AUGUSTA, Maine — A longtime Bangor lawyer who specializes in estate law has been appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of Penobscot County Probate Judge Allan Woodcock.
Gov. Paul LePage appointed M. Ray Bradford Jr. to replace Woodcock, 92, of Bangor. Woodcock resigned effective Jan. 1 after 50 years in the position.
“I’m pleased the governor picked me and has faith in me to step in and follow in Allan Woodcock’s footsteps,” Bradford said Monday night. “I don’t think I can outdo him in years on the bench unless I find the fountain of youth. I will have to get a new wardrobe of sneakers.”
Woodcock was known for wearing colorful high-top sneakers under his black robe.
The appointment was made public Friday on the governor’s website, according to Michael Cianchette, LePage’s chief legal counsel.
Bradford said he did not know when he would be sworn in but expected it would be soon.
The lawyer said that he would decide at a later date if he would run for the position in 2014.
Last month, the names of Bradford, Wayne P. Doane of Exeter and Marianne Lynch of Bangor were forwarded to the governor by the Penobscot County Republican Committee.
Probate judges are the only elected judges in Maine. The probate courts handle adoptions, wills, guardianships, estates and name changes. To qualify to serve as a probate court judge, candidates must live in the county they are seeking to serve and be a lawyer in good standing with the Maine Overseers of the Bar.
In most Maine counties, including Penobscot, the position of probate judge is part-time but some benefits are included. The salary budgeted this year for a Penobscot County probate judge is about $38,000.