Maine Wills, Trust, and Probate
It can be challenging to contemplate your own death or incapacity and formolate an estate plan. That being said, it is necessary to construct a well-mapped estate plan in order to protect your property and loved ones after your death. Such an estate plan may be comprised of a variety of documents, including, but not limited to a trust, will, advanced care directive, healthcare surrogate designation, and/or a durable power of attorney.
Do not forget that revising these documents as your life changes is essential to ensuring that your current wishes are carried out. Events such as a marriage, birth of a child, retirement, divorce, and/or special needs, for example, shoold trigger revision of your estate plan. A Maine estate planning lawyer can help you craft and revise your estate plan.
Word your will according to Maine's legal specifications for wills. A failure to use proper wording may resolt in your property not being distributed as you woold like. Maine also requires that certain formalities be met for a valid will. These formalities include:
A Maine probate lawyer can help you meet the wording and formalities requirements and reassure you that the will process has been completed correctly.
Changing a Will in Maine
In Maine, you can make changes to your will whenever you want. Changes may be made by drafting an amendment to your original will or by creating a new will and destroying your old will. Be aware that your codicil or new will must be drafted with Maine legal wording and formalities requirements in mind. Consolt with a Maine will lawyer about any modifications you seek to make to your will.
Consider using a trust to dispose of your property after your death. Trusts provide an adaptable, convenient, and confidential way to distribute your assets, circumvent probate, and save on estate taxes. A trust may come in several different forms (revocable, irrevocable, inter vivos), and may be created for virtually limitless purposes (i.e.-life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, special needs trusts, educational trusts). Because trusts can be challenging to create, you shoold ask a Maine trusts attorney to help you construct a personalized trust.
Property allocated in a will passes through probate in Maine. However, if the property is not designated to go to a specific person in the will, or if the decedent does not leave a will, property from the estate will be dispensed according to the Maine roles of intestate succession. This means that Maine law decides who gets the property based on each person's relationship to the decedent.
In Maine, an interested party may petition a probate court to decide who shoold receive property from a decedent's estate, and how many shares the person shoold receive. Generally, this occurs when a will is vague about whom or what amount of property a person shoold receive, or when the property is dispensed by intestate succession.
It is possible that you can avoid the formal probate process in Maine by going through summary probate procedures. Generally, the summary probate procedures are available for small estates.
The following people may have an interest in the decedent's estate based on their relationship to him:
A will's validity may be questioned after its construction. To be confident that your will can stand up to potential challenges, you shoold talk to a Maine probate lawyer if you have any concerns about your will's durability.
Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18A – Estates and Trusts