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How To Make a Power of Attorney in Maine FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Madison Hess, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 15, 2024
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A power of attorney is critical when you can’t manage your own legal and financial affairs. You can name someone you trust to help you. Get answers to frequently asked questions about power of attorney documents and how to create a valid power of attorney in Maine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document where you, as the “principal,” authorize someone you trust, called an “agent” or “attorney in fact,” to act on your behalf. There are different types of power of attorney documents for different purposes. A financial power of attorney handles legal and financial matters. A healthcare power of attorney is used to make healthcare decisions and end-of-life treatment and care. You can find Maine’s Uniform Power of Attorney Act under 18-C M.R.S. A. §5-901 through §5-963 of the Maine Revised Statutes.

If you are suddenly incapacitated or can’t make your own decisions, your family must file for conservatorship. A court names someone as your conservator, which may not be someone you like. With a power of attorney, you do not need a conservatorship because you have already named someone who is willing and able to step in to handle decision-making for you.

Who Can Be My Agent?

Any competent (meaning having a sound mind) adult can serve as your agent. When choosing an agent, whether that is a friend, family member, or professional advisor, find someone trustworthy, organized, and responsible. The agent has a fiduciary duty to act in good faith for the principal’s best interest and avoid conflicts, but they have broad powers over your money and property.

You might be tempted to name co-agents in your power of attorney but avoid doing so because it complicates things. If you want your agents to act jointly, what happens when they disagree? If your agents can act independently, what happens if they reverse each other’s actions? Instead, name one person as your primary agent and another as a backup or successor agent if your primary agent is unable to serve.

What Can My Agent Do in Maine?

You decide what authority you want to give your agent. For example, you may want them to access bank accounts and pay bills, handle real estate transactions, and maintain family support. Under Maine statutes §5-934 to §5-947, you can grant your agent general authority to handle transactions involving the following subjects:

  • Real property (your real estate)
  • Tangible personal property (your possessions)
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Commodities and options
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Operation of entity or business
  • Insurance and annuities
  • Estates, trusts, and other beneficial interests
  • Claims and litigation
  • Personal and family maintenance
  • Benefits from governmental programs or civil or military service.
  • Retirement Plans
  • Taxes
  • Gifts

Under §5-931, there are certain powers that you, as the principal, must specifically authorize, such as:

  • Creating, amending, revoking, or terminating a living trust
  • Making a gift
  • Creating or changing rights of survivorship
  • Creating or changing a beneficiary designation
  • Delegating authority granted under the power of attorney
  • Waiving the principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Exercising fiduciary powers that the principal has authority to delegate
  • Disclaiming property, including a power of appointment
  • Exercising authority over the content of an electronic communication

Some of these specific powers let your agent reduce your estate. There may be valid reasons to reduce your estate, such as minimizing estate taxes or to qualify you for government benefits like Social Security or Medicaid. Your agent has significant authority over financial matters, so discuss with them how you want them to manage your property and assets.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Maine?

durable power of attorney remains effective even if you become incapacitated. According to §5-904, your POA is durable unless you explicitly state in the documents that it terminates upon the principal’s incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Under §5-909, a Maine power of attorney is effective immediately when signed by the principal. However, you can specify a future effective date or make it contingent upon future event, such as the principal’s incapacity, called a “springing” POA.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

There are events when your power of attorney ends and when your agent’s authority terminates. Under §5-910, a power of attorney ends when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated, and the POA is non-durable.
  • The principal revokes the power of attorney.
  • The power of attorney provides that it terminates.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished.
  • The principal revokes the agent’s authority, or the agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns, and the power of attorney does not have a successor agent.

The agent’s authority ends when:

  • The principal revokes the agent’s authority.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns.
  • The agent is the principal’s spouse, and the marriage ends in divorce, annulment, or legal separation.
  • The power of attorney terminates.

Naming a backup or successor agent keeps your power of attorney active if your primary agent is unable to serve.

Does Maine Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. Maine does not provide a statutory power of attorney form. You can either create your own power of attorney tailored to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Maine?

Yes. If you are an adult and competent, you can make power of attorney. When making a power of attorney, you should know who you want to name as your agent and what powers you want to give them. Follow Maine’s power of attorney laws and signing requirements. Many people wanting a DIY option use state-specific online estate planning forms. But if you have power of attorney questions, you should talk to a lawyer for legal advice.

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How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Maine?

The legal requirements for making a valid power of attorney in Maine are found in §5-905. The principal must sign the document or direct another person to sign on their behalf in their conscious presence. A notary public must acknowledge the signature. Additionally, there are mandatory notices to the principal and agent under §5-905(2) that should be included in the power of attorney document.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney in Maine?

Yes. In Maine, a notary must attest to the principal’s signature for a valid power of attorney.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing your power of attorney, give copies to your agent and any other parties that require it, such as your bank. A bank or financial company may ask your agent to complete an agent certification form in which your agent verifies that your power of attorney is effective and they have the authority to act on your behalf. You should also discuss your wishes and instructions with your agent so they understand their responsibilities.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Maine?

Yes. In Maine, your agent may receive reimbursement for expenses reasonably incurred while acting under your power of attorney. They may also receive reasonable compensation for their services unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Maine Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, a power of attorney created and executed according to the laws of the state of Maine should be valid in another state.

Can I Revoke My Maine Power of Attorney?

Yes. If you are mentally competent, you can revoke your Maine power of attorney at any time. Make a written statement of revocation and give copies to your agent and any third parties who relied on the POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Maine?

In addition to your financial power of attorney, you should consider two other critical estate planning documents: a health care directive and a last will and testament.

A healthcare directive incorporates a healthcare power of attorney and a living will. This document is known as an advance healthcare directive in Maine. In this document, you name an agent to access your medical information, talk to healthcare providers, and make your medical decisions when you can’t. You can also leave your wishes for medical treatments or life-sustaining measures when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

last will and testament lets you decide who you want to manage your estate, receive your property, and care for your minor children. If you don’t have a will, called “dying intestate,” a probate court follows state intestacy laws to distribute your property and decides who will care for your children. Having a will puts you in control of these decisions, protects your loved ones, and speeds up the probate process.

Fortunately, it is easy to make a valid power of attorney in Maine and create other estate planning documents with online estate planning templates.


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