Maine Estate Planning Considerations
Maine is a Common Law State, which means the rules governing the ownership, division, and inheritance of income and property acquired by a husband or wife during their marriage hold that subject to various qualifications, each spouse owns and has complete control over their or her income and property.
Last Will and Testament
The minimum age of a person competent to make a will is 18. The number of witnesses necessary to execute a will is two.
The original custodial gift may be a life insurance policy or annuity contract.
Custodial property may be invested in or used to pay premiums on (1) a policy on the minor’s life if the minor’s estate is the sole beneficiary, or (2) a policy on a third party in whom the child has an insurable interest if the minor or the custodian is the irrevocable beneficiary.
The custodial arrangement terminates when:
- The minor child reaches age 18 (though the donor may override by specifying any termination age up through 21) for custodial transfers made by irrevocable lifetime gift, will, trust, or exercise of a power of appointment.
- The minor child reaches age 18 for other custodial transfers.
- The minor child dies.
Dying without a Last Will, the Maine laws of Intestacy.
The estate goes to the surviving spouse or domestic partner (DP), as follows:
- If there are no surviving descendants or parents, —100% of the estate
- If one or both parents survive, but there are no surviving descendants—$50,000 plus 50% of the balance of the estate
- If there are surviving descendants, all of whom are also descendants of the spouse or DP—$50,000 plus 50% of the balance of the estate
- If there are surviving descendants, at least one of whom is not also a descendant of the spouse or DP—50% of the estate
If there is no surviving spouse or DP, or if a portion of the estate does not go to the spouse or DP:
- 100% to descendants, per capita at each generation (see 18‐A MRS §2‐106)
If there is no surviving descendant:
- 100% to surviving parent or parents equally
If there is no surviving descendant or parent:
- 100% to the descendants of the parents (or the descendants of either parent), per capita at each generation (see 18‐A MRS §2‐106)
If none of the above:
- Intestacy laws outline further distribution steps to the level of grandparents, great‐grandparents, and their descendants. See 18‐A MRS §2‐103 (4), (5).
- If no legally described recipient can be found, estate assets go to the state of Maine.
Death With Dignity
In June of 2019, the governor signed the Maine Death with Dignity Act into law, which permits “a person who is 18 years of age or older, who meets certain qualifications and who has been determined by the person’s attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease…to make a request for medication prescribed for the purpose of ending the person’s life. The bill establishes the procedures for making these requests, including 2 waiting periods and one written and 2 oral requests and requires a 2nd opinion by a consulting physician.” This law is in effect as of 2020.
Maine follows the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to ensure that testators can retain control of their digital property and plan for its ultimate disposition.
Maine does not impose an inheritance tax.
Credit Estate Tax
For estates of decedents dying in 2020, the Maine exclusion amount is $5.8 million, adjusted for inflation.
The following tax rate schedule applies to the taxable estate over the exclusion amount.
- 0% for estates up to $5,800,000
- 8% for estates between $5,800,000 and $8,800,000
- 10% for estates between $8,800,000 and $11,800,000
- 12% for estates in excess of $11,800,000.
Maine does not impose a GST tax.
Maine does not impose a gift tax.