Maine’s probate courts operates under a centralized system

January 16, 2014

Businesses may experience roadblocks when they are transitioning toward an electronic records management system, but these delays are a common concern in the public sector.

This issue is widespread across federal, state and local governments. Even with an executive directive in place, many federal agencies are behind schedule. But in Maine, every probate court will be able to electronically process requests and file paperwork through centralized data processing, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Improving data processes in Maine was not easy — plans to become less dependent on paper began in 2006. Although the cost to implement this data processing system caused a debate, all the probate courts decided that it would be more affordable to operate from the same software.

“Instead of each county paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to have their own vendors design it, we negotiated fixed purchase costs and annual maintenance fees pro-rated for each county based on population,” Dana Hanley, Oxford County probate judge told the source.

Based on Hanley’s statement, Cumberland County had to pay the largest portion of the cost of the $525,000 data processing program, which amounted to $25,000. On the other hand, Penobscot County paid $13,700 and is responsible to cover some of the maintenance fees.

Despite the cost of the centralized data processing system, tasks for probate court employees and local attorneys have greatly improved. For Frank Bemis of Presque Isle, he no longer has to drive two hours to the closest probate court to file documents in person.

“[Mailed documents] could get there anytime,” Bemis explained. “Then you had to call or wait to get confirmation it had arrived. With e-filing, we know immediately it has arrived.”

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