The Best Sources for Rhode Island Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney Forms
If you've decided it's time to prepare documents directing your health care, congratulations. It may be challenging to think about the kinds of medical treatment you do or do not want at the end of life, but your completed forms are almost guaranteed to bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones.
To get started, you'll need the right forms to fill out. In Rhode Island, that means obtaining forms for a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
Which Health Care Forms Are Best?
You have several options for choosing forms in Rhode Island. To make a Living Will, you can use Rhode Island's official form or create your own. (See Rhode Island General Laws § 23-4.11-3.) If you want to make your own Health Care Power of Attorney, you must use the language required by Rhode Island law. (See Rhode Island General Laws § 23-4.10-2.)
If you want to quickly prepare legally valid health care forms for Rhode Island, you can find links to free forms below. Many people prefer, however, to have additional guidance to help them complete their documents.
Following is a brief overview of what Rhode Island's health care forms cover, as well as options for getting additional help, if you need it.
About Rhode Island's Health Care Forms
Rhode Island's health care forms allow you to do the following.
Living Will. Rhode Island's official Living Will form allows you to state that you do not want life-prolonging procedures if you are close to death from an incurable or irreversible condition. It doesn't allow space for directing your health care in different situations or adding other types of guidance about when you would or would not want your life to be prolonged. If you want to provide a more comprehensive guide to your wishes, we recommend that you use the Health Care Power of Attorney published by the Rhode Island Department of Health or one of the other resources discussed below.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The Rhode Island Department of Health offers a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care that allows you to both name a health care representative and leave health care instructions that are much more detailed than the state's Living Will form.
This form allows you to appoint your health care agent to will speak for you if you become too ill to speak for yourself. You can name a first choice and one or two alternates who will step in if your first choice becomes unable to serve. You can write in detailed instructions or restrictions to help your agent make health care decisions for you. You can also include your wishes for organ donation.
What the forms leave out. Rhode Island's health care forms do not provide sections to cover issues that many people consider to be important, such as:
- naming a primary physician to oversee your care
- extending your health care agent's power to cover certain post-death matters, including authorizing an autopsy or arranging for burial or cremation, and
- nominating your agent to serve as your court-appointed guardian to handle all matters related to your personal comfort and care, should that become necessary.
You can make valid Rhode Island health care forms that cover these matters and more using Quicken WillMaker estate planning software or by consulting an experienced lawyer.
Making Rhode Island Health Care Forms with Quicken WillMaker
We're going to be upfront here. The authors of this website, Albin Renauer, J.D., and Shae Irving, J.D., have extensive experience creating tools to help people make their own valid legal forms, and they have spent a couple of decades researching and studying the health care directive laws for the fifty states. Each is a lawyer and contributor to the Quicken WillMaker estate planning software program, available from Nolo.com.
The Rhode Island Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney documents you make with Quicken WillMaker meet all state law requirements and allow you to spell out your wishes for health care in as little or as much detail as you choose. The program walks you step by step through the process of making your documents, explaining each choice along the way. When you're done, you simply print your completed documents and follow the enclosed instructions about how to sign them, have them witnessed or notarized, and get them into the hands of those who may need to know your wishes in the future.
Quicken WillMaker's Rhode Island forms cover all the issues discussed above. If you're ready to get started, you can download Quicken WillMaker and make your forms today.
Where to Get Free Copies of Rhode Island's Health Care Forms
If do-it-yourself software doesn't appeal to you, or if you simply want to compare your options, see the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care available for download from the Rhode Island Department of Health.
When to Get a Lawyer's Help
Health care forms are specially designed so you can complete them on your own, or with input as needed from your doctor or other health care advisers. That said, if you feel more comfortable enlisting a lawyer to make or review your documents, you should seek help from a qualified estate planning attorney.
For more information about hiring a lawyer to make your documents, including situations when a lawyer's help may be particularly useful, see Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Living Will? more...
What Can I Cover in My Living Will?
Both federal and state law give you the power to direct your own medical care. This means that you can say whether you want life-support measures -- such as a respirator or feeding tubes -- at the end of your life.
In truth, you could use a pen and the back of a napkin to scribble a wish that you not be placed on life support and, if those wishes were "clear and convincing," the law would honor them. But have no doubt: The best place to write out your health care wishes is in a living will. By clearly expressing your wishes in a document approved by your state, you can remove confusion and potential conflict from a stressful situation. more...