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Can a health care proxy/ executer of an estate sue doctor of deceased parent for malpractice not share settlement w siblings?

Merrimac, MA |

Person will not communicate with siblings or share medical records of the deceased.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. You should consult a probate attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests in your parent's estate. A personal representative of an estate can sue on behalf of the deceased and any proceeds from such a suit will go to the estate and then be distributed according to the will or laws of intestacy, after debts are paid. If you are not named in the lawsuit you may not be entitled to review the medical records but the personal representative should keep the beneficiaries of the estate informed about the administration of the estate and the lawsuit. The personal representative is only entitled to reasonable compensation or as provided for in the will. I'm sorry for your loss and consult a probate attorney. Best of luck.

    Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. (It lets us know how we are doing.) Attorney Kremer is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. Please visit her Avvo profile for contact information. In accordance with Avvo guidelines, the following disclaimer applies to all responses given in this forum: The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.

  2. I agree with my colleague’s response, but also note that all proxies/powers of attorney terminate automatically as of date of death…. Executor or personal representative as new lingo calls it, is the decedent’s authorized representative, and while perhaps has no obligation to “share” medical records, most certainly would have to share any monies received via settlement or trial with all other heirs equally, after costs of pursuing litigation have been deducted.

    As noted by my colleague, you should hire experienced legal counsel to represent YOUR interests, and any other heirs who share your opinion, because executor/personal rep’s attorney is representing that person’s legal interests, not yours!

    Best wishes to you, and sorry for your loss.

    No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

  3. The proxy/executer is terminated at the time of death. A wrongful death claim would have to be pursued by a personal representative appointed by the court. The PR would have an obligation to work in good faith to maximize the claim. How any monies would be split up would be determined following settlement or verdict.

  4. If there is a potential malpractice action, the personal representative has an obligation to consult with a malpractice attorney to see if it has merit. If it does, the estate needs to stay open until the suit is decided. Any proceeds belong to the estate and must be shared according to the terms of the will or the intestacy statute if the decedent died without a will.

    If the personal representative is refusing to share information with the other heirs, you should speak with a probate attorney. Sometimes a strongly worded letter from a lawyer is enough to get the attention of an uncooperative personal representative. If that doesn't work, the attorney can file an action in the court to compel the release of information or remove the personal representative.

    E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.

  5. No - only the estate

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