When you serve as an executor, you have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. This is true no matter where you live, but Maine’s laws have a few distinctive aspects. An executor is called a personal representative here, and the state has its own rules regarding who can and who cannot serve.
Like most states, Maine requires that a personal representative be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Unlike many other states, it doesn’t prohibit felons from serving, at least not on the basis of their convictions alone. The court can find that a personal representative named in a will is unsuitable for other reasons. This doesn’t happen often; the court will typically honor the deceased’s wishes, as stated in his will, to have the person of his choice handle his estate. Maine doesn’t have a rule that an executor must live in the state.
The duties of an executor are much the same in all states. In Maine, she must notify beneficiaries and heirs of her appointment within 30 days. She must file a list of the deceased’s property with the court and publish notice of the probate proceedings in a newspaper. This tells the deceased’s creditors how and when they can request payment. The law in Maine won’t hold a personal representative personally liable if she fails to do this, however. She won’t have to pay creditors' claims out of her own pocket.
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