How do I obtain the medical records of a deceased family member?
Only the personal representative of the Estate of the deceased individual can authorize request of medical records of the deceased. The personal representative fills a role similar to that of the executor and is the title now commonly used. The personal representative has to be appointed by the Probate Court and bring documentation proving the appointment before records will be released. Please note that power of attorney, durable power of attorney, or designation as decision-maker in an advance directive are no longer valid after the death of the patient. We cannot accept copies of wills or trust documents naming potential personal representatives. They must be formally appointed by the court before we can accept their authority. Releasing records to anyone other than the Personal Representative is illegal, as stated in Michigan Court Law 600.2157. This area of law is open to much interpretation and differing opinions. We will be glad to review any supplied documentation with War Memorial Hospital’s Risk Management and/or legal counsel.