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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32980
Experience:  Over twenty-five years experience
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My dad died in February this year. Myself and some other

Customer Question

Hi
My dad died in February this year. Myself and some other relatives only found out a couple of weeks ago. Prior to his death he had a social services provided carer twice a day. We have our suspicions that there was possibly negligence on behalf of the carer as dad died of pneumonia without having seen a doctor. We know this because the coroner certified his cause of death and not his doctor. The coroner confirmed that he had in fact not seen a doctor for some time.
We have asked for details of his care to be released under the freedom of informations act from his local Council who have refused because they said he died intestate, leaving no will.
We really want to find out if he was adequately cared for in his final days but have now hit a brick wall with the council. I am confused as to why leaving no will should affect our rights to enquire about the care of a family member. is there anything we can do to get the information we want?
Many thanks,
Cathy
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Cathy,I am somewhat at a loss to the postion being advanced by the LA in this case. The fact that there was no will does not negate your rights as family members to an enquiry as to what happened: equally if there was an inheritance the family would still be entitled to it whether there was a will or not. I would suggest that you either instruct formally a solicitor to write on your behalf (it can make a big difference) or get your local MP (its free) to write on your behalf. You are entitled to such information.Please rate positivelt
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, thanks for your response. My dads estate is insolvent. What little he had was taken by the council to cremate him. We have no issue with that, just a need to know what happened in his final days and whether he was looked after adequately.

The council have answered a few specific questions, however they will not release his file with details of his care to us unless there was a will and we were listed as executors. Are you saying then that they should release the information to us irrespective of that?

Many thanks,

Cathy

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Yes they should - you are his next of kin
Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32980
Experience: Over twenty-five years experience
Thomas Judge and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you
Technically the Council are correct in that the Files can only be released to the Executors or Administrators of the Estate.
The term "next of kin" does not give any specific legal rights - it is a simple description of the relationship between you.
However the Council are in fact simply being difficult - you are legally entitled to apply for Letters of Administration (assuming he did not leave a widow) - and if you did they would have to release the documents to you - so I suggest that you write and point this out to them
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare

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