Why is is necessary to open a deceased’s estate for a potential lawsuit?

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Why is is necessary to open a deceased’s estate for a potential lawsuit?

All of my mother’s property was in a trust and we have an attorney handling the admistration of that trust. We are considering filing a lawsuit against the rehab facility for the mismanagment of her care which ultimately lead to a stage 4 bedsore that caused kidney failure and then her death. We are being asked to open her estate in order to get the records from one particular hospital. We haven’t even made the final decision to proceed, we are just in the exploratory stage to get all the info and then decide if it is worth our while.

Asked on August 5, 2011 Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  Here is the thing: only someone who is authorized to represent the estate can sign an authorization for the release of the records from the rehab facility.  So you really do have to reopen the estate and the executor or executrix has to obtain a current Letters Testamentary to submit with the authorization.  Look a it this way: if you find that you have the basis for a lawsuit then you will already have done the necessary by opening the estate.  The personal representative will be the one to bring the action on behalf of the estate. Good luck to you.


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