You can preserve your wealth and reduce taxes with proper planning.

What a living trust can do for you.

A Living Trust eliminates a Living Probate

If you should become incapacitated (unable to manage your affairs), your Living Trust avoids the need for a court-conservatorship.  The successor trustee you will name in your Living Trust will step in and manage your affairs without court action and without unnecessary expense.


A Living Trust avoids Death Probate

With a Living Trust, your assets will go directly to your beneficiaries after your death.  There will be no probate fees or court costs.  There will be no unnecessary delay in distributing your assets, and all your estate planning goals will be completely private.


A Living Trust can reduce or eliminate the Federal Estate Tax

Proper Estate Planning can make sure that a married couple’s estate gets two exemptions. See page 12 for the exemptions.


A Living Trust allows you to direct how your estate is managed and spent even after your death

Your trust can provide that after your death your assets can be distributed outright to your children or other beneficiaries.  However, if you wish, your Living Trust can provide for the care, support, and education of your children by turning over assets to them only at an age chosen by you.  Even life insurance proceeds can be paid to the trust, and if that is done, your successor trustee can also manage the insurance proceeds for the benefit of your family.


A Living Trust can protect your spouse and also your children of a previous marriage

Your surviving spouse, as well as your children from a previous marriage, can receive fair treatment and protection under the terms of your Living Trust.


A Living Trust can carry out your wishes without being subject to attack

Your Living Trust may contain a “No Contest clause” that helps deter grasping heirs from attacking your estate plan.


A Living Trust gives you peace of mind 

When your Living Trust is completed, you and your family will know that your estate will be managed by someone you have selected, and will be distributed to the beneficiaries you have named, in the manner you decide on.

Do you need Estate Planning?

Thompson Painter Law P.C. is located in Billings, MT (Yellowstone County). We assist clients from all over eastern Montana, as well as Livingston and Bozeman, with living trusts and other estate planning needs.

If you are unsure if you need estate planning, just call our office: 406-294-4230, M – Th 8-5 and Friday 8-2 (closed over the noon hour). Ask for our free initial telephone interview. One of our staff members will ask you some no-obligation questions to determine if our estate planning services can help you and your family.

Or send us an email with your telephone number and estate planning concern. Our staff will contact you during our business hours.