Creating a will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Maine wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will) in creating valid Maine wills and in assigning a person (called the executor in most states) to administer a Maine last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements of a Maine Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years of age
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: A Maine last will and testament must be signed by the testator, or by another person under the testator's direction and presence.
Witnesses: At least two witnesses must sign the Maine last will and testament, each of whom witnessed either the signing or the testator's acknowledgment of the signature or of the will.
Writing: A Maine last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A Maine last will and testament may make a disposition of property to any person.
Other types of recognized wills:
Holographic Wills: A will entirely in the handwriting of a testator are recognized under Maine laws. However, Maine laws have specific requirements regarding handwritten wills to deem them valid.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Maine laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
LegalZoom's Maine wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our Maine wills form may be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until the estate is settled.
Our Maine wills form may also be used to pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A joint savings account may not be willed away.
A beneficiary in a life insurance policy may not be changed through a will.
If a spouse is excluded from the will, the surviving spouse may take a portion of the estate as allowed by Maine laws.
Providing for Pets
Maine law currently does not have specific statutes pertaining to providing care for pets. However, the testator may specify a beneficiary as the new owner of a pet. Legalzoom's Maine wills form gives you the choice of providing for your pets in this manner.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
A Maine will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
A Maine will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Maine laws.
Revoking a Will
A Maine will and testament can be revoked entirely or in part by a subsequent will, or through conflicting provisions created in a subsequent will. A Maine will and testament may also be revoked by being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it by the testator, or by another person in his presence and under his direction.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the Maine last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, appoint a personal representative to administrate the will, and distribute property as designated in the Maine last will.
If any estate taxes are due from probate of your Maine last will, Form 706ME must be filed with Maine Revenue Services within 9 months of the testator's death.
It is extremely important to make a Maine will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Maine laws.
For example, if you do not make a Maine will and die leaving a spouse and no children, then the spouse receives the entire estate. On the other hand, if you die leaving children but no spouse, the children share the estate in equal amounts.
If you make a Maine will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.