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The Power of Planning Ahead

By Danielle M. Shyne, Attorney/Owner of Shyne Law Group, PLLC in Bozeman, MT


Planning ahead and preparing for the unexpected are essential elements in any family’s financial well-being.  Having an estate plan is among the most important things you can do for your loved ones. However, it is estimated that over 70% of Montanans die without a will and even more have failed to plan for incapacity.[1]  Many individuals and families spend more time preparing for a vacation or birthday party than on their estate and incapacity planning.


In general, an estate plan is a collection of legal documents that outline how you want your assets to be distributed when you pass away and designates who will and how to manage your financial and healthcare decisions if you are unable to do so for yourself during your lifetime.


Without a plan, the State of Montana determines who inherits your assets.  Estate planning is generally accomplished through a will or trust.  Providing gifts to charity, preventing family disputes – particularly in blended families, and business succession all require planning. 


Failing to plan for incapacity can be overwhelming and intimidating for your family if you are no longer able to manage your assets or healthcare due to illness or injury.  Expensive, time-consuming court processes are often required after incapacity.  Planning for incapacity is accomplished through a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Property, a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, a “HIPPA” authorization, and often a living will.


A comprehensive estate plan can help you feel more confident about the future and ensure you have planned for the unexpected.  It is often beneficial to have a team of financial, tax, and legal professionals help guide you through the process. It can never be too early to start planning, but it can be too late.


Each and every day until 2030, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65.[2] As many as six million people aged 65 and older live with a dementia related illness,[3] and Genworth estimates that 7 out of 10 people will require long term care in their lifetime.[4] The average cost of traditional in-home health care services is Montana is over $5,000 per month.  The cost of assisted living, nursing home, or memory care unit can range between $4,000 to almost $10,000 per month depending on the level of care needed.  Planning for long term care costs must be factored into your estate plan and accomplished early.  Determining if you can self-pay, qualify for long-term care insurance, Medicaid, or Veteran’s benefits are important discussion to have.


Now is the time to plan and you don’t have to do it alone.  Call Shyne Law Group, PLLC or visit our website at to schedule an advice planning session.

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