What Happened Next to the Couple Who Chose Lawyer A

The couple is transported to a nearby hospital where the husband is pronounced dead on arrival. The wife is comatose and connected to life sustaining machines, although two doctors conclude there is no reasonable expectation of recovery.

Meanwhile the high school babysitter starts to worry because it is unlike this couple to stay out later than agreed without calling first and she has to be home before her own driving curfew. The children are asleep and unaware, but the babysitter tries calling the wife’s cell phone. There is no answer, so the babysitter calls her mother to explain why she will be late coming home.

Two hours later, the babysitter’s mother tries calling the local police department, informs them that her daughter is babysitting and the parents have not come home or called as expected and learns that the couple was involved in a car accident and will not be home that night at all. She rushes over to the house to help her daughter and meets the police there. The children wake from all the noise, lights, and commotion, frightened and crying for their parents.

The police ask the babysitter where the children’s nearest relatives are, but she does not know. The parents only left the babysitter the wife’s cell phone number and where they were going that night. Police officers then ask the children who, because of their ages, can only indicate that “Auntie Christine” sometimes drives to their house in her car. Not knowing how to immediately reach any family members, the police call The Massachusetts Department of Child and Family Services (DCF, the agency formerly known as DSS) to arrange temporary placement of the children for the evening. The babysitter and her mother offer and try to insist that they will spend the evening with the children in their home, but the police will not allow it. A social worker arrives within an hour to take the children to a foster home overnight.

Thankfully, the next day the authorities locate the children’s nearest relative, their twenty-eight-year-old, single, maternal aunt, with whom they are placed. She promptly rushes to the hospital with the children to be at her sister’s bedside and pleads with the doctors not to give up hope on and please save her. The children are confused and deeply upset from seeing their mother that way and cannot quite comprehend and so keep asking where their father is.

In their Wills and Powers of Attorney which no one knew of, had copies of, or knew where to locate, the couple had named the husband’s sister and brother-in-law, who live in upstate New York with their two young children, as Guardians of the minor children. The couple had named the husband’s parents, who lived in a retirement community in Florida, as Co-Executors and Attorneys-in-Fact.

And so it goes . . . At this point, what are your reactions to the value of the level of service the couple received from Attorney A? Do you think Attorney A helped this couple accomplish their wishes and best protect their children and loved ones? Please leave your comment here. Thank you in advance for your contribution to this ongoing dialogue.

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About Danielle G. Van Ess

Danielle G. Van Ess is a Massachusetts (born and raised), experienced estate planning and small business attorney who helps her clients protect and preserve what matters most to them. To learn more, please visit: dgvelaw.com or call: 781-740-0848

One thought on “What Happened Next to the Couple Who Chose Lawyer A

  1. While I like to imagine it will all work out for them in the long run, in the short run this family is not being well served at all.

    At the time when they should be at the hospital communicating with the wife's doctor and taking care of the kids using the documents that the attorney should have sent them, they will be searching through the couple's files looking for some clue as to who has the authority to do what.

    The young aunt may start proceedings to take guardianship of the children before it is discovered that they actually nominated the husband's sister.

    And hopefully someone finds the POA before the mortgage, car payment, credit card, health insurance, etc. bills become too far over due and things start getting canceled and late fees start piling up, etc.

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