Maine Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Maine

Note:    This summary is not intended to be an al inclusive summary of the law of wills in Maine, but does contain basic and other provisions.  Hand written wills, or wills where the testator cannot sign his or her name are not discussed.

Who may make a will: Any person 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-501.

Execution: Every will shall be in writing signed by the testator and shall be signed by at least 2 persons each of whom witnessed the signing by the testator. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-502.

Self-proved will: Any will may be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved, by acknowledgment thereof by the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state where execution occurs and evidenced by the officer’s certificate. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-504.

Who may witness: Any person generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will. A will is not invalid because the will is signed by an interested witness.TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-505.

Choice of law as to execution: A written will is valid if executed in compliance with section 2-502 or 2-503 or if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of the place where the will is executed, or of the law of the place where at the time of execution or at the time of death the testator is domiciled, has a place of abode or is a national or if executed in compliance with 10 United States Code, Section 1044d.. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-506.

Legislative History:2005 ch. 353, § 1 (AMD).

Revocation by writing or by act: A will or any part thereof is revoked
(1) By a subsequent will which revokes the prior will or part expressly or by  inconsistency; or
(2) By being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it by the testator or by another person in his presence and by his direction. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-507.

Revocation by divorce; no revocation by other changes of circumstances: If after executing a will the testator is divorced or his marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise. If provisions are revoked solely by this section, they are revived by testator’s remarriage to the former spouse. For purposes of this section, divorce or annulment means any divorce or annulment which would exclude the spouse as a surviving spouse within the meaning of section 2-802, subsection (b). A decree of separation which does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a divorce for purposes of this section. No change of circumstances other than as described in this section revokes a will. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-508.

Testamentary additions to trusts: A devise or bequest, the validity of which is determinable by the law of this state, may be made by a will to the trustee of a trust established or to be established by the testator or by the testator and some other person or by some other person, including a funded or unfunded life insurance trust, although the trustor has reserved any or all rights of ownership of the insurance contracts, if the trust is identified in the testator’s will and its terms are set forth in a written instrument, other than a will, executed before or concurrently with the execution of the testator’s will or in the valid last will of a person who has predeceased the testator, regardless of the existence, size, or character of the corpus of the trust. The devise is not invalid because the trust is amendable or revocable, or because the trust was amended after the execution of the will or after the death of the testator. Unless the testator’s will provides otherwise, the property so devised

(1)is not deemed to be held under a testamentary trust of the testator but becomes a part of the trust to which it is given and
(2) shall be administered and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the instrument or will setting forth the terms of the trust, including any amendments thereto made before the death of the testator, regardless of whether made before or after the execution of the testator’s will, and, if the testator’s will so provides, including any amendments to the trust made after the death of the testator. A revocation or termination of the trust before the death of the testator causes the devise to lapse. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-511.

Separate writing identifying bequest of tangible property: Whether or not the provisions relating to holographic wills apply, a will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will, other than money, evidences of indebtedness, documents of title, and securities, and property used in trade or business. To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing must either be in the handwriting of the testator or be signed by him and must describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty. The writing may be referred to as one to be in existence at the time of the testator’s death; it may be prepared before or after the execution of the will; it may be altered by the testator after its preparation; and it may be a writing which has no significance apart from its effect upon the dispositions made by the will. TITLE 18-A, Article II, part 5, 2-513.

Contracts concerning succession: A contract to make a will or devise, or not to revoke a will or devise, or to die intestate, if executed after the effective date of this Act, can be established only by

(1) provisions of a will stating material provisions of the contract;
(2) an express reference in a will to a contract and extrinsic evidence proving the terms of the contract; or
(3) a writing signed by the decedent evidencing the contract. The execution of a joint will or mutual wills does not create a presumption of a contract not to revoke the will or wills. TITLE 18-A, Article II, Part 7, 2-701

Inside Maine Last Will and Testament Law