The Rhode Island durable power of attorney (DPOA) is a legal document used for transferring powers from one person to another.
The person issuing the durable power of attorney called the principal, will authorize another person, called the agent or the attorney-in-fact, to represent them before governmental, financial, medical, or other institutions or third parties.
The difference between durable and other types of powers of attorney is that the first remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
The incapacity can happen due to the principal’s bad physical or mental disability, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or simply because the principal is located far from the place where a certain action needs to be taken.
Durable Power of Attorney Laws & Requirements in Rhode Island
Laws & Requirements
Signature requirements. The principal must sign the Rhode Island durable power of attorney before the notary public. Witnesses are not required. (§ 18-16-2)
Statutory form: The Rhode Island Statute provides the statutory form for the power of attorney at § 18-16-2.
“Durable” as defined by the state law: The Rhode Island Power of Attorney Act doesn’t provide a definition of the term “durable.” However, it enables the principal to determine the duration of the power of attorney.
How to Fill out a Durable Power of Attorney in Rhode Island
#1. Designate an Agent
First, you should name the person who is going to represent your interests and act on your behalf. The agent should be an adult with the legal capacity to act.
When choosing an agent, you should also look for someone that you trust, especially if you are planning to authorize them to make decisions regarding your finances and healthcare. Finally, the agent should be located near a place where they can exercise their authority and be willing to represent you.
In this section, you can also name the successor agent. A successor agent will exercise their authority only in cases where the primary agent loses capacity or is otherwise unable to represent you.
#2. Grant Authority
Once you have determined the agent, you should define the scope of their authority.
The Rhode Island durable power of attorney form provides three main ways in which you can determine the agent’s authority:
Scope of Authority
General authority. If you select this option, you will enable your agent to take all the necessary actions when representing you and to interact with any third party. You can limit the general authority by providing a list of activities the agent is not allowed to take part in.
Partial authority. Here, you can select the activities you want to include in your agent’s scope of authority from the list of activities provided in the durable power of attorney form. You make the selection by signing your initials next to the relevant authority.
Specific authority. With this option, you can describe the scope of authority in your own words. In this way, you can include the activities that are not provided in the durable power of attorney form by default.
#3. Ensure the Form is Durable
In Rhode Island, you can make the power of attorney durable by setting the duration of the document to be indefinite.
#4. Sign the Form
The principal must sign the Rhode Island durable power of attorney before the notary public according to the signature requirements provided by state law.
#5. Notarize the Form
In Rhode Island, the durable power of attorney must be notarized. By notarizing the document, the notary public will confirm the authenticity of the principal’s signature and the overall authenticity of the document.
#6. Store Your Durable Power of Attorney Form
After finalizing the document, you should keep it in your possession and store it in a safe place.
You can give one copy of the document to the agent so they can prove their capacity to any third party they are interacting with on your behalf.
How to Revoke a Durable Power of Attorney in Rhode Island
The best way to revoke the Rhode Island durable power of attorney is to issue a revocation letter. It should include the name of the agent and the date of issuance of the power of attorney.
To make the revocation effective, you should give a copy of the revocation letter to the agent and to every third party they are interacting with on your behalf.