People designate a relative or a trusted individual with a durable power of attorney for health care to make important medical care decisions on their behalf. In the event of a tragic accident that deprives you of the power to speak or communicate, you need someone you trust to convey your health care wishes to your doctors.
If you fear someone could misuse your durable power of attorney, you should know that Rhode Island courts may revoke the power of attorney under certain circumstances. State law explains in what situations courts may take away the power of attorney from an individual.
When a court revokes a power of attorney
A person who has a power of attorney, also known as an agent, may engage in certain actions that could run counter to your wishes. When you create a power of attorney, you list what you want a doctor to do for you to keep you alive, or treatments you do not wish to undergo. However, if an agent defies your known wishes, a court may step in and revoke the power of the agent.
It is also possible you might not describe your wishes and desires for certain situations. Not everyone can compose a document that addresses everything that could conceivably happen. Unexpected situations might seem to give an agent latitude to operate as he or she wishes, but the court can still step in if an agent does anything that goes contrary to your best interests.
In addition, an agent does not have unfettered power to do anything. An agent does not have the authority to break the law while acting on your behalf. Should an agent attempt to do so, a court may take away the power of attorney from that agent. The state may also criminally charge the agent for illegal behavior.
People may limit their agents in other ways. You can also place a time limit stating how long you want your power of attorney to last. You also retain the power to revoke the power of attorney whenever you wish and when you are able to. Additionally, you may put in specific limitations in your power of attorney to address areas of particular concern to you.