How Heirs can get Medical Records of Deceased Parents


Next of kin usually have the right to request copies of medical records of their deceased parents.

The medical records do not belong to the estate of the deceased.

The Personal Representative (executor, executrix, administrator, trustee) of the estate does not have any authority to approve or deny access to the medical records of the deceased.

Contact the agency holding the medical records and ask for their Medical Records Release Authorization form. It doesn’t matter who you are or why you are asking for a BLANK form.

If they ask for the reason that you are requesting the medical records, use something like “For family records”.

You may also need to specifically ask for MEDICATION_ADMINISTRATION_RECORD(s), also known by the abbreviation MAR(s).
A Medication Administration Record or MAR is the report that serves as a legal record of the drugs administered to a patient at a facility by a nurse or other healthcare professional. The nurse or healthcare professional signs off on the record at the time that the drug or device is administered. This report also documents that appropriate therapy is provided to the patient.

Do not hire a lawyer to contact the holder of the medical records because this will put them on guard — afraid that you are going to sue them.

There are some legal actions that you can take on your own initiative using the Freedom of Information Act. It is a very good tool for extracting information from reluctant corporations. I suspect that the Hospital and Hospice agencies are Corporations. See Freedom of Information Letter Generator . (Renamed to Open Records Letter Generator). Try the letter generator. Address it to the CORPORATION(s), not to the individual Doctors.

The Corporation only has a short time period to respond. It will probably activate their lawyer in the process.

One thing that I suggest is that you ask for specific information in separate letters. (I favor only asking for ONE thing at a time so that they cannot weasel out of the request by providing Part of the information that you requested.) I suggest waiting at least One day between letters requesting information, So that they won’t get confused by multiple requests.

Another suggestion which has some Psychological advantage on your part is to put a “Bates Number” at the bottom of your letter. This is done for documents that are intended to be used in court. For example, if your letter is addressed to “Hospice Care Corporation” on March 21, 2007, you could use “Bates Number: HCC-2007-03-21” at the bottom of your letter. It is not important exactly what you put as the “Bates Number” except that you make it different for each letter or document.

Here are some suggestions about What to ask for:

How to get your mother’s medical records delivered to you directly.
How to get your mother’s Medication Administration Records delivered to you directly.
How many pages of medical records exist for your mother.
How many pages of Medication Administration Records exist for your mother.
How many types of records exist for your mother.
How many pages of type X records exist for your mother. (Repeat this letter for each type of record.)

Ask for ALL records for your mother, not just specific types of records.

The nice thing about this process is that they MUST respond to you in writing within a very short time.

Do NOT accept any communication that is NOT in writing. They cannot charge you for their time in responding to your letter.

I suggest that you stay calm while talking to the Records Personnel. They really don’t know what is going on and probably don’t care. Furthermore, I suggest that you don’t TALK to any medical employee. It will only waste your time. Everything MUST be in WRITING. There is a famous quote by a Judge that I can’t name right now that goes something like “If it is not in WRITING, then it does not EXIST.”

Another source of information is the Billing Records of the insurance company paying the bills. All Billing Records contain Codes describing what the bill is for.

I am not a lawyer. Most of the above information is Basic Information and Publicly available information on the internet.

It is my intention to help people like you as my service to the memory of my mother, whom I failed by my lack of or delayed action.

contact information  medical-records (at)

Last Update May 17, 2013