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Sending out an SOS

How to make sure emergency personnel know who to call if you’re injured in an accident.

Every parent or caregiver worries about being able to protect their child, aged parent, or other loved one. If you’re in an accident, how can you let first responders know who to call?

As a trusts & estates attorney, I have the privilege of helping families through every stage of life. Whether it’s a new college grad setting up a basic protective plan or grandparents planning for the next generation – I have been honored to help families through many different situations.

Taking care of your physical safety is is fundamental to an estate plan. Here are some tools that I and my clients use:

Use your iPhone’s health app (video link below)

You can add emergency contacts to your iPhone and some android phones, too. This is a great idea because you’re likely to carry your phone with you to most places.

If you have an iPhone, follow these steps to set up your emergency contacts. Here’s a dated but still relevant video for how to set this up. There’s an area to manually add Medical Notes. Here’s an example of how you might use this space:

The names and phone numbers in the image are blocked out, you’ll want to make sure to include that information in your notes.

Some android phones have similar health apps.

If you don’t have a Health app on your phone, you can change the lock-screen to display an In Case of Emergency (commonly called “ICE”) contact and phone number. Typically, space is limited on the lock-screen display so, use that space thoughtfully. An example is “ICE Jane Doe (888) 888-5855”.

DocuBank for Emergency Directives

Emergency personnel tell me that if an advance health care directive isn’t available. It doesn’t exist. This means that it’s not enough to have a medical directive in your file at home. It needs to be available to medical professionals in an emergency. This is where DocuBank steps in.

Members send a copy of their advance health care directive to DocuBank to be stored and accessed on-demand in case of an emergency. DocuBank provides a wallet card with a unique number and pin, allergies, medication and emergency contact info to each member. In an emergency, EMTs or other medical professionals can call or go online to retrieve the advance health care directive and get you the help you need right away.

If you’re an estate planning client and you don’t have a DocuBank membership, contact me. You can find more info about DocuBank here.

Create a Basic Estate Plan

A basic estate plan tells your loved ones how to care for you and the people that matter to you. It is the cornerstone of adulting 101. If you don’t have a basic estate plan in place . . . you’re like most people and let’s face it, you’re not happy being average.

If you live in California, you can get started by scheduling a virtual coffee with me.

Not in California, contact your local Estate Planning Counsel, your local bar association or you can access my Coda Alliance realized that this can be a very intimidating conversation so they created this set of cards to make it easier.

In my experience, sharing your wishes with your family is an amazing gift. Clients have told me that they felt so completely loved when they realized their parent had made final arrangements. On the other hand, deciding final wishes can be overwhelming and difficult when facing a terminal illness. For this reason, I recommend having this conversation as soon as possible.

If you have resources that I haven’t listed here, I’d love to hear about them. Feel fee to leave them in the comments below or send me a note.

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