People | Montana Elder Law

People

Steve Darty

Steve Darty
Attorney, CEO

Steve Darty hung a shingle in 2012 intent on providing a different experience for Montanans looking to preserve both their assets and their family story. With a belief in flat fees and straight talk, he built a practice focused on the client, not the law firm. Those early principals evolved into the firm’s current mission statement: “To utilize every applicable law and opportunity to protect the assets, peace of mind, and the dignity of aging for Montanans”.

Steve writes an Estate Planning column for The Missoulian, is a frequent speaker on the topics of Estates and Elder Law, and is a member in good standing with many highfalutin organizations. However, his greatest pride and joy is his 10 year old son Gus. The two of whom can often be found chasing adventures in the great Montana outdoors. And despite the older of the 2 getting outwitted by much of Montana’s fish and game, the 2 never fail to score their endeavors as a success beyond reproach! A family man first, and lawyer second, Steve is proud to call Missoula home and always welcomes the opportunity to make a new friend.

Stefan Kolis

Stefan Kolis
Managing Attorney – Missoula

Stefan Kolis, Esq, got his start in the law through his AmeriCorps services, helping low income Montanans file civil cases on their own at the Self-Help Law Center in Great Falls and Kalispell. Discoveringpersonal value helping others, he went to work for Montana Legal Services Association for two years, until he decided he could do more to help those in need with a law degree. During his law school career at the University of Montana School of Law, he was a Volunteer Hearing Officer for Missoula Housing Authority, ex officio board member of the Montana Justice Foundation, on the Montana Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission’s Law School Partnership Committee, and organized law students to volunteer for Missoula’s End of Life Document Clinic. Stefan graduated in 2017, and received the 2017 Equal Justice Works Public Interest Law Award.

Born in Illinois, but growing up in Havre, MT, the mountains and open space always demanded his attention; he grew up fishing, hunting, camping, and generally living on the Hi-Line. When his family moved to Wisconsin, he knew he would always return to the West. Stefan went to college at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, was Captain of the Men’s Soccer Team his senior year, and graduated in 2010 with honors with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. After college, Stefan moved back to Montana, where he taught himself how to fly fish, telemark, mountain bike, and backpack. He now spends as much time as possible exploring Montana’s wild areas.

Stefan was hired at Montana Elder Law in the spring of 2017, and specializes in writing estate plans for Montanans. He writes plans for folks which allow middle class families to pass on their most cherished assets, while ensuring they get the care and assistance they will need. He views this work as protecting families from sliding into poverty. Stefan also drafts Special Needs Trusts, which allow disabled individuals to receive supplemental income while still receiving government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Finally, Stefan works on probate matters, assisting families administer their loved one’s estate in what is often the most difficult period of life.

Sarah Corbally
Managing Attorney – Helena & Butte

Sarah Corbally has been practicing law since 2003, when she began her career as a Deputy County Attorney and Assistant Attorney General in Montana, seeking justice for vulnerable victims. With an undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of Montana and a law degree from the University of Denver, Sarah has focused her entire career on helping others. Prior to joining Montana Elder Law, Sarah also worked in government administration and private solo practice assisting families and children in civil legal matters. Sarah’s prior experience has prepared her well for working with the complex laws and regulations that underlie much of Montana Elder Law’s practice.

Sarah is married to a third generation Montanan. They met during undergraduate school in Missoula and have been married for 18 years. Together, they have two children, both girls. Sarah’s youngest child also has Down Syndrome, which has led Sarah to be particularly interested in helping families with special needs children plan for their futures. When not at work, Sarah loves to spend time in the outdoors with her family skiing, hiking, or just relaxing.

Eric Hettinga
Managing Attorney -
Kalispell

Eric Hettinga has practiced law since 2005 with the purpose of helping others by providing clients the legal tools and mechanisms required to accomplish their goals.  Eric values relationships and his practice focuses on Asset Protection, Medicaid Planning for Long Term Care, and assisting Veterans in obtaining maximum benefits.

Before joining Montana Elder Law, Eric served on Active Duty in the U.S. Army for over 20 years as a Field Artillery Officer and Army JAG Attorney, including a combat tour in Iraq.  Upon completing his military service, Eric returned with his wife and three daughters to their family’s hometown of Kalispell, Montana to be close to relatives and friends, and to put down permanent roots in the state they love.  Eric has an undergraduate degree in American Legal Studies and Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point; a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of Oklahoma; and a Law Degree from Arizona State University.  He is licensed to practice law in Montana, Arizona, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Danielle Shyne
Managing Attorney - Bozeman

Danielle Shyne is a Bozeman Montana native and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Gonzaga University School of Law, in Spokane Washington. Prior to joining Montana Elder Law, Danielle clerked for the Honorable Chief Justice Mike McGrath and the Honorable Michael Wheat of the Montana Supreme Court. Danielle is licensed to practice law in Montana and Washington.

Danielle’s professional life has been dedicated to helping others through her work at the Montana Governor’s Office, the Montana Governor’s Office of Community Service, and the non-profit Thrive. During law school, Danielle supported the Gonzaga Public Interest Law Project and the Women’s Law Caucus. Additionally, Danielle fought for her clients at the Unemployment Law Project and interned for the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Mary Fairhurst.

Danielle has two wonderful children and a miniature schnauzer with her husband of 8 years, whom she met while earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Montana. She enjoys hiking and swimming, spending time with her large extended family in Bozeman, and exploring the small towns of Montana.

Chelsea Sweeney

Chelsea Sweeney

Office Manager

Chelsea Sweeney is fairly new to the Montana life and she is enjoying every minute of it. Growing up in a small farming community in Southern Minnesota, she always had a passion for the outdoors which she brought with her when she attended Gustavus Adolphus College. Graduating in 2013 with a degree in Biology, with a focus on native plants, she knew she had to live somewhere that offered both easy access to the outdoors and the big town life. Moving here just over 3 years ago, Missoula became the perfect place to call home. She started working for Target as an HR Team Member and then was hired on at Montana Elder Law in the Summer of 2017. On days off you will find her, along with her dog Kringle, either hiking new trails or fly fishing on the river. They will take any excuse to explore what the State of Montana has to offer.

Elizabeth Simpson

Elder Care Manager

Elizabeth Simpson grew up in a small Texas town with her 4 brothers and sister. Her first job was working with individuals with disabilities, it was because of this job that she developed a strong passion to help individuals in need. When she moved to Montana she began working as a Director for an In-Home Care Agency working with the elderly and disabled. Through this position, she had become extremely familiar with a variety of different insurances as well as Medicaid and VA benefits. She has extensive experience working with families as well as individuals from different financial backgrounds, and helps find the best options for their long term care. She prides herself in her ability to listen and find new and creative ways to help ensure individuals’ needs are met. She loves living in Montana, and when she has free time you can find her hiking with her pack of dogs, or just relaxing with her family.

Tammie Lund Smith

Tammie Lund Smith

VA Pension Benefits Case Manager

Tammie Lund Smith graduated from the University of Great Falls with a degree in Paralegal Studies in 1986. Since that date she has been practicing primarily in Probates, Trusts, Real Estate, Estate Planning, Indian Law and some Family Law. Tammie chose this area of law because it is a time in a person’s life when they need someone who cares, not someone who has zero empathy for others. Tammie has raised 3 beautiful children of her own, and 4 amazing step children. She is now a grandmother to a bouncing baby boy and a beautiful granddaughter. Tammie is also the Payee for her disabled sister and disabled nephew who live in the home she bought for them to guarantee a forever home.

Tammie recently became a caretaker for her aging parents whose health recently failed. When Steve talks about the “healthy” parent becoming ill, Tammie can relate to it being her mom. Tammie’s mom was the caretaker for Tammie’s Dad until May 2017 when she ended up in the ER in Missoula during a visit. She was diagnosed with Extremely Severe Congestive Heart Failure, they sent her to her doctor in Great Falls and they did an emergency surgery. After the surgery she came to Tammie’s to recover only to end up back at the ER in Missoula. After more than a week in the Hospital and much concern the doctors determined that both parents were to never return to their home to live alone. Tammie moved both of her parents into her home to live with her and her husband. This moment happened within a span of 2-3 weeks.

Tammie proudly considers herself a full time Mom, Grandma, Caretaker and a Full Time Paralegal. I am high energy and love to work and play. I love boating, camping and this Country and more than anything I love my family.

Suzanne Voss

Probate Paralegal

Suzanne Voss graduated with high honors from Missoula College with a degree in Paralegal Studies in 2012. Suzanne grew up “in the saddle” on the Little Big Horn River at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains on a ranch surrounded by family. Her first experience with Wills and Probates was when her father died suddenly leaving a large ranch and her mother, her siblings and herself behind. He had gotten his estate put together beforehand, thankfully. Soon after, her paternal grandmother passed away. The complexities of family dynamics and figuring out how to divide heirlooms and a large estate “in equal shares” between surviving heirs and descendants set the stage for Suzanne’s desire to figure out how to help others who are facing the same difficulties. She is a widow and understands the difficulties and complex issues people face in carrying out their loved one’s last wishes.

Suzanne has been practicing in Estates, Elder Law, and Indian Law and is excited to now add Probate. She is dedicated to the elevation of her fellow human beings and finds that working in the field of law is an excellent vehicle.

In her time off, Suzanne loves to create and she enjoys drawing landscapes or abstracts using pastels or making collages with different mediums and papers. She also plays the piano for a bit of fun and relaxation and enjoys getting out into nature in the Blackfoot River Valley. She has two wonderful children who live nearby – in Montana terms!

Joyce Statton

Joyce Statton

Medicaid Paralegal

Joyce Statton worked for Montana state government for 30 years; retired from Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. After retirement, Joyce began working with elderly patrons in need of assistance and, most recently, with Medicaid applications and court appointed conservatorships. Joyce’s multi-situational and intensive work experiences, plus her compassionate nature, make her a valuable and knowledgeable resource. She is married, has grown children, and many beloved grandchildren. Her favorite pastimes are jigsaw puzzles, cross stitch, and spending hours outside in her yard and garden.

TESTIMONIALS

  • Steve Darty is what the Law profession was originally meant to be. He is busy, as are all great professionals; but when with him, he makes you feel as if you are his only client.
    Jesse P.
  • We were very impressed with the time Steve spent with us. He was very thorough and informative. He gave us different options that were particular to our personal situation. We never felt rushed.
    Janet S.
  • Mr. Darty was knowledgeable helpful patient and understanding. He took the time necessary to help me devise a plan that seems thorough and thoughtful. He was available and responsive. I recommend him without any reservations!
    Michael S.
  • I was very pleased with the services provided by the Darty Law Office, for creating an estate plan. Mr. Darty is very well versed in estate law and he was excellent in explaining things. I have recommended Mr. Darty to many people and will continue to use his services in the future, as needed.
    Suzanne N.
  • Working with Steve has been both educational and enjoyable. His intelligence, expertise, and humor are refreshing. His professional assessments are 'spot-on.' I look forward to working with him on future financial projects.
    Jane M.
  • Steve put together a full estate plan for my wife and I that makes plans for our children, their care, possessions and last requests. We would recommend that everyone have a will at least, and a full estate plan if you can.
    Justin H.
  • Very professional and knowledgeable. Explained things well and was a great help. Highly recommend Darty Law Office.
    Thomas S.
  • Steve gets things done! He's very organized and cares deeply about each of his clients. Highly recommend!
    Makenzi H.
  • Steve was helpful in guiding me through sticky situation with another lawyer in Kalispell who was representing (actually misrepresenting) a family member. I've never met him but worked with him long distance.
    Laurie P.
  • Great personalized one on one service. Caring and professional.
    Edward B.
  • Steve has been wonderful to work with. Very responsive and accommodating!
    Marissa B.
  • Absolutely recommend this firm. Steve Darty works by himself and it is a very comfortable arrangement.
    Jane H.
  • Steve is professional and knowledgeable. Highly recommended.
    Drew R.
  • Helpful and knowledgeable, recommended!
    Lisa S.