Ask a Lawyer: Possible Perils of Joint and Multiparty Bank Accounts

written by Attorney Kirk G. Siegel

Q:  I am 83 years old and was thinking of adding the oldest of my three children as an account holder on my bank account. She lives near nearby and helps me with paying bills. Is this okay?

A:  Caution is advised in this situation as there are a number of possible problems.  A power of attorney for your daughter might be preferable.  First, the terms of a deposit account need to be read carefully because frequently each account holder will have the right to withdraw the entire account, regardless of his or her contribution.  That type of account would give your daughter more rights in your account than you might intend.  It also might make that daughter (and not your other children) the owner of the account at your death because 18-A M.R.S.A. §6-104 provides that “sums remaining on deposit at the death of a party to a joint account belong to the surviving party or parties (rather than the estate of the decedent) unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intention at the time the account is created.” Continue reading

Honorable Dana C. Hanley Presents Seminars on E-Filing in Probate Courts

The firm’s senior attorney Dana C. Hanley, in his capacity as Judge of Probate for Oxford County as well as Chair of the Maine Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Probate Rules, presented two separate sessions on “E-filing in the Probate Courts” at the two-day Elder Law Estate Planning Institute held on September 28th and 29th.  While e-filing is not yet possible in the other state courts in Maine, the Probate Courts have already initiated a pilot program in Oxford, Cumberland, Penobscot and York counties which has been ongoing since May 1, 2012.  The remaining twelve counties will be able to start the pilot program on May 1, 2013, at which time the original four counties will have mandatory e-filing for attorneys and it will remain optional for pro-se petitioners.

“Do More With Less”

written by Attorney Dana C. Hanley and published in an April 2011 issue of the Portland Press Herald.

“Do more with less”; my father often shared that mantra with me and my three brothers when we were growing up. Forty years ago, I thought that was merely parent speak for “stop complaining” when my brothers and I grumbled about doing our chores.  In this era of declining state revenues and a $4.3 Billion dollar projected shortfall in Maine’s employee pension plan, I now see the wisdom in my dad’s words.

There are many in Augusta and throughout Maine with firm resolve that “doing more with less” is not possible.  I do not presume to have a magic panacea or all the answers to the multitude of questions and issues surrounding these troubling financial times. However, I do have a fairly unique perspective which may help to shed light on how we Mainers can frugally achieve meaningful reforms without further breaking the State’s piggy bank. Continue reading