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In the Matter of the Estate of Ashworth.

2024 CO 39. No. 24SA19. Trusts and Estates—Testamentary Capacity—Physician-Patient Privilege.

June 10, 2024

In this contested will case, the Supreme Court held that the physician-patient privilege survives death. The Court further held that if medical records are required to administer an estate, the privilege is impliedly waived. This testamentary exception to the physician-patient privilege mirrors the exception that applies to the attorney-client privilege under the same circumstances. The exception reflects the purpose of probate proceedings: the administration of decedents’ estates in accordance with their wishes.

In the instant case, where testamentary capacity was at issue, an in camera review of the decedent’s medical records was justified despite the privileged nature of those records. The Court discharged the rule to show cause, allowing the trial court to move forward with its in camera review.

The full opinion is available at

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