The process of writing a will is similar in every state; however, there are differences that vary state-by-state for a will to be recognized as valid. Maine, like each U.S. state, has its own legal requirements for making a will. When you make an online will in Maine, you want to make sure you follow the specific statutes in order for the will to be valid. You also want to use an online will that is customized for Maine.
Can I Make a Will Online in Maine?
Whether you make a will online or not, you must meet the same legal requirements for the will to be recognized as valid by the state of Maine.
Here are the legal requirements for a will to be valid in Maine:
- The Testator, or the person writing the will, must be either a legally emancipated minor or at least 18 years old.
- The will must be printed out. The state of Maine does not allow digital-only wills.
- The will must be signed by the Testator.
- The will must be signed by at least two witnesses, each after witnessing the Testator sign the will or the Testator’s acknowledgement of their signature.
In Maine, any individual generally competent to stand as a witness may act as a witness to a will, and the will is not invalid if it is signed by an “interested witness.” An “interested witness” is someone who is also a beneficiary in the will. While Maine will not invalidate a will if signed by an “interested witness,” it is always better to choose a “disinterested” person to act as a witness in order to avoid legal complications.
Does Maine Require a Notarized Will?
No, Maine does not require a notarized will. It is important to know that whenever a will is presented to the probate court, it undergoes a process to validate it. While Maine does not require your will to be notarized in order for it to be recognized as valid, having a notarized will can help the probate court validate the will quickly. It is not the will itself that gets notarized; however, it is actually a separate document that is then attached to the will.
Like many states, Maine allows for wills to be “self-proved.” When a will is “self-proved,” it often eliminates the need for the probate court to call upon the witnesses of the will to testify to its authenticity, which speeds up the probate process.
To make your will “self-proved” in Maine, you and your witnesses make a sworn statement in front of a notary public. You then attach the affidavit to your will, making it “self-proved.” You can find the general template for the “self-proving affidavit” for wills in Maine here.
Can I Name an Executor in Maine?
Yes, you can name an executor for your estate in your will. You can also do this in a will you make online. The executor of an estate is the person chosen to settle the estate, assuring that the will is followed. The requirements for someone to qualify to act as executor of an estate in Maine are:
- The person must be at least 18 years old.
- The person must be of sound mind (meaning, not having been judged incapacitated by a court).
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are no special requirements in Maine. However, for practical reasons, it might be better to name an executor who lives nearby.
A lot of states prohibit those who have felony convictions from acting as an executor of an estate; however, Maine does not have any statutes prohibiting that. It is a good idea to name someone as the executor in your will, choosing someone you know and trust. This person will have to handle a wide variety of matters when settling the estate, from paying off debts to making sure property is distributed according to the will. You will want to discuss this with the person before naming them as executor. If you do not name an executor, the court will appoint one.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Maine?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will in Maine. If you have a complex or large estate, it is always best to consult an estate planning attorney. However, if your estate is simple and your will is straightforward, online will making is a good option. When you make an online will in Maine, be sure to follow the state-specific legal requirements for the will to be valid and to use an online will making service with state-specific templates.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Maine?
Whether made online or not, any will that meets federal and state-specific legal requirements is valid in Maine.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Maine?
A holographic will is a will that is handwritten and signed without witnesses. The state of Maine does recognize holographic wills. The material portions of the document as well as the signature must be in the Testator’s handwriting.
It is important to note that holographic wills often face delays in probate court. The court must call upon witnesses to prove the authenticity of the handwriting, for example. Also, many times, a person will leave out important provisions, which complicates the validity of the will. It is a better option to consider using an online will making service to write your will, which you will then print, sign, and have witnessed by at least two people. Doing this will help speed up the probate process and lessen the likelihood that the court decides the will invalid.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Maine?
Nuncupative wills are oral wills, sometimes left on video, and they are usually considered an emergency or last resort type of will. If someone is facing imminent death and has no will, a nuncupative will is better than leaving no instructions at all. However, the state of Maine does not recognize nuncupative wills as valid. If all your heirs and beneficiaries agree to the terms left in a nuncupative will, your wishes may be followed. But in the eyes of the court, if you leave a nuncupative will in Maine, it is the same as though you died without a will.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Maine?
An advance directive, commonly known as a living will, is a legally binding document that contains instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care. It is a separate document from a last will and testament, with its own requirements to make it valid. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on the legislation about living wills in Maine, you can go here. You can find a form for a living will customized Only property titled solely in your name at your death may be distributed according to a Maine will; jointly held property with the right of survivorship, then, may not. Also in Maine, a surviving spouse may choose to take an elective share, or portion, of the estate even if he or she was not included in the will.for Maine here.
In Maine, the requirements for a valid living will are that:
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- It must be printed out.
- It must be signed and dated.
- It must be signed in front of two witnesses, who also must sign it in front of you and each other. OR,
- You can sign it in front of a notary public.
Your health care agent, if you name one, cannot act as a witness. It is your responsibility to let your family and doctors know you have a living will. Make copies of it, give it to your health care agent and to your primary care physician.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Maine?
If you die without a will, then intestacy laws will determine what happens to your estate. The state of Maine will appoint guardians for any minor children, an executor of the estate, and then the estate is distributed between surviving family members according to the intestacy distribution laws of Maine. This can become a lengthy legal process, and property is often held up in the probate process for months at a time.
It is wise to make a will if you own any property or if you have any minor children. If you want to distribute property in a specific way, you have to make a will—otherwise, it is decided by the court. If you have no surviving family, the state will take ownership of your property. When you make an online will in Maine, you have more control over what happens to your property as well as help speed up the probate process for your family.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Maine?
Aside from designating someone as the executor of your estate, you can also include the following when you make an online will in Maine:
- Select someone as a guardian for minor children.
- Select someone to oversee property left to minor children.
- Select someone to care for any remaining pets.
- Distribute property or gifts to family, friends, charities, or organizations.
- Distribute family heirlooms, sentimental items, or personal items.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Maine?
A last will and testament is usually not consulted until after someone dies and after their funeral, making it not the right place to include funeral instructions. If funeral directions are left in the will, your family members might not know about them. Medical directives and end-of-life care stipulations are only legally binding in a living will. Because of this, a last will and testament should not include those types of elements.
For medical directives and end-of-life care, you want to make a living will.
For funeral directions, you can make your wishes known to family members or you can also make a separate document describing your wishes. You want to give this document to the executor of your estate or other trusted family members.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Maine?
A will is a legally binding document, whether made online or not, but you can change or revoke a will at any time.
In Maine, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- You can physically destroy it with the intent and purpose of revoking it.
- You can order someone else to physically destroy it in front of you with the intent of revocation.
- You can write a new will that explicitly revokes the prior will or implicitly revokes it by inconsistency to the prior will.
It is wise to update your will after any major life change. Marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, relocation to another state or country, and acquisition of significant assets are all times in which you should revisit your will. If you are making a lot of changes, it is best to revoke the prior will and write a new will. If you only need to make minor changes, you can add an amendment with the changes instead. This amendment is called a codicil, and you must finalize it the same way you finalize a will (in writing, signed, witnessed).
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Maine?
To finalize an online will in Maine, you want to take these steps:
- You want to print it out.
- You want to sign it.
- You want two witnesses to sign it, after witnessing you sign it or after you acknowledge your signature. They do not need to witness each other sign it, but it is recommended for everyone to sign at the same time and in each other’s presence.
To make your will “self-proved” in Maine, you and your witness will need to make an affidavit in front of a notary public. You will then attach this notarized document to your will.
Be sure to consider these special considerations in Maine:
- Only property solely titled in your name may be distributed in a will. Property held in joint tenancy with the right to survivorship may not be distributed in a will.
- A surviving spouse may choose to take an elective share of the estate even if they were not included in the will. There are similar allowances for minor or dependent children.
We recommend USLegalWills to make a will online in Maine. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy. You can also create a Living Will. USLegalWills offers a free service to document funeral wishes and save final messages for loved ones.