How do I Create a Basic Will in Maine?

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If you are a resident of Maine, unless you create a will, your assets will be distributed after your death according to the laws of intestacy contained in Part 1 of Title 18-A, Article 2 of the Maine Revised Statutes. A basic will in Maine can be made by anyone over 18 years of age. It must be in writing, and must be signed by the person making the will and at least two credible witnesses.

Inventory your estate. Before you start drafting your will, it's a good idea to make a list of all the assets you own. Also make a list of the people or entities to which you'd like to leave any part of your estate.

Start the will document by stating your name, that this document is your last will and testament, and that you revoke all previous wills and codicils.

Dispose of property by category. An efficient way to dispose of your estate is to group it into categories of property, such as real estate, stocks, household items, cash and other items. You can incorporate a separate list of property by referencing it in the will, as long as the list is in existence at the time you sign the will. Include a section for any property not named in the will, if applicable, and name a beneficiary.

Execute the will by signing it in the presence of two credible witnesses. The witnesses may be people who receive property in the will, but should be of sound mind and not convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude. There is no age restrictions for witnesses, but they must be generally capable of being a witness, which means they must be capable of understanding the legal effect of their signature.

Tips

  • A sample form for a Maine will can be found in 18-A, 2-514 of the Maine Revised Statutes.You can make your will "self-proving," which eliminates the need for the witnesses to subsequently verify your will in court, by executing notarized affidavits, together with your witnesses, attesting to the validity of the will. The form for the attestation is contained in Title 18A, Section 2-504.

Warnings

  • If your estate is complex, have a lawyer review your will to ensure all the property distributions you've stated will be enforceable. You cannot deposit your will with the state court during your lifetime. You should, however, leave the will with a lawyer, in a safe deposit box or any other safe place. Be sure someone knows where to find your will after you're gone.

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About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.

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