Estate Planning Lawyer
Life is complicated.
Families can be complicated.
If it is complicated, contact me.
So Much to Plan. So Little Time. That’s Where I come in.
I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I graduated from the University of Missouri Honors College with a BA in History and Washington and Lee University Law School with a law degree. I spent my first decade post law school being a trial attorney, the second decade as president of GH Land Co., a real estate development company, my third decade raising children, and for my fourth decade I am deliberately back to practicing law, specializing in estate planning. I chose estate planning because it is a positive product that helps people.
Without estate planning, families are left in confusion and face a painful path to resolution of issues such as who inherits what.
My beliefs about practicing law are straightforward.
- I believe in listening to my clients.
- I believe in answering questions in an understandable way.
- I believe in teamwork to create the best estate plan for my clients, working with accountants and financial advisors as needed.
- I believe in fair pricing clearly stated and agreed upon up front.
- I believe in doing my best for my clients, every time.
- For me, integrity is not old fashioned, it is an everyday reality.
I am licensed to practice law in 4 states: Montana, Colorado, Illinois, and Missouri. I travel out of state for law courses such as an advanced estate planning class at New York Law School so that I stay current about developments in estate planning. I am a speaker for continuing education classes for Montana attorneys and have published treatises on topics such as Financial and Tax Hurdles in Probate Estates.
I work with you to plan your families’ future, stress and drama free. As an estate planner, I focus my practice on six areas of the law:
Wills, Powers of Attorneys, and End of Life Directives
A will is the legal document that lets you say how your property is to be distributed and also who raises your children if they are minors. Powers of attorney, both financial and for health care, are the documents wherein you give someone legal authority to help you with your money and medical decisions if you are injured or ill. An end of life directive is the legally enforceable written statement about whether you want to be kept artificially alive on life support.
A trust is a contract between you and another person in which the other person agrees to manage your property for the benefit of a loved one. For example, you can set up a revocable living trust to care for a spouse after you are gone. Most people do not know there is no minimum amount for a trust, or that if you have a trust you do not have to put all of your property into it.
To start and/or run a business is a monumental task, regardless of whether it is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company or a sub chapter s corporation. To not plan for what happens to a business at an unexpected event or retirement is a monumental mistake. Business succession planning maximizes money for retirement and/or one’s heirs and is part of good estate planning.
Real Estate Transfers
Probate is the legal process for the passage of property to the next generation. It occurs whether a person has a will saying what they want to happen to their property or does not have a will and is content to let the State say what happens to their property. In either event, the process is administered through the court which requires necessary legal papers.
Read and fill out my Getting Started questionnaire then email me a copy.
Schedule a time to meet
Create an Estate Plan
Sign Documents & Stay in Touch
I am a notary and I will stay with you throughout the entire process, including the signing of the documents. I am here for you if you have any questions after the signing of the documents.
What My Clients Say
I work with you to plan your families’ future, stress and drama free.
“Martha spent a lot of time and effort, for a very reasonable fee, creating and managing the distribution of our estate. Further, she acted as notary while personally filing all legal paperwork with the county and state. We highly recommend Martha.”
—Roland & Gretchen, Potomac, MT
“Martha is fantastic, quick to respond, eager to help and incredibly knowledgeable about estate law. Thanks, Martha!”
—Linda, Missoula, MT
“I trust Martha. She has managed my estate needs with expertise and professionalism, and with honesty and compassion.”
—Barbara Jackson, Seeley Lake, Montana
“Martha has shown an impressive depth of understanding of both the law and human relations.”
—Gary and Joyce, Missoula, Montana.