Critical Information System

Grab-and-Go Emergency Documents

We all know that we should plan ahead for emergencies, but we often put that off because we are feeling fine today. When something serious happens and we need help, such as an unplanned trip to the hospital, the people who we depend on may have a hard time determining what information to bring and where it is located. With some planning and organization, you can prevent delays or inaccuracies in critical health and personal information in an emergency by having a Critical Information System (CIS).

At Cornerstone Financial Advocates, our financial advisors can help clients put together a CIS in a small file box that contains the essential documents needed in the even of emergency medical care for you or a loved one. Digital copies can also be stored in our Secure Electronic Vault.

Some examples of health information the CIS:

  • Health and medical information, such as: forms of identification (copies), DOB, Social Security #, and emergency contact
  • Medications and supplements being taken, plus any allergies
  • Blood type
  • Health history, including that of biological gamily
  • Copy of health insurance
  • Doctors name and contact information
  • HIPAA release for your health care agent to receive health records
  • Advance health care directive naming a health care agent
  • If applicable, a Do Not Resuscitate (“DNR”) form
  • Wills and other estate planning information
  • Insurance policies, tax returns, and other important information.

Other Items To Consider

The CIS is also great for non-emergency family and estate planning information, and it can reference where larger documents – such as estate planning binders, original insurance policies – are kept, as well as alert your trusted successors about online or electronic accounts, computer passwords, and other digital information they might need to access. 

With digital accounts and assets, usually you'll receive e-statements, so the lack of hard-copy statements makes it tougher for trusted people to find these accounts later on. It can be helpful to keep a list of “digital assets” and accounts and update it routinely. Passwords or sensitive information should be protected from others except your trusted successors.  Sharing the location of your CIS with your trusted successors will make it much easier for them to help.

In addition to the CIS, we recommend having a File of Life magnet on your refrigerator door or other obvious location. This small, red, magnetic holder contains medical information about people in the home. EMTs and other emergency personnel are often trained to look for these on people’s refrigerators. It could make a big difference if first responders have this information from the beginning.

While it helps to centralize all vital information, it is important to keep the CIS light and portable enough so it can be carried with you in an emergency, such as a fire or earthquake.

We recommend keeping hospital and medical information in the red “grab and go” folders, so they’re easy to identify and separate if you have to run to the emergency room. After all, you don’t want to run into the ER with a 25-pound fireproof safe and have to sort through everything!

For More Information 

Contact us to receive the full CIS checklist, file and folder system or our checklist for steps to take when a loved one passes away.

Cornerstone Financial Advocates and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.