Phoenix, AZ asked in Probate for Maine

Q: Is there such thing as a childs fair share in maine? My brother was my mothers P>O>A and she passed a month ago.

She had several life insurance policies and one used to go to me which I am sure he had changed. Can I challange any of this?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Daniel J. Eccher
Daniel J. Eccher
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Winthrop, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: Your questions bring up a number of issues. In answer to your first question: generally, yes, each child should share equally in someone’s estate, unless the person who died indicated that one or more children should not share in the inheritance. In your specific case, based on your second question, you seem to be questioning your brother’s actions as your mother’s agent under power of attorney during her lifetime. An agent under power of attorney has a fiduciary duty to the principal (in this case, your brother had a fiduciary duty to your mother). One of his duties as her agent was to “Attempt to preserve the principal's estate plan.” 18-A M.R.S.A. Sec. 5-914. It seems like you are questioning whether he did so. Furthermore, in order for an agent under power of attorney to change the beneficiary designation of a life insurance policy, the power of attorney document must have specifically authorized the agent to do so. 18-A M.R.S.A. Sec. 5-931.

If you think your brother overstepped his authority as her agent, you can challenge him in probate court. 18-A M.R.S.A. Sec. 5-917. I recommend that you consult a lawyer with probate experience. You can even ask the court to order your brother to pay your attorney's fees.

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