With dementia now considered to be the leading cause of death in the UK, it is perhaps unsurprising that increasing numbers of my clients are seeking to challenge wills which were written whilst a loved one was suffering from this ravaging condition.
Medical records could form a key part of the evidence of the deceased's mental state at the time the will was signed, but it is not always easy to obtain these. Our industry publication 'Today's Wills and Probate' has written about the difficulties encountered when trying to get this vital information. As you can see, there are other lines of enquiry that can be investigated to help clarify matters. Its an area that can be fraught with pitfalls, often just at the time of losing a close relative, so taking early advice from an experienced solicitor can be key.
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Accessing Medical Records to Contest a Will There are a few reasons why a family member may want to access the medical records of a loved one after they’ve died. This might be to determine whether a medical diagnosis was missed, for example if someone died of cancer, or because you have a potential claim after the person’s death. But there are strict rules around accessing someone’s medical records after death, and it’s not always possible to do so. Who Can Access Medical Records after Death? Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, you can only access someone’s medical records if you’re: The Personal Representative of the person who died (such as the Executor or Administrator of the Estate)