- Office of State Medical Examiners
- 48 Orms Street
- Providence, RI 02904
- 401-222-5505 Fax
- Monday to Friday
- 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
- Christina Stanley, MD
Chief Medical Examiner
Planning a funeral is a difficult and emotionally stressful process. However, with some planning, it is possible to make many of the arrangements ahead of time, which helps to decrease the burden on those left behind.
According to Rhode Island law, all Rhode Islanders can designate another person to be responsible for their funeral arrangements, regardless of their relationship to that person. If such a designation isn’t made, Rhode Island law only allows a spouse, domestic partner or surviving relative to make funeral arrangements.
Once designated, a Funeral Planning Agent has the authority and responsibility to make all arrangements for the person’s funeral. This includes funeral preparation and planning; decisions about funeral goods and services to be provided; decisions about the manner in which funeral services are to be conducted; and decisions about burial, and/or cremation, upon the person’s death. You are encouraged to review in detail your specific wishes regarding the above considerations with your Funeral Planning Agent when you designate him/her.
A Funeral Planning Agent must be 18 years of age or older and willing and able to take on the responsibilities required. A person cannot act as a Funeral Planning Agent for more than one non-relative at a time.
To designate a Funeral Planning Agent, you must complete a form which is to be signed by the people making the agreement and notarized. Each person should keep the notarized document in a safe place.