The “Rhode Island Durable (Statutory) Power of Attorney – Short Form” is a pivotal legal document that grants someone else (the agent) the authority to act on your (the principal’s) behalf in various capacities. This can encompass managing financial transactions, real estate dealings, or other personal matters, should you become unable to do so.

The principal can customize the scope of the agent’s powers, whether it be for specific tasks or broader responsibilities.

This document’s significance lies in its protective and preparative nature. It safeguards the principal, who might become incapacitated or unavailable to make decisions.

The agent is then empowered to manage affairs according to the principal’s wishes. It ensures continuity in managing the principal’s matters and safeguards their interests.

It also legally protects the agent, providing them the authority to act without the risk of legal ramifications.

To establish the context and purpose of the form at the outset.

 

Step 1: Your name and address

 

In this section, you are expected to fill in your legal name where it says “name of principal” and your current mailing address where it says “address of the principal.”

This information identifies you as the person (Principal) granting powers to another person (the Agent).

Example: John Doe, living at 123 Main St, Providence, RI 02903.

Step 2: Attorney’s name and address

 

This field is for the name and address of the individual you appoint as your attorney-in-fact or Agent. This person will have the power to act on your behalf according to the permissions you grant in this document.

This information clarifies who will act on your behalf. It’s necessary to prevent ambiguity and ensure only the appointed individual has these powers.

Example: Jane Doe, residing at 456 Elm St, Providence, RI 02903.

Step 3: Secondary Agent

 

If you want to appoint a secondary agent, this is where their name and address will be inserted.

A secondary agent can act on your behalf if the primary Agent is unable or unwilling to do so. It’s a safety net in case your first choice isn’t available.

Example: Mark Smith, living at 789 Pine St, Providence, RI 02903.

Step 4: Operation

 

In this part, you must decide how the agents will operate if there are two. If you check ‘Severally,’ each Agent can act independently. If you check ‘Jointly,’ the agents must agree and act together.

This designation is critical as it governs how decisions are made. If you anticipate conflict between agents or want to balance power, you might opt for ‘Jointly.’

If you want to ensure action can be taken if one Agent isn’t available, ‘Severally ‘Is a good choice.

Example: If John prefers that Jane and Mark make decisions together, he will choose ‘Jointly.’ If he wants them to be free to act independently, he will select ‘Severally.’

Step 5: Authority

 

This part of the form lists different types of transactions for which you can grant authority to your agent. If there are any transaction types you do not want your agent to have the power to handle, you should strike them out and initial next to them.

This means that you’ll draw a line through the text of that subdivision and write your initials on the line opposite. Here’s a brief rundown of each transaction type:

Real State Transactions (A): This covers all matters related to real estate, like buying, selling, or maintaining property.

Chattel and Goods Transactions (B): This involves personal property, other than real estate, like cars, jewelry, or furniture.

Bond, Share and Commodity Transactions (C): This refers to financial matters, such as buying or selling stocks, bonds, or commodities.

Banking Transactions (D): This involves banking activities, such as withdrawing, depositing, or transferring funds.

Business Operating Transactions (E): This refers to actions related to running a business, such as managing staff or signing contracts.

Insurance Transactions (F): This involves dealing with insurance policies, like making claims or changing coverage.

Claims and Litigations (G): This covers legal matters, such as filing lawsuits or managing existing ones.

Benefits from Military Service (H): This refers to handling benefits related to military service, if applicable.

Records, Reports and Statements (I): This involves managing and making decisions about your personal records, reports, and statements.

All Other Matters (J): This is a catch-all provision for any powers not specifically mentioned above.

Example: If John does not want Jane to handle his real estate transactions, he would strike out and initial next to “(A) real state transactions.”

Step 6: Term

 

This section lets you specify how long the power of attorney should last. You can either make it indefinite or specify an end date.

Example: If John wants his power of attorney to last indefinitely, he will initial next to “(A) be of indefinite duration.” If he wants it to end on December 31, 2025, he will initial next to “(B)” and write that date.

Step 7: Confirmation

 

By signing the document, you affirm that you agree with and accept all actions your agent or their substitutes undertake based on the powers granted in this document.

This confirms that you are making these declarations and decisions freely and willingly. You might also affix a seal in some cases, but this depends on your local laws and requirements.

Example: If John is completing and signing this document on August 10, 2023, he would write, “In witness whereof I have hereunto signed my name and affixed my seal this 10th day of August 2023,” and then sign his name where indicated.

Step 8: Acknowledgement

 

This is another closing statement where you are expected to sign your name, and date the document. You might also affix a seal in some cases, but this depends on your local laws and requirements. This confirms that you are making these declarations and decisions freely and willingly.

With your signature here, you’re acknowledging your comprehension and acceptance of the document’s terms, including the durable nature of the power of attorney.

This ensures that your chosen agent can continue to make decisions on your behalf, even if you’re unable to do so yourself.

Example: If John is completing and signing this document on August 10, 2023, he would write, “In witness whereof I have hereunto signed my name and affixed my seal this 10th day of August, 2023,” and then sign his name where indicated.

 

Conclusion

 

In essence, the “Rhode Island Durable (Statutory) Power of Attorney – Short Form” is a foundational instrument in contingency planning.

It ensures the smooth operation of the principal’s affairs and gives the agent a clear guideline for their role. This form serves as a mechanism to honor the principal’s wishes while providing legal protection to the agent.

It is essential to fill out this form with great attention and understanding of each provision. Consulting with a legal professional before completing this document is highly recommended to ensure your interests are optimally protected.