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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87469
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello I am trying to obtain my deceased mothers medical records

Resolved Question:

Hello I am trying to obtain my deceased mother's medical records from GW Medical Faculty and was denied on the grounds that my power of attorney did not specify medical records and was issued in VA. Now, according to HIPAA shouldn't I or my father be able to obtain these records even without a power of attorney? Do I need a specific form saying that one of us is her personal representative?

thanks,
Penny Xereas
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me:

1) When did your mother pass; and
2) When she did, did anyone file for probate (or, not sure)? If so, who is/was the Executive/Administrator of the estate?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi she died on the 24th of March, 2013. She did not have a will. Up until now my father and i had durable power of attorney. I don't think anyone has filed for probate yet. My father is in the process of having his attorney write a new deed to their house that puts the children's name on it. I would think that my father then is the executive administrator at this point.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX again, my condolences.

When someone passes away, someone has to speak for the estate. The problem is that without probate, this is hard to do. This is because one does not represent the estate simply by holding a Certificate of Death or a Power of Attorney. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name. And, a Power of Attorney generally voids on one's death.

So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets something called a Letter of Testament/Administration (hereinafter "Letter"). This Letter will allow the Executor to act on behalf of the estate, and to request medical records, etc. This is what is needed.

The good news is that very likely, her estate qualifies for small estate administration - this is a type of probate that is essentially done via mail. See here and here. You may use an attorney, but, you do not have to (although it is recommended).

Once the probate (or small estate administration) is filed, then the Executor receives that Letter from the Court, and then the medical records are to be provided at request to the Executor.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Surely, you prefer that I tell the truth rather than what you wish to hear. Because it reflects very poorly on me unless you press one of the top three faces, keep this in mind when rating my and please do not punish me for being honest. I understand that this may not be easy to hear, and I empathize.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups for free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks i have one more question. We would file probate in VA but would that give us access to her medical records in Washington DC?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thanks i have one more question.

You are very welcome, Penny, and of course, by all means.

We would file probate in VA but would that give us access to her medical records in Washington DC?

If you file in VA, then it has its own version of small estate administration - see here.

And yes, a VA order would have credence in DC - the states honor each other's court orders under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution. So it should be no issue.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups for free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87469
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 17 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What if her estate does not fall under small estate administration? I saw that the form specified under $50,000.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Penny,

If it does not, then regular probate has to be filed. It is a little longer, a bit more involved, but the same outcome - the executor receives the Letter of Testament which may be used to get the medical records.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for clearing that up!


Penny

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
My pleasure, Penny.

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