Announcements and Upcoming Events

MSU Extension Services MontGuides

MSU Extension Services provides MontGuides on many economic topics.  If you don't see what you are looking for on our site please visit the MSU Extension website for a comprehensive collection of articles and resources. 

Remote Work Certificate Program - MSU

Montana State University Extension has partnered with Utah State University Extension to offer the Remote Work Professional certificate program, a 1-month specialized course designed to equip workers and business owners with training needed to:

  • Find a job working remotely for a company
  • Expand a business to serve customers remotely
  • Increase skill levels for people already working remotely

Participants receive assistance with finding a remote job, with building their business and connecting to a network of other remote workers.

Courses begin again in January.


Estate Planning / End of Life

Fabulous Fridays - Estate/Legacy Planning Webinar

MSU will be offering a 6 part series webinar each Friday from January 27 - March 3, 2023 from 10-11 am.

Estate Planning in Montana - Getting Started

Estate planning is the process of arranging your affairs regarding the use and distribution of your property. This publication covers six steps in the estate planning process as well as twenty common objectives.

Life Estate: A Useful Estate Planning Tool

A life estate is a type of ownership interest in property allowing a person to have possession of real property (typically land, or a home or other buildings on the land) during their lifetime. Then, after death, another person or entity (such as a charity or non-profit organization) gains full ownership of the property. This MontGuide answers questions Montanans have asked about life estates.

What is a Will

Answers common questions about wills, including costs, restrictions, and changes after its completion.

Dying Without a Will in Montana

This publication includes legal terms and detailed examples of possible scenarios for distribution of your property under Montana law should you pass away before writing a will.

Testamentary Trusts in Montana

A testamentary trust allows a trustee to manage assets on behalf of a beneficiary. A settlor is a person who creates a testamentary trust. The terms of the trust are set forth in the settlor’s written Will. A testamentary trust does not legally exist until the settlor dies and the Will of the settlor passes through the probate process. This MontGuide answers questions Montanans have asked about testamentary trusts.

Using Trusts in an Estate Plan to Provide for Children From Blended Families

While estate planning is an important issue for Montana families, blended families bring unique challenges to the process. Testamentary and Clayton Election Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trusts are alternatives to help blended families achieve a variety of estate planning goals.

Income Tax Impact While Selling, Gifting, or Leaving Property as an Inheritance

Before reaching a decision to sell, give, or leave property as an inheritance, owners should become aware of the income tax concepts of basis and adjusted basis. Property owners should also know the difference between the stepped-up basis on inherited property and the carryover basis on property the owner gifts during lifetime. This MontGuide will expand on the above concepts and illustrate the potential tax consquences. 

IRS Capital Gains and Losses

Almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset. Examples include a home, personal-use items like household furnishings, and stocks or bonds held as investments. When you sell a capital asset, the difference between the adjusted basis in the asset and the amount you realized from the sale is a capital gain or a capital loss. 

Power of Attorney

This publication explains how to give another person authority to make financial decisions for you through a legal document known as a power of attorney. Information about the Montana Uniform Power of Attorney Act that was passed by the 2011 Montana Legislature is provided. Features of the new Statutory Power of Attorney form are explained.

Selecting an Attorney in Montana to Develop an Estate Plan or Administer an Estate (Probate)

This MontGuide describes a process for selecting an attorney to help Montanans develop an estate plan and/or administer an estate (probate).

Probate in Montana

Probate is the administrative process of settling an estate whether a decedent died with or without a will. This MontGuide describes probate functions, types of estate administration, cost of probate and protections for surviving immediate family members.

Settling an Estate: What Do I Need to Know?

This MontGuide is designed to help survivors start the process of settling an estate and ease the burden following the death of a loved one. It discusses tasks in the order they are commonly completed. The order presented is not necessarily the correct order for every estate because each estate is different.


Family and Personal Finance

Montana Medical Care Savings Accounts for 2022 - 2023 Tax Years

A Medical Care Savings Account (MSA) can provide a reduction in Montana state income tax. This MontGuide explains who is eligible, what expenses are allowed, and how to set up an MSA.

Schedule of Non-Monthly Family Living Expenses

This MontGuide includes instructions and a worksheet for establishing the true monthly cost of your family’s living expenses.

Tracking Food Expenses

This worksheet provides you a tool to track where your food expenses are being spent.

First-time Home Buyer Savings Account

Montana residents can save money in a special savings account for the purchase of a first home and save on Montana income taxes.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

The dramatic rise in health care expenses in recent years has prompted some
individuals to combine a high deductible health insurance policy with a federal
Health Savings Account (HSA) to control these costs. This MontGuide provides
basic information about HSAs.

Medicaid and Long Term Care Costs

Outlines the legal and tax ramifications, as well as impacts on emotional and physical health, of financing long-term care.

Develop a Spending Plan

A spending plan helps reduce the need for consumer credit, save for things wanted and live within your income. This MontGuide, with worksheets, will help you balance your income and expenses so that money is available for the things your family needs most.

Track'n Your Savings Goals

What are you saving for? A car or truck? A house? A family vacation? When will you need the money? Next month? Next summer? Next year? When the kids go to college? At retirement? Building up savings for these types of goals isn’t easy – it takes a lot of effort to decide on a savings plan and stick with it.

Solid Finance$ Series

The series is designed to provide adults with an unbiased resource for enhancing their personal financial skills. There is no cost to participate in Solid Finances.  Each webinar will address a specific topic.

Montana 529 Plan (Minor College Savings Plan)

Being a parent comes along with cuts and bruises, spilled milk, sleepless nights, laughter and tears, uncertainties, and a whole lot of love. But with Achieve Montana, Montana’s 529 plan, saving for your child’s college education is simple. Our investment options are designed for tax benefits now and college savings for the future. Because you have other things to worry about right now – like enjoying every moment.

Minimizing the Impact of Inflation on the Budget

Inflation in general terms is out of the control of the average individual. However, an individual can take some actions to minimize the impact of inflation on their finances.


This MontGuide describes types of annuities, contract charges, settlement options, tax consequences, shopping tips, and protections for investors provided by Montana law.


Articles, Resources and Useful Links

Forces That Will Shape the U.S. Rural Economy in 2023

The U.S. economy still has considerable momentum and is not currently on the verge of recession. However, economists have never been more pessimistic and there are very legitimate reasons for concern.

Economic Impact of Agriculture - Judith Basin County (2021)

Judith Basin County is a rural sparsely populated county located in the central part of the state. Over 71% of land in Judith Basin County is classified as farm land. Judith Basin County's economic impact on agriculture in Montana can be found here.

Medicare Basics - How does Medicare Work

Original Medicare covers most, but not all of the costs for approved health care services and supplies. After you meet your deductible, you pay your share of costs for services and supplies as you get them. There’s no limit on what you’ll pay out-of-pocket in a year unless you have other coverage (like Medigap, Medicaid, or employee or union coverage).

What is the Farm Services Agency (FSA)?

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administers many loan, direct payment, and other agricultural assistance programs. People who can benefit from FSA programs include farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers, including those getting started in agriculture.


For More Information Visit: MSU Extension Family Economics