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McCandless & Coburn LLC, a Trust and Estate Law Firm
image of Portland, Maine

Estate Planning

Estate Planning requires a careful weighing of personal and family goals against the fulfillment of legal, financial and tax requirements. We work closely with our clients to satisfy their vision for the future. Our integrated approach to Estate Planning allows us to balance these important considerations, and deliver a carefully crafted, personalized estate plan.

Basic Services

  • Prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance health-care directives, and help clients with beneficiary designations for their retirement accounts and life insurance policies
  • Advise clients on matters of federal and Maine taxes, including estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation-skipping transfer taxes so they make the best decisions for the distribution of their assets

Advanced Services

In the event that family concerns or the scope of personal assets warrant more extensive planning, we also:
  • Draft irrevocable trusts for life insurance, real estate or other assets
  • Advise our individual clients about the use of charitable trusts or other methods of planned giving
  • Help plan and coordinate lifetime gifts to family members
  • Assist the planning and implementation of a gifting program to reduce estate taxes
  • Provide advice concerning the transfer of interests in family partnerships and closely held corporations
  • Formulate trusts for family members with special needs


In certain cases, our clients ask us to act as trustee of specific trusts or personal representative of their estates. While this is not a role we actively solicit, the combination of our familiarity with the Maine Probate Code, the Maine Uniform Trust Code, other relevant state laws and the Internal Revenue Code, as well as our professional impartiality and our knowledge of a family's specific goals, allows us to serve in that role effectively. In such cases, we work actively to facilitate agreement between family members and other beneficiaries.


Estate Planning at McCandless & Coburn LLC follows a well-defined process that is designed to balance thoroughness and efficiency.
  1. Our clients complete a detailed questionnaire concerning their family, personal history and finances prior to our first meeting. This allows us to:
    • Recognize issues that may be relevant to their family situation
    • Gain insight into their goals for providing for their family
    • Understand concerns that clients may have about particular family members
    • Spot underlying tax issues and formulate a plan to allow clients to meet objectives while avoiding unnecessary taxes
  2. For our first meeting with clients, we:
    • Listen carefully to the client, to understand their concerns and their vision for their family, friends and favorite charities
    • Review the questionnaire and discuss, at length, the clients' concerns and the options to accomplish their goals for their family and others
    • Review the clients' assets and the form of ownership
    • Answer any questions that clients may have about federal and state tax laws, including gift taxes, estate taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes and income taxes
    • Provide an overview of estate administration. In particular, we discuss the interplay between legal, financial, probate and tax factors, and formulate a plan that best achieves the clients' intentions while meeting legal requirements and reducing taxes
  3. An estate planning paralegal prepares the initial drafts of the documents. The draft documents are reviewed by Betsey or Sarah.
  4. The draft documents are sent to the client for their review along with a detailed outline of the documents, including:
    • Explanations of the significance of their provisions
    • How they carry out the client's intentions
    • The tax planning incorporated into the documents
  5. After the client reviews the documents, we respond to all questions and revise the documents as necessary. The final documents are then read by the other attorney.
  6. Once all questions have been answered and the documents are finalized, we make an appointment for signature.
  7. McCandless & Coburn LLC retains copies of the documents for archival purposes.