Financial and medical powers of attorney

“I want to give my daughter permission to make medical and financial decisions in the event that I can’t. What forms do I need to file, and how to get those forms?”

There are two documents, generally, to achieve this objective:

(1) General Durable Financial Power of Attorney

(2) Healthcare POA & Advance Healthcare Directive

The second one (healthcare) you can obtain online or from an attorney, while the first one you should only get from an attorney.

Definition – Power-of-Attorney (POA).  Generally, a power of attorney is a legal document that one person (principal) issues to give another person (agent) the power to act for the principal. The POA can give the agent a very broad legal authority, or it can be very limited. The power of attorney is frequently used in the event of a principal’s illness or disability, or when the principal can’t be present to sign necessary legal documents for financial transactions.


You should contact a lawyer about this financial POA, because you need to be aware of the risks of giving someone broad power to make decisions about your property and finances.

As the “Principal” you are using this power of attorney to grant power to another person (called the Agent) to make decisions about your property and to use your property on your behalf. Under this power of attorney, you give your Agent broad and sweeping powers to sell or otherwise dispose of your property without notice to you. Under this document your Agent will continue to have these powers after you become incapacitated. The powers that you give your Agent are explained more fully in the Maine Uniform Power of Attorney Act, Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18-A, Article 5, Part 9. You have the right to revoke this power of attorney at any time as long as you are not incapacitated. If there is anything about this power of attorney that you do not understand you should ask a lawyer to explain it to you.

Durable.  A “Durable” POA means that your Agent will continue to have these powers after you become incapacitated.

Effective immediately or after incapacitation (springing). 

  • Immediate – Your agent’s authority becomes effective immediately (on the day you sign the document) and co-exists with your own financial powers, which means that you do NOT surrender your ability to make financial decisions.
  • Springing – Your agent’s authority becomes effective only after a physician or a court determines that you are not able or competent (illness, age, etc.) to make decisions.

Revocation of Power of Attorney.  You have the right to revoke this power of attorney at any time as long as you are not incapacitated. You should do so in writing and ensure all banks and businesses are aware.


You have the right to name someone else to make health-care decisions for you (healthcare power of attorney).  You also have the right to give instructions about your own health care (advance directive).

  • Part 1, Power of Attorney for Health Care.  You identify the person (and an alternate) as your agent to make health-care decisions for you if you become incapable of making your own decisions or if you want someone else to make those decisions for you now even though you are still capable.
  • Part 2, Instructions for Health Care.  Provides your specific instructions to your agent and your healthcare providers about your health care and your wishes.

Where to get this form:

Please read the instructions to ensure that you complete and sign the document properly.  They need to be witnessed and notarized.

Finally, to find an attorney in your area, search on the internet for an attorney who practices “estate planning” or “elder” law.

Todd Crawford, Esq.

How do I serve divorce papers on my spouse when I don’t know where they live?

This is especially a problem when spouses have been separated for a substantial period of time, and there has been little to no communication between them.  I often hear that one spouse only knows that the other lives in (Boston, Manchester, the County. . . .)  If you need to serve the other person with papers, for example, divorce or parental rights documents, this can pose to be a difficult hurdle.  You need to give notice to, or “serve” your spouse.  There is no way around this.  You will need to know in what geographical region (city or county) you spouse is in, or the last known address.

A fundamental requirement of due process (14th Amendment) requires that all parties to a legal action have reasonable notice of the proceeding or legal action, and that they are afforded the opportunity to present their objections.

At the beginning of every divorce case, the spouse who files for divorce (the “plaintiff”) must “serve” your spouse (“defendant”) with notice of the impending divorce action.  You must provide proof to the court that the other spouse has received notice (i.e., been served).

Reasonable efforts.  You must make every reasonable effort to notify/serve your spouse:

  • attempting service by Mail
  • attempting Service by Certified or Registered Mail
  • having a Deputy Sheriff attempt Service
  • checking with public databases (phone book, tax records, voting rolls) and private sources (relatives, neighbors, employers)

In most cases this isn’t a problem, but sometimes, after you separate, you simply cannot locate the defendant.  If you have made all reasonable efforts, but still cannot find the defendant, the court may let you do “Service by Alternative Means.”

Service by Alternative Means.  “Alternative means” of service can be complicated.  I recommend that you get help from a lawyer if you can afford it.  If you cannot afford a lawyer, hopefully you can speak with a volunteer lawyer at the CourtHouse Assistance Project “CHAP”.

Methods.  There are several methods of “Alternative Service:”

Service by another means not prohibited by law.  Court permission is required.  The Court may allow you to serve your spouse in a way that will most likely provide them with actual notice.  This may include service by electronic means.

Service by publication.  Court permission is required.  This is the last option.  You will need to pick a newspaper that the other party will most likely see.  This means that you will need to provide some location where the defendant is, or the last known address.  The Order will be published in that newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks.

Fee Waiver.  You may be financially eligible to have the service fees waived by the court.

If you can’t afford the fee, you can file your papers with the court first, along with your fee waiver application.  Explain in your application why you need to use Service by Sheriff.  If the court approves your application, the court will pay for the cost of Sheriff Service.

Business spotlight – Law Office of Todd H. Crawford, Jr., P.A. by Michelle Libby

The Windham Eagle

Friday, January 6, 2017

Please read the full article at The Windham Eagle Business Spotlight

Todd Crawford has a passion for justice and serving others. Through his law practice on Route 302 in Raymond, Crawford helps his clients with estate planning, family law and criminal law cases. He believes in getting all of the facts and informing his clients of the process they will face with their cases, whether the case is over custody or an alleged criminal offense.

Crawford spent 28 years in the military split between the Navy submarine force and the Army National Guard. He received his law degree in 1997 and has practiced at various firms over the years until he had to step away because of his commitment to the military. Three years ago, he decided to retire from the military and re-open his practice.

“I had to retire so I could open my practice to get back to what I love to do,” he said. “I love being able to provide a service to people. I’m passionate about the law and passionate about justice.”
He was driven to be a lawyer by a need to oversee the justice system. The first part of his job is to explain to clients what’s going to happen, what the process will be. In a criminal case, it’s his job to protect his client’s rights.

Crawford’s father was an attorney. Crawford spent his youth doing some filing for his dad’s practice and he’d hear him talking on the phone being kind to people, helping them. It was then he knew he wanted to be in a position that he could help people. Through his practice, he forms a connection with people then provides them with a service.

Crawford does a lot of landlord/tenant issues, criminal and family law, wills, powers of attorney, business formations and non-profit paperwork. He also does a lot of court appointed work and child protective work representing parents.

“Getting people through those bad times is rewarding,” he said. He sees a lot of family problems stemming from drug addiction. “It’s phenomenally devastating and painful to watch.”

He will meet people at locations that are convenient to them. They can’t always get to his office so he’ll meet them at Burger King on Forest Avenue in Portland for example.

Each case is evaluated on its own merits and facts, Crawford said. “I don’t assume anyone is guilty. I don’t make that assessment. I just look at the facts. Turn over the stones.”

He’d like to see more people who are interested in doing estate planning, including wills and powers of attorney. “They need to think of it when they’re young,” he said.

He’d also like to work with people forming businesses.
“I love doing criminal law. It’s the service side, helping someone who’s in trouble,” he said. He wanted to insure that their rights and liberties are protected.

Additionally, he does divorces, child support cases or post-divorce issues.
Crawford is fair and competitive in his pricing. His work is more reasonable than going into Portland to a big firm, he said.

Volunteering is also important to Crawford. He works with the Volunteer Lawyer Program’s Courthouse Assistance Programs (CHAP). Once a month he spends an afternoon in Portland providing free law advice on family law issues. They are the most challenging interviews and he loves it, he said. There are language barriers, cultural differences and he works through all of those challenges to get the people the help they need.

He has been recognized by Katahdin Council Recognition Program for his volunteer work in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He also has a passion for working with veterans. He is on the board for Veterans Count of Easter Seals of Maine. He has carried remembrance stones for two soldiers he service with through The Summit Project and he works with Team Rubicon, which fills in the gap between a natural disaster and when FEMA arrives.

Crawford is married to a prosecutor in Portland so he does not take juvenile cases in Cumberland County. He does do other cases in Portland. He also goes to Bridgton, Oxford County, York County and Augusta. He’ll travel anywhere in the area.

Administrative assistant Carolyn Helwig has 27 years of experience in the Bridgton Courthouse. She is Crawford’s right hand when it comes to fielding call and helping clients when he is with someone else.

For more information on Crawford’s services, visit www., email [email protected] or for best results call 207-613-2955.

Granite Coast Entertainment Corporation

Congratulations and welcome to Granite Coast Entertainment Corporation!


I am extremely proud to have assisted the Granite Coast Entertainment Corporation as the sole incorporator, and I continue to serve as the corporation’s registered clerk.  I am excited about Granite Coast Entertainment (GCE) and the launch of GRANITE COAST RADIO and GRANITE COAST MAGAZINE.  The company focuses on promoting independent music talent from all over New England!


Granite Coast Radio presents online radio stations for various genres of music from local musicians.  You will be pleasantly surprised at the great talent in your backyard!  Listen either through GCE’s own media player or via TuneIn radio player (I highly recommend the GCE media player, which displays the local musicians and their information.

Warning:  this may become your new favorite music station – GRANITE COAST ENTERTAINMENT

Presently there are several stations, but more stations, and more live shows coming very soon!


THE ROCK QUARRY CHANNEL – Metal, Rock, and Punk


Read articles, track upcoming events, view photos, and listen to your favorite local musicians, or find your new favorites!

Coming in January 2015, GCE publishes a top-quality, full color magazine featuring a national artist with a New England connection. Granite Coast Magazine will be a FREE, quarterly publication with planned special editions.

Granite Coast is the cutting edge in the local music scene.  Don’t get left behind.


Welcome to Crawford Law!

Thank you for your patience while I continue to get my website pages in full operation.  I am taking the time to create a site that provides you access to information and is helpful to your needs.  In fact, if you have any suggestions, I certainly appreciate your input.  No one grows without constructive feedback.

Please do not ever hesitate to call me with your legal questions or request for guidance.

I am an accredited attorney with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to represent veterans before the VA for disability claims.  I am very happy to help any veterans with questions regarding their VA benefits in addition to disability benefits.

My goal is to provide quality legal representation to the people and businesses of southern Maine.

I look forward to speaking with you.