Governor Carcieri today called for an increased awareness of an existing Rhode Island general law (§ 5-33.3 1 et seq.) that allows for the designation of a Funeral Planning Agent.
“It has become abundantly clear that people are not aware that there is a statute that allows for anyone to designate another person to be responsible for funeral arrangements, regardless of the relationship” said Governor Carcieri. “It only requires the notarized signatures of the two people making the agreement on a statement that follows the wording prescribed in law. I have directed the Department of Health to make a sample form available on-line, and to work with appropriate businesses and groups, such as the Rhode Island Funeral Directors Association, the Rhode Island Bar Association, and the Rhode Island Medical Association, to let it be known this form is available, and should be recognized and accepted as a statutorily allowed designation.”
Rhode Island General Law § 5-33.2-24 states that in cases where “no funeral services contracts are in effect at the time of death,” funeral homes would “follow the directions of the deceased person’s survivors, in the following order of priority,” and then goes on to list those people. The first person named is, “an agent designated pursuant to chapter 33.3 of this title.” This refers to the Funeral Planning Agent described in Rhode Island General Law ((§ 5-33.3-2) as a person who “has authority and responsibility to make all arrangements regarding funeral preparation, planning, the nature of the funeral goods and services to be provided, the manner in which funeral services are to be conducted, burial, and/or the disposition of the principal’s remains, including cremation, upon the death of the principal.” This person may be anyone over eighteen (18) years of age, of sound mind, who is acting as a Funeral Planning Agent for no more than one non-relative simultaneously, and who is willing to act as the agent.