Maine’s new Uniform Power of Attorney Act

Effective July 1, 2010, Maine has adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. This new law applies to power of attorneys created before, on or after July 1, 2010, but powers of attorney prior to July 1, 2010 remain effective. In response to the new law, we have substantially expanded our Durable General Power of Attorney form to include the new statutory language.

Highlights of New Act:

  • A power of attorney is durable unless it expressly provides that it is terminated by the incapacity of the principal.

  • A photocopy or electronically transmitted copy of an original power of attorney has the same effect as the original.

  • If a principal designates 2 or more persons to act as coagents, each coagent may exercise its authority independently, unless it expressly provides otherwise.

  • An agent’s authority terminates when an action is filed for the termination or annulment of the agent’s marriage to the principal or their legal separation, unless the power of attorney provides otherwise (a similar provision applies to registered domestic partners that have filed a notice consenting to the termination of a registered domestic partner or a notice of intent to terminate).

  • To protect against the financial abuse of the principal by the agent, a principal’s spouse, parent, descendant, presumptive heir or beneficiary, among others, can petition the Probate Court to review the agent’s conduct and grant appropriate relief.

  • Third parties that refuse to accept an acknowledged power of attorney are subject to a court order mandating acceptance of the power of attorney and liability for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in any action or proceeding that confirms the validity of the power of attorney or mandates acceptance of the power of attorney.

  • The new law does not apply to a power created on a form prescribed by a government or governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality for a governmental purpose.

If you would like to have us prepare updated Durable General Power of Attorney documents for you, or otherwise review and/or update your other estate planning documents, please contact Attorney Jennifer I. Richard