How to make a will in Maine

A guide to Maine probate laws.


Elissa Suh

Published June 12, 2020

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Who can write a will in Maine?

Anyone who is at least 18 years old or legally emancipated, and of “sound mind,” may write a will in Maine.

What are the requirements for witnessing a will in Maine?

Every will must be signed by two witnesses of general competence.

Can witnesses be beneficiaries of the will?

Yes, but it’s recommended to choose disinterested witnesses.

What are the requirements for choosing an executor in Maine?

  • Age of executor: At least 18 years old
  • Has not been found “unsuitable” by the court

Can you create a holographic will in Maine?

Yes, Maine allows for a holographic will, but it must be in the testator’s handwriting.

Is Maine a community property state?

No, Maine is not a community property state.

In a community property state, each spouse has an equal share of property acquired during the marriage. Property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property.


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Laws of intestacy

In Maine, when there is no will, the court will determine who receives the intestate estate based on the laws of intestate succession.

This is how much a surviving spouse receives in a few different circumstances:

If the decedent is a survived by spouse and:Surviving spouse's share
No children or parents of the decedentEverything
Children from the surviving spouse onlyEverything
Children from someone else1/2 of the intestate estate
Parents but no childrenThe first $300,000, plus 3/4 of any balance of the intestate estate
Children from the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has other childrenThe first $100,000, plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate

Otherwise, when there is no surviving spouse, then the intestate estate will pass along in the following order:

  • Children, or their children
  • Parents
  • Siblings of the decedent, or their children
  • Grandparents or their descendants (aunts/uncles, cousins)
  • Great-grandparents or their descendants
  • Descendants of a deceased spouse

The way this works, is that for someone to receive the estate, there must not be anyone left in the category above them. If an inheritor is dead, then their share typically passes to their children by a per capita designation.

Filing the will in Maine

Wills can’t be filed with the court for safekeeping. After the testator’s death, the will should be filed with probate and family court in the county where the decedent died.

Estate administration without probate in Maine

  • Summary administration: In Maine, an estate can be administered without court procedure when the value of the estate does not exceed the homestead allowance, which is an amount that decedent’s surviving spouse is allowed to claim before any assets are distributed. The homestead allowance in Maine is $22,500.
  • Exempt property: Up to $15,000 in personal property in addition to the homestead allowance; burial and funeral expenses; medical expenses from the decedent’s last illness.
  • A small estate affidavit may also be used by someone to collect an asset valued under $40,000, at least 30 days after the decedent’s death, and if no one has filed for letters testamentary or petitioned the court.

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About the author

Personal Finance Editor

Elissa Suh

Personal Finance Editor

Elissa is a personal finance editor at Policygenius in New York City. She writes about estate planning, mortgages, and occasionally health insurance. In the past she has written about film and music.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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