2022 Montana Code Annotated
Title 72. Estates, Trusts, and Fiduciary Relationships
Chapter 1. Uniform Probate Code General Provisions
Part 1. Short Title, Definitions, Construction, and General Provisions
72-1-103. General definitions

Universal Citation: MT Code § 72-1-103 (2022)

72-1-103. General definitions. Subject to additional definitions contained in the subsequent chapters that are applicable to specific chapters, parts, or sections and unless the context otherwise requires, in chapters 1 through 6, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Agent" includes an attorney-in-fact under a durable or nondurable power of attorney, an individual authorized to make decisions concerning another's health care, and an individual authorized to make decisions for another under a natural death act.

(2) "Application" means a written request to the clerk for an order of informal probate or appointment under chapter 3, part 2.

(3) "Beneficiary", as it relates to:

(a) a trust beneficiary, includes a person who has any present or future interest, vested or contingent, and also includes the owner of an interest by assignment or other transfer;

(b) a charitable trust, includes any person entitled to enforce the trust;

(c) a beneficiary of a beneficiary designation, refers to a beneficiary of:

(i) an account with POD designation or a security registered in beneficiary form (TOD); or

(ii) any other nonprobate transfer at death; and

(d) a beneficiary designated in a governing instrument, includes a grantee of a deed, a devisee, a trust beneficiary, a beneficiary of a beneficiary designation, a donee, and a person in whose favor a power of attorney or a power held in any individual, fiduciary, or representative capacity is exercised.

(4) "Beneficiary designation" refers to a governing instrument naming a beneficiary of:

(a) an account with POD designation or a security registered in beneficiary form (TOD); or

(b) any other nonprobate transfer at death.

(5) "Child" includes an individual entitled to take as a child under chapters 1 through 5 by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved and excludes a person who is only a stepchild, a foster child, a grandchild, or any more remote descendant.

(6) (a) "Claims", in respect to estates of decedents and protected persons, includes liabilities of the decedent or protected person, whether arising in contract, in tort, or otherwise, and liabilities of the estate that arise at or after the death of the decedent or after the appointment of a conservator, including funeral expenses and expenses of administration.

(b) The term does not include estate taxes or demands or disputes regarding title of a decedent or protected person to specific assets alleged to be included in the estate.

(7) "Clerk" or "clerk of court" means the clerk of the district court.

(8) "Conservator" means a person who is appointed by a court to manage the estate of a protected person.

(9) "Court" means the district court in this state having jurisdiction in matters relating to the affairs of decedents.

(10) "Descendant" of an individual means all of the individual's descendants of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definition of child and parent contained in this code.

(11) "Devise" when used as a noun means a testamentary disposition of real or personal property and when used as a verb means to dispose of real or personal property by will.

(12) "Devisee" means a person designated in a will to receive a devise. For purposes of chapter 3, in the case of a devise to an existing trust or trustee or to a trustee or trust described by will, the trust or trustee is the devisee and the beneficiaries are not devisees.

(13) "Disability" means cause for a protective order as described by 72-5-409.

(14) "Distributee" means any person who has received property of a decedent from the decedent's personal representative other than as a creditor or purchaser. A testamentary trustee is a distributee only to the extent of distributed assets or increment to distributed assets remaining in the trustee's hands. A beneficiary of a testamentary trust to whom the trustee has distributed property received from a personal representative is a distributee of the personal representative. For purposes of this provision, "testamentary trustee" includes a trustee to whom assets are transferred by will, to the extent of the devised assets.

(15) "Estate" includes the property of the decedent, trust, or other person whose affairs are subject to chapters 1 through 5 as originally constituted and as it exists from time to time during administration.

(16) "Exempt property" means that property of a decedent's estate that is described in 72-2-413.

(17) "Fiduciary" includes a personal representative, guardian, conservator, and trustee.

(18) "Foreign personal representative" means a personal representative appointed by another jurisdiction.

(19) "Formal proceedings" means proceedings conducted before a judge with notice to interested persons.

(20) "Governing instrument" means a deed; will; trust; insurance or annuity policy; account with POD designation; security registered in beneficiary form (TOD); pension, profit-sharing, retirement, or similar benefit plan; instrument creating or exercising a power of appointment or a power of attorney; or dispositive, appointive, or nominative instrument of any similar type.

(21) "Guardian" means a person who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or incapacitated person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment but excludes one who is merely a guardian ad litem.

(22) "Heirs", except as controlled by 72-2-721, means persons, including the surviving spouse and the state, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.

(23) "Incapacitated person" has the meaning provided in 72-5-101.

(24) "Informal proceedings" means proceedings conducted without notice to interested persons by the clerk of court for probate of a will or appointment of a personal representative.

(25) "Interested person" includes heirs, devisees, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries, and any others having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward, or protected person. The term also includes persons having priority for appointment as personal representative and other fiduciaries representing interested persons. The meaning as it relates to particular persons may vary from time to time and must be determined according to the particular purposes of and matter involved in any proceeding.

(26) "Issue" of a person means a descendant.

(27) "Joint tenants with the right of survivorship" includes co-owners of property held under circumstances that entitle one or more to the whole of the property on the death of the other or others but excludes forms of co-ownership registration in which the underlying ownership of each party is in proportion to that party's contribution.

(28) "Lease" includes an oil, gas, coal, or other mineral lease.

(29) "Letters" includes letters testamentary, letters of guardianship, letters of administration, and letters of conservatorship.

(30) "Minor" means a person who is under 18 years of age.

(31) "Mortgage" means any conveyance, agreement, or arrangement in which property is used as security.

(32) "Nonresident decedent" means a decedent who was domiciled in another jurisdiction at the time of death.

(33) "Organization" means a corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, joint venture, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency, or any other legal or commercial entity.

(34) "Parent" includes any person entitled to take, or who would be entitled to take if the child died without a will, as a parent under chapters 1 through 5 by intestate succession from the child whose relationship is in question and excludes any person who is only a stepparent, foster parent, or grandparent.

(35) "Payor" means a trustee, insurer, business entity, employer, government, governmental agency or subdivision, or any other person authorized or obligated by law or a governing instrument to make payments.

(36) "Person" means an individual, a corporation, an organization, or other legal entity.

(37) "Personal representative" includes executor, administrator, successor personal representative, special administrator, and persons who perform substantially the same function under the law governing their status. "General personal representative" excludes special administrator.

(38) "Petition" means a written request to the court for an order after notice.

(39) "Proceeding" includes action at law and suit in equity.

(40) "Property" includes both real and personal property or any interest in that property and means anything that may be the subject of ownership.

(41) "Protected person" has the meaning provided in 72-5-101.

(42) "Protective proceeding" has the meaning provided in 72-5-101.

(43) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(44) "Security" includes any note; stock; treasury stock; bond; debenture; evidence of indebtedness; certificate of interest or participation in an oil, gas, or mining title or lease or in payments out of production under such a title or lease; collateral trust certificate; transferable share; voting trust certificate; in general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a security; any certificate of interest or participation; or any temporary or interim certificate, receipt, or certificate of deposit for or any warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase any of the foregoing.

(45) "Settlement", in reference to a decedent's estate, includes the full process of administration, distribution, and closing.

(46) "Sign" means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record other than a will:

(a) to execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or

(b) to attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

(47) "Special administrator" means a personal representative as described by chapter 3, part 7.

(48) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(49) "Successor personal representative" means a personal representative, other than a special administrator, who is appointed to succeed a previously appointed personal representative.

(50) "Successors" means persons, other than creditors, who are entitled to property of a decedent under the decedent's will or chapters 1 through 5.

(51) "Supervised administration" refers to the proceedings described in chapter 3, part 4.

(52) "Survive" means that an individual has neither predeceased an event, including the death of another individual, nor is considered to have predeceased an event under 72-2-114 or 72-2-712. The term includes its derivatives, such as "survives", "survived", "survivor", and "surviving".

(53) "Testacy proceeding" means a proceeding to establish a will or determine intestacy.

(54) "Testator" includes an individual of either sex.

(55) "Trust" includes an express trust, private or charitable, with additions to the trust, wherever and however created. The term also includes a trust created or determined by judgment or decree under which the trust is to be administered in the manner of an express trust. The term excludes other constructive trusts and excludes resulting trusts; conservatorships; personal representatives; trust accounts as defined in 72-6-111 and Title 72, chapter 6, parts 2 and 3; custodial arrangements pursuant to chapter 26; business trusts providing for certificates to be issued to beneficiaries; common trust funds; voting trusts; security arrangements; liquidation trusts; trusts for the primary purpose of paying debts, dividends, interest, salaries, wages, profits, pensions, or employee benefits of any kind; and any arrangement under which a person is nominee or escrowee for another.

(56) "Trustee" includes an original, additional, or successor trustee, whether or not appointed or confirmed by court.

(57) "Ward" means an individual described in 72-5-101.

(58) "Will" includes codicil and any testamentary instrument that merely appoints an executor, revokes or revises another will, nominates a guardian, or expressly excludes or limits the right of an individual or class to succeed to property of the decedent passing by intestate succession.

History: En. 91A-1-201 by Sec. 1, Ch. 365, L. 1974; R.C.M. 1947, 91A-1-201; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 494, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 592, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 16, Ch. 9, Sp. L. May 2000; amd. Sec. 77, Ch. 130, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 146, Ch. 264, L. 2013; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 313, L. 2019.

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