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Maine Durable Power of Attorney Laws

A power of attorney is a document that gives someone else, such as a trusted relative or friend, the authority to make certain decisions and act on your behalf. The person to whom you give these powers is called an "agent" or "attorney-in-fact." You are called the "principal."

Durable Power Of Attorney Laws in Maine

In the state of Maine, an agent may be authorized to manage finances and/or make health care decisions. This is known as the "Durable Power of Attorney" (DPOA) for finances. A DPOA for finances allows an agent to spend money on your behalf and manage your property.

Other acts an agent may perform once authorized include:

  • Make healthcare decisions for you or your minor children;
  • Life sustaining procedures;
  • Buy or sell things;
  • Manage a business;
  • Collect debts;
  • Invest money;
  • Cash checks;
  • Manage financial matters generally;
  • Sue on behalf of the principal.

If a patient wants life-sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn if death from an incurable, terminal condition is imminent, then it is a good idea to write it down in what is called a living will or an advance directive.

Are There Alternatives To A Power of Attorney?

Yes, Guardianship and Conservatorship are alternatives. However, you lose many freedoms and rights under Guardianship or Conservatorship and only a probate court can appoint a Guardian or Conservator.

If you want the court to be able to review your affairs, you might want to have this formal arrangement. However, managing your affairs by either alternative can be accomplished more easily with a Power of Attorney. Remember, a power of attorney, even a durable one, ends when you die. It is not a substitute for a will, so it is a good idea to have both

Hiring An Attorney To Help Prepare Your Durable Power of Attorney

The law doesn't require you to have your Durable Power of Attorney prepared or reviewed by a Maine estate planning lawyer. However, if you are giving important powers over to another person, it is wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form. A person who signs a Power of Attorney should fully understand what it means, and consider all the risks and alternatives available to them.

Revoking A Durable Power of Attorney

In order to revoke a Power of Attorney, you can simply write or type a statement which includes the following:

  • Name and date;
  • You wish to revoke the Power of Attorney;
  • Specify the date the original Power of Attorney was signed;
  • Specify the person or persons named as your agent(s); and,
  • Your signature.

The basics of Maine's durable power of attorney laws are highlighted below. See Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care for a general overview.

Code Section 18-C § 5-901, et seq.
Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts Consent or withhold consent or approval relating to any medical or other health care treatment of the principal including life-sustaining treatment when principal is in terminal condition or persistent vegetative state
Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney

If executed on or after September 1, 2019:

  • Signed and notarized
  • Must contain certain statutory notices (18-C § 5-905)

If executed between on or after July 1, 2010 and before September 1, 2019:

  • Signed in front of at least two witnesses or notarized
  • Must contain certain notices per the former 18-A M.R.S.A. § 5-906

If executed before July 1, 2010: valid if executed in compliance with the law as it existed at that time

Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney If you no longer want your relative or friend to handle your affairs, you have the right to revoke (take back) the Durable Power of Attorney at any time as long as you are still of sound mind.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Maine estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Maine Durable Power of Attorney Laws: Related Resources

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