Managing Monthly Expenses Estate Planning Savings

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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.


Estate Planning / End of Life

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.


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.

Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate? Transferring Non-Titled Property

The transfer of non-titled property such as photographs and other family heirlooms often creates more challenges among family members than the transfer of titled property. Here's how to deal with some of the issues that may arise.

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

IRS Capital Gains and Losses

Almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset. 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.

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.


Family and Personal Finance

Saving Money on Food

Tips and tricks for before and after your trip to the grocery store.

Tips and Tricks for Saving Money at the Grocery Store

With the increase in food costs, finding ways to save money at the grocery store might seem challenging, however, it is not impossible.

Blended Families: Making Financial Decisions

BLENDED FAMILIES ARE FORMED WHEN one or both spouses have children from earlier relationships or marriages. In blended families, the couple may also have children together resulting in a family of “his,” “hers,” and “ours.” While many of these blended families develop spending plans and successfully
communicate about their financial goals, others often face additional factors making financial decision-making morecomplex than in “first-family” situations.

Premarital Agreement Contracts in Montana: Financial and Legal Aspects

A premarital agreement contract can help couples resolve concerns over money, work, children, the home, and other mutual issues. This publication lists items to consider and highlights some of the financial and legal aspects of this contract.

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.

Fiduciary Access to Electronic Communications and Digital Assets

The Montana Legislature passed the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act in 2017. The Act allows Montanans to give consent to trusted individuals to access their electronic communications and other digital assets.

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.

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.

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.

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

Documenting Home Contents for Insurance Purposes

Is your home inventory up to date? It can feel overwhelming and take a while to make the first list. But just in case your house burns down, floods, or another disaster strikes, you would have a record of what was owned for insurance purposes. Thank goodness making a household inventory today is much easier when using the tech tools many of us have at our fingertips.

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) (pdf) 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