How much a probate when there is no will costs depends on a number of factors, including the size of the estate and the difficulty of finding and valuing the estate's assets, among many others.
The probate will most likely have to take place where your mother resided at the time of her death. If that is not Montana, then what is called an ancillary probate will need to be started in Montana as well. This will, of course, add to the cost of the probate.
The good news is that the estate's attorney can often be paid from the estate's assets, if there are any.
All the best.
This posting is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. For more information, please visit www.justinelderlaw.com.
Some types of assets can be handled by a Washington lawyer if she died in Washington. Ultimately, whether you need a Montana lawyer depends on the nature of the assets. If your mother had real estate in Montana, then yes, you will need a Montana lawyer. Remember that attorney fees are almost always paid from the assets in the estate, and not out of the pocket of the personal representative. Your best bet is to consult with a probate attorney to see what actions need to be taken, and in what state. You should be able to get that initial information economically from a local probate attorney.
This information is intended as general information only, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please seek particular advice from an attorney.
I'm sorry for your loss. Attorneys Elder and Flaccus have provided you with solid advice. Please meet with a few attorneys and ask them whether they bill on an hourly or percentage fee basis. Then, make your choice based upon which attorney works best for you (not necessarily the least expensive attorney). Good luck to you.
This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.