Montana State University
Dying Without a Will in Montana

Montana Intestate Succession statutes do not control the distribution of payable upon death (POD) deposits, transfer on death (TOD) designations, or joint tenancy with right of survivorship contracts (pdf file - 28 pages) or other contracts in which you have a designated beneficiary such as a life insurance policy, annuities or individual retirement accounts (IRAs).  However, if you have named your estate as the beneficiary or if your designated beneficiaries have predeceased you and an alternative beneficiary is not named, then Montana Intestate Succession statutes apply.

For more information about exceptions to Montana Intestate Succession statutes refer to the MSU Extension MontGuides below:

  • Accessing a Deceased Person's Financial Accounts. (MT200301HR)
    This publication describes how heirs of a deceased person can access his/her financial accounts, depending on whether the accounts were owned jointly with other individuals, had payable-on-death or transfer-on-death designations, or had no designated beneficiary.

  • Designating Beneficiaries through Contractual Arrangements. (MT199901HR)
    Do you know what would happen if you transferred life insurance proceeds to your grandson in your will, but named your daughter as the beneficiary on the policy? Which takes precedence? This MontGuide focuses on transferring your assets through contractual arrangements, such as those commonly found with life insurance policies, IRAs and employee benefit plans. 

  • Life Insurance: An Estate Planning Tool. (MT199211HR)
    Explains when life insurance is an appropriate tool of a family's estate plan. 

  • Property Ownership. (MT198907HR)
    Describes the three main forms of property ownership: sole ownership, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, and tenancy in common with real-life examples of estate settlement for each.