38 CFR 1.465 - Incompetent and deceased patients.
(a)Incompetent patients other than minors. In the case of a patient who has been adjudicated as lacking the capacity, for any reason other than insufficient age, to manage his or her own affairs, any consent which is required under §§ 1.460 through 1.499 of this part may be given by a court appointed legal guardian.
(b)Deceased patients -
(1)Vital statistics. Sec. 1.460 through 1.499 of this part do not restrict the disclosure of patient identifying information relating to the cause of death of a patient under laws requiring the collection of death or other vital statistics or permitting inquiry into the cause of death.
(2)Consent by personal representative. Any other disclosure of information identifying a deceased patient as being treated for drug abuse, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, infection with the HIV, or sickle cell anemia is subject to §§ 1.460 through 1.499 of this part. If a written consent to the disclosure is required, the Under Secretary for Health or designee may, upon the prior written request of the next of kin, executor/executrix, administrator/administratrix, or other personal representative of such deceased patient, disclose the contents of such records, only if the Under Secretary for Health or designee determines such disclosure is necessary to obtain survivorship benefits for the deceased patient's survivor. This would include not only VA benefits, but also payments by the Social Security Administration, Worker's Compensation Boards or Commissions, or other Federal, State, or local government agencies, or nongovernment entities, such as life insurance companies.
(3)Information related to sickle cell anemia. Information related to sickle cell anemia may be released to a blood relative of a deceased veteran for medical follow-up or family planning purposes.