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Quickly create your Rhode Island health care directive

You can complete FindLaw’s attorney-created health care directive forms in less than an hour at home. Our guided process takes you through a few easy steps and includes a free HIPAA release form. You’ll be able to download, print and sign your documents in no time.

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Rhode Island health care directive options for everyone

Health Care Directive

For One Person

A do-it-yourself health care directive that’s easy to personalize.

What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
A health care directive tailored to your needs
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
Free HIPAA release form
Free changes and revisions to your document for up to a full year after purchase


Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

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

Still not sure what estate planning tools you need?

Attorney-approved Rhode Island health care directives

If you ever become medically incapacitated, you may not be able to communicate your treatment choices. Your family members and doctors may then make medical decisions for you that you would not have wanted. If you would like to make your own choice on the refusal of life support in the event of a terminal condition, you can do so through a health care directive. Although this can be unpleasant to consider, it ensures that you do not receive unwanted future treatments.


Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

How it works

Create your health care directive in under an hour

Create an account

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

Gather information

Decide who will be your health care agent/proxy, which treatments you would request or refuse and release your records

Complete your document

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

Make it legal

Print and sign your document according to instructions. Give copies to your doctors and agent/proxy

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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 health care directive valid?

Follow these steps:

Make decisions on your medical care

A health care directive is a type of advance care directive (“advance directive“). You can use a health care directive to make your own choice about the administration or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment that would only prolong the dying process. This decision would go into effect in the event that you become unable to make your own decisions and have a terminal condition.

It can be difficult to make these serious medical choices, but it’s worth the effort. It may save your loved ones from family turmoil if you make your end-of-life wishes known in advance. With a health care directive, you can potentially spare your family members from arguments over conflicting views on your medical choices. If you have trouble making these decisions, it may be helpful to discuss them with a trusted doctor and close loved ones before finalizing your document.

Choose a health care agent

Under Title 23 of Rhode Island statutes, you have the option of choosing a health care agent who can make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so for yourself. The legal document you would use to name your health care agent is called a durable power of attorney for health care (a “POA”). It is also sometimes referred to as a health care power of attorney. This is another type of advance directive in addition to a health care directive. You are under no obligation to name a health care agent. But it can give you peace of mind to know that a trusted person will make your health care decisions if you cannot make them for yourself.

If you would like to choose a health care agent, you should consider this choice carefully. You need to make sure that you trust this person to carry out the terms of your health care directive and to act in your best interests on medical decisions that are not covered by your health care directive. Another important consideration is whether this person will be willing to be assertive with family members and medical staff to advocate for your wishes. Also, consider whether your health care agent lives within close proximity and will be able to be by your side at short notice.

Many people choose a close family member for this role. Common choices include a sibling, a spouse, an adult child, or other family member. Before finalizing your choice of a health care agent, you should talk to this person and make sure they are willing to take on this major responsibility.

Sign your health care directive

The requirements on health care directive signatures are described in Rhode Island’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.

To make your health care directive legally valid, you must sign it or direct someone to do so on your behalf. There must be two witnesses present when you sign. The witnesses must also sign the document. Neither of the witnesses should be related to you by blood or marriage.

Distribute your health care directive

After you sign your advance directives, you need to make sure that the right people have them. First of all, you should provide your health care agent with a copy. This will give them a better idea about your end-of-life treatment preferences.

Make sure to give your advance directives to your health care providers too. They will not be able to act on the instructions in your advance directives if they do not have copies of them. Finally, be sure to provide any close loved ones with your health care directive and put a copy in a safe place that they know about and can access.

Update your health care directive

You should review your advance directives from time to time to make sure that you still agree with the selections you had previously made. There are also certain life events that may make it necessary to revise your advance directives. If you have gone through a divorce, an interstate move, received a new diagnosis, or simply had a change of heart, you may need to update your advance directives. In the event of a divorce, you may want to name a new health care agent to replace your former spouse.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if:

  • Your family disagrees with your medical choices
  • You don’t know who to appoint as your agent
  • You have questions about life prolonging measures
  • You want legal review of your completed document
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Create my health care directive

Rhode Island health care directive frequently asked questions

last will and testament (a “will”) is the foundation of a good estate plan. You can use your will to provide for the distribution of your assets after your death as you see fit. If you have minor children, you can name guardians for them in a will too.

living will, also known as a health care directive, is not a will in the traditional sense. It is a document you use to describe your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event that you become medically incapacitated with a terminal condition. You cannot use this document to name beneficiaries or describe who should receive your property.

A good estate plan contains both a health care directive and a will. By having both documents, you can make your wishes known regarding both your future health care and your property.

According to the Rhode Island law, there are certain minimum requirements for every health care directive:

  • You must be a competent individual 18 years old or older
  • You must sign your document or direct someone to do so for you
  • There must be two witnesses present at the time you sign

Note that you may not choose anyone who is related to you by blood or marriage to act as a witness.

After you give your health care provider a copy of your advance directives, it is their responsibility to make them a part of your medical record.

Yes. Under Rhode Island law, your out-of-state health care directive is valid if you created it in compliance with that state’s laws.

However, state laws are subject to change, so it’s a good policy to create advance directives that are tailored to Rhode Island law. If you have recently moved to Rhode Island from another state, it’s a good time to review your estate plan, including your advance directives. This will help to ensure that your instructions continue to reflect your wishes.

Through FindLaw, you can create a Rhode Island health care directive in under an hour without needing to leave the comfort of home.

Your health care directive does not go into effect just because of a medical emergency or an overnight hospital stay. It only becomes operative in more serious medical circumstances.

Under Rhode Island’s health care statutes, your health care directive only goes into effect in the event that you become unable to consent to treatment, have a terminal condition, and your attending physician is aware of your health care directive.

Your doctors may not act on the directions in your health care directive if you are still able to communicate your treatment preferences. Your doctors must consult with you directly about your treatment choices as long as you are able to understand your options and give informed consent about medical treatment.

If your doctor is unwilling to carry out the terms of your health care directive, Rhode Island statutes state that the doctor must transfer you to another health care provider who is willing to act on your wishes.

Under Rhode Island law, you can revoke your health care directive or your POA document at any time and in any manner you are able to. This might include creating a new writing to revoke your prior advance directives or physically destroying your documents.

A good way of revoking your health care directive is to create a new one that more accurately reflects your wishes. With FindLaw, you can create a new health care directive that revokes all prior ones.

It’s important that you inform your health care providers immediately of your revocation. They will not be held liable in Rhode Island for acting on your health care directive unless they were actually aware that you had revoked it.

In addition to informing your medical staff of a revocation, you should also let your health care agent and loved ones know. If you revoke your POA, you need to make your health care agent aware that you no longer need their services.

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