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February 2, 2021
If you or a loved one lives in Maine, there are a number of forms, documents, resources, and specific state laws you should be aware of. Whether you are handling a guardianship of an elderly person, or just want to know how probate court or inheritance law works, continue reading for some of the more important documents and laws you should know about for the state of Maine.
According to Maine law, (Title 22 §1711) doctors and hospitals are each required to retain your medical records for different periods of time:
In Maine you have a right to access and view your medical records. You also have a right to amend and add information to your medical records. However, depending on the nature of the medical records, certain information may not be eligible for amendment.
Speaking with your healthcare provider regarding amendments is the best option. Fees vary from office to office; however, the legislature has enacted a law stating that fees cannot exceed a reasonable cost. The charge for the copies or the report may not exceed $5 for the first page and 45¢ for each additional page, up to a maximum of $250 for the entire treatment record or medical report.
The Maine living will form is available from the Maine Hospital Association. This form has additional documents related to creating a medical POA, or medical proxy, organ donation, and funeral planning.
DNRs are allowed in Maine. Part 7 of this form allows you to file a DNR. The patient and listed medical provider must both sign the form.
This form is available in Maine and allows you to name another person to be your agent. This agent will have the ability to make medical decisions for you.
This is also available in this form issued by the Maine Hospital Association.
In order for the form to be filled out, the patient must also have different witnesses present depending on which section they are completing or signing. Fortunately, Maine has collected all the necessary information for the above issues and placed them into one set of forms.
If you want to be an organ donor in Maine, you can learn more and register at the registry website. This is also available in a section of the previously mentioned advanced directive packet.
Per Maine statute Title 18-C, a person’s estate will go through the probate process if a will exists. A will can be signed by two witnesses in front of the subject of the will; additionally, a faster process can create a self-proving will if the will gets notarized. Maine probate can be skipped if the value of the estate does not exceed $20,000.
An executor can also file a written request to the court to skip the probate process, the court has the ultimate say in the matter after looking at all the values, facts, and circumstances of the estate.
Maine recently incorporated digital estate planning laws, available here. The new statute provides information on how to properly manage and protect digital estates and their assets.
If a person’s estate is intestate because they die without a will, it will be distributed through Maine’s intestacy laws. This is a process that involves distributing assets to the closest relatives.
Intestacy succession laws are available here.
Visit the official Maine.gov website to obtain a marriage, death, or birth certificate (or copy)
Non-certified copies of the the following records are available for $10.00. They will be stamped saying, “Not for Legal Purposes.”
The state of Maine is one of a few states that does have an estate tax.
Be aware that you are still responsible for federal taxes on an inheritance.
Maine has a number of unique state laws when it comes to your medical records, inheritance taxes, wills, trusts, and estate planning. Navigate the strict probate process and estate tax with confidence with your customized and organized Pillar account. You can scan, store, and share your most important state documents when you need them with Pillar's secure and easy-to-use online storage tool for you and your family.
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