How do you obtain the medical records of the deceased in Michigan when there is no estate/probate?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Battle Creek, MI

My father died last year. My mother needs to obtain his medical records in order to move forward with a possible malpractice suit. She has been told by the hospital where my father died that she needs a Letter of Authority to obtain the records. My father left very few assets that did not pass automatically to my mother upon his death, so she did not need to go through probate or open the estate. How does she get a Letter of Authority under these circumstances?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . There are only two ways I know of to obtain the medical records of a decedent, and BOTH of them involve opening a probate estate. You can file a petition and open an estate, requesting that a "special administrator" be appointed, in order to request the medical records. Or you can simply open an estate, have your mother appointed as PR, and then have her request them, herself.

    If she decides to pursue a medical malpractice case, the only one who can do that is the PR, so she would need to have an estate open to do that, anyway. If she opens the estate and discovers there is not enough evidence to pursue an action, she can always close the estate after a few months, anyway. The cost in opening the estate would be $150 for the filing fee, $12 for certified letters of authority and roughly $70 to publish a creditors' claims notice in the newspaper. There might also be a $5-10 charge for an inventory fee.

    I have a detailed description of the probate process available on my website. It might be possible to open the estate without hiring an attorney, initially. That would save a few hundred dollars.

    Best of luck to you!

    James Frederick

    ******************************************
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER
    Mr. Frederick is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and has offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration.
    I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer.
    Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

25,477 answers this week

3,218 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

25,477 answers this week

3,218 attorneys answering