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Maine Wills and Probate

Do you find yourself struggling to cope after the death of a family member, friend, or loved one? Are you staring down a mountain of complex legal forms pertaining to Maine's probate process?  Predictably, you are likely to grow overwhelmed, frustrated, and perplexed by Maine's probate process in such situations. Probate can become a tedious, time-consuming, and even cumbersome process. Once financial and tax matters are introduced, especially in larger, more sophisticated estates, the complexity of matters is prone to increase even further. Yet, you do not have to wade through the mire of probate solo. There is local help available in Maine through will and probate lawyers.

What Is the Maine Probate System?

The Maine probate system is the stages of court proceedings during which debts are settled and title to estate property passes from a decedent to heirs. A will, the instrument that specifies what personal and real property a decedent wants to leave to which party or beneficiary, represents the starting point of Maine’s probate process. There are often also subsequent legal, tax, and financial matters that require the involvement of professionals, such as accountants, financial planners, and tax attorneys, so that parties can ensure the administration of an estate is performed in accordance with local, state, and federal laws.  Learn more about if an attorney is required during the probate process.

How Do You Navigate Maine's Probate System?

When a resident of Maine passes, the person's death is required to be reported to the Maine Probate Court in the county in which the decedent resided. If the decedent had a will, that instrument will be submitted to probate court. The court will ascertain if the will is legally valid. If it is, the court will appoint a personal representative. The personal representative is tasked with carrying out the instructions in the will and taking care of outstanding debts and obligations for the decedent. The representative might be named specifically in the will. Frequently, it is the attorney who prepared the will. If the named party is not able or willing to undertake the complicated tasks involved, if there is no one named, or there is no will, the probate court will make an appointment.  

Here are the duties a personal representative in Maine must perform on a strict timeline:

  • Notify creditors of the estate.
  • Conduct an inventory of the estate and its property (real and personal).
  • Collect income.
  • Pay debts and obligations.
  • File taxes.
  • Conduct a final accounting.

The personal representative is permitted to hire professionals to assist with any of the above parts of the process and to pay for hired services from estate monies. Representatives are also allowed to receive reimbursement from estate funds for their expenses and travel necessitated by duties they are charged with performing on behalf of the estate. That said, all expenses and fees that are paid for professional services on the part of an estate must be found to be reasonable by the probate court.

Contact a Maine Will and Probate Lawyer Today

If you want to minimize, if not seek to entirely avoid, unwelcome and unnecessary hefty tax burdens, fees, costs, and time delays, it is smart to approach estate planning and administration early on, without delay. It is also wise to consult a local probate lawyer. Through partnering together, you will likely learn valuable information about how to best navigate Maine's probate process, avoid costly mistakes and delays, and save time and money. Call now to speak with a will and probate attorney in Maine at 877-913-7222.