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Your Rhode Island last will and testament, created with confidence

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Rhode Island will options for every family

Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$99
What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

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Reliable, easy Rhode Island will forms fast

In Rhode Island, if you die without a will (“intestate“), your assets will be distributed according to the state’s “intestacy laws.” These default laws favor spouses and children as heirs, but they may not align with your family’s needs perfectly. This is especially true if you have a blended family, special needs children, family conflict, or other special circumstances.

A will enables you to make your own decisions about how to distribute your property, including what happens to your property, at what age beneficiaries can access their inheritance, and explicitly disinherit individuals you do not wish to inherit.

Kimberly_Lekman_image

Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What’s next to make my Rhode Island will valid?

If you want a will, you can hire a lawyer or use a will form from a reliable source. If you use a form, follow these steps:

Choose an executor

An executor is the person who winds up your estate in a court-supervised process known as probate. Under Rhode Island law, you can choose an executor in your will. This should be someone you trust who is willing to perform this duty. They will need to pay off your debts out of your estate and distribute your assets in accordance with your will’s instructions. Many people choose an executor who is a close family member like a sibling, spouse, or adult child.

Choose beneficiaries

You can choose individuals or entities as your beneficiaries. Depending on your situation, you might name a charity or a trust as a beneficiary. A trust can be particularly useful if you have minor children. Through a trust, you can name a trustee to manage your children’s finances on their behalf.

List your assets and debts

After you have chosen your beneficiaries and decided how to distribute your property, you should create a list of your assets and debts. Your assets include all of your real property and personal property. Real property means real estate such as your home, land, vacation houses, or investment properties. Your personal property covers other possessions, including furniture, vehicles, jewelry, heirlooms, and anything else you own. If you would like certain items to go to specific beneficiaries, you should say so in your will.

List your non-probate property

Some property cannot be distributed through your will. These include life insurance policies, trusts, annuities, and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries. These inheritances will pass directly to the named beneficiaries. You cannot change these designations through your will. With a list of these accounts in hand, your executor will be better able to handle their distribution.

Choose guardians for your minor children

If you are the parent of minor children, you can choose guardians for your children through your will. This way, you know that if anything were to happen to you and your children’s other parent, your children will be cared for by a guardian of your choice. Make sure to choose a guardian who is responsible and willing to take on this responsibility. This will help to avoid family conflict and court proceedings regarding your choice.

Sign your will

You should sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. They should both be present when you sign, and they must also sign it. Your witnesses should be people who are not beneficiaries to your will. If you choose witnesses who are also beneficiaries, their inheritance will be voided under Rhode Island law. After you have signed your will, you should let your loved ones know about it. Be sure to give a copy of your will to your executor and store a copy in a secure place. A popular option is to keep a copy of a will in a locked safe that a loved one can open.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
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Common questions about Rhode Island wills

If you die without a valid Rhode Island will, a probate court will distribute your property according to state laws called “intestate succession” laws. The Rhode Island intestate succession laws state that if you have a surviving spouse, they have the right to claim $150,000 of the real estate you leave behind. Your spouse can also use the real estate for the rest of their lifetime. Your spouse then inherits $50,000 of your personal property and half of the remaining balance.

After the spouse has received their share, your remaining property would go to your surviving children, if any. Your property would then go to other surviving close relatives. If there were none, your property would go to increasingly distant relatives.

If you would like to avoid the intestate succession laws, you should create a will. Your will enables you to distribute your property in the way that best suits your family rather than relying on the state’s default laws. With FindLaw, you can easily create your Rhode Island will from the convenience and comfort of home.

There are certain legal requirements for a valid will in Rhode Island. These are similar to the requirements in many other states:

  • The will must be in writing.
  • You must sign the will in front of two witnesses.
  • You (the “testator“) must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be of “sane mind” when you sign your will.

To fulfill the “sane mind” requirement, you simply must be able to understand that you are creating a will, generally remember what property you own, and understand how you would like to distribute it at the time of signing.

A last will and testament is the primary estate planning document. You can use your will to distribute your property and name guardians for minor children.

living will is a legal document you use to specify your decisions on medical procedures and treatments in advance. Through your living will, you can decide whether you would want your medical providers to use a life-sustaining procedure if you had a terminal condition.

Rhode Island living will only becomes valid if you cannot make medical care decisions for yourself. If this were to happen, your family and treatment providers would follow your living will when deciding on any medical procedure that prolongs life.

If you get married after you sign your will, Rhode Island law automatically revokes your will. The exception to this would be if it is clear that you wrote your will knowing that you were going to get married.

A divorce does not invalidate your entire will, but it does affect certain provisions. If you left anything to your spouse in your will, those gifts are revoked by the divorce unless it is clear that you wrote your will knowing you would get divorced.

If you get married or go through a divorce after signing your will, the best plan is to create a new will to make your wishes clear.

You can change your will by writing a new will or by writing an amendment (known as a “codicil“). A codicil is sufficient if you are making very minor changes to your will.

If you need to do a significant revision of your will, you should create a new will. When you go through major life events, you may want to change the way your will distributes your property. You may even want to add or remove beneficiaries from your will.

After any significant life events, you may want to draft a new will. Make sure to let your loved ones know about your new will and give a copy to your executor. If you create a will through FindLaw, you can make unlimited changes to it for a full year after purchase.

To completely revoke a will, you can:

  • Write a new will that revokes your prior will
  • Tear up, burn, or otherwise physically destroy your will with the intention to revoke
  • Create a new written document that states your intention to revoke your will. This document should be signed with the same witnessing formalities as the will itself.

Whether you created a new will or revoked your will completely, you should make sure that your loved ones, executor, and attorney (if you have one) know about the changes to your estate plan.

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