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There are four different courts in Maine, each with its own unique set of responsibilities. Which court you see will depend on your particular legal issue.
The probate courts handle all estate and probate matters as well as adoption while the district courts handle all other issues that don't require jury trials. This includes traffic infractions, city ordinance violations, domestic relations and family issues, preliminary hearings for felonies and misdemeanors, minor civil affairs and criminal cases. The superior courts handle all legal issues that require jury trials. These include civil trials with larger monetary amounts and more serious misdemeanors and felonies.
Decisions made in the district and probate courts may be appealed to the superior court judges in some cases, but in other cases, they along with decisions made in the Superior Court may be appealed to the Maine Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state as well as the chief administrative body for the courts as a whole. It is in charge of bar admissions, judicial discipline and general court management.
When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Maine attorney by location and by practice area. We have Maine attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.
LawInfo offers free Maine legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.
If you're a homeowner, you may be looking for ways to put your real estate assets to good use. Renting is an option for many homeowners, but it carries certain risks as well. LawInfo provides a free Maine Residential Lease Agreement to mitigate these risks as much as possible so you can have peace of mind. You can use our form to create a legally binding contract that covers all the bases so that you won't have to worry about damages or liabilities involved in trusting someone else with your property.
Some people believe that a Last Will and Testament is only for older people, but the truth is that most adults should have a will on file in case something happens. If you die without a will, you are said to die "intestate," and your possessions will consequently be divided up by an impersonal probate court without regard for your wishes. Filing a free Last Will and Testament document from LawInfo can ensure that your loved ones receive your possessions according to your wishes.
With a free Power of Attorney document from LawInfo, you can choose who will be allowed to make decisions on your behalf about important financial, medical and legal matters. This document is commonly used if you become medically incapacitated or if you are otherwise unable to speak for yourself. By making this power clear in writing, you can reduce stress on yourself as well as your loved ones.
If you plan to start a new business in Maine, congratulations on taking the plunge! Business ownership can be among the most personally satisfying ventures, but you have to make sure that you follow all the rules and regulations involved in the process. Visit the Maine Small Business Development Center for helpful advice on how to get started, including help with business plans, funding options and general tips for entrepreneurs.
After you're finished with your business planning, you need to choose the proper business structure. Liability and tax concerns will vary depending on which business type you choose. A sole proprietorship allows you to start without having to file incorporation documents or pay corporate taxes and fees, but your own finances will be at risk. A corporation protects your own financial situation a little more, but the fees and taxes are higher.
Small businesses employ 58.7 percent of the Maine private sector work force. The unemployment rate was just under 7 percent through 2013, which is slightly lower than the rest of the United States. Maine is home to nearly 144,000 small businesses, accounting for 97 percent of employers. The gross state product in Maine grew by 1.8 percent in 2011, which was slightly less than the national average GDP. The large business presence in Maine is significant as well: In 2010, there were 1,005 large employers in Maine, but no Fortune 500 companies were headquartered in the state.