The couple is transported to a nearby hospital where the husband is pronounced dead on arrival. The wife is comatose and is initially connected to life sustaining machines, until two doctors conclude there is no reasonable expectation of recovery. Because the wife had a copy of her Advance Directive / “Living Will” in her wallet that the emergency responders discovered, the doctors made the difficult decision to honor her wishes and discontinue life support.
Meanwhile, the wallet card in each parent’s possession identified their minor children’s names and birthdates and instructions for whom to call in the event of an emergency. Law enforcement officials go to the home where they are greeted by a startled high school babysitter. The babysitter shows the officers the copy of the emergency notes and whom she is to call, which matches the parents’ wallet card information.
The officers call the first emergency guardian, the children’s maternal aunt who lives nearby. The children’s aunt rushes over immediately with her notarized copy of her emergency guardianship papers. The officers agree to allow her to stay in the family’s home with the children and they and the babysitter then leave.
The aunt calls her sister’s in-laws to inform them of what happened. She learns from them that they are named as permanent guardians and executors under the parents’ Wills. She also learns from them where the couple stored their estate planning documents in the home and retrieves them for review. Together with her sister’s in-laws and named permanent guardians, the children’s aunt plans how she will care for the children until the guardians are able to arrive from out of state. They also review together the parents’ wishes regarding anatomical gifts and funeral directions and are very grateful for the detailed letter to the executor the couple had prepared for them with Attorney C.
The next day the executors call Attorney C who provides them with a document detailing precisely what the next steps should be, which is extremely helpful in their moment of crisis. Attorney C promises to and does help them through every step of the process to make a horrible tragedy less traumatic for the surviving family members.