Family Planning and Organization

We believe managing investments is only one of the key building blocks.  Others include critical family planning and organization, all of which come together as part of a sound financial plan.  Family Planning and Organization includes three key elements:

Critical Information System


We all know that we should plan ahead for emergencies, but we often put that off because we are feeling fine today.  However, 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 thinking about what information to bring, who may need to be contacted, and where the critical information is located.  After all, it is an emergency!  Delays or inaccuracies providing critical health and personal information in an emergency is not an issue that our loved ones should have to deal with and it is preventable with planning and organization.

For this reason, our financial advisors can help clients put together a Critical Information System (“CIS”).  This is a “grab and go” hard copy small file box that contains the essential documents needed if you or a loved one were to have to go to the hospital or get medical care in an emergency.  Digital copies can also be stored in our Secure Electronic Vault. 

This is a short sample of health information the CIS collects and organizes:

  • Health and Medical Information, such as:
    • Forms of Identification (copies), DOB, Social Security #, and Emergency Contact info
    • Medications and Supplements being taken, plus any Allergies
    • Blood Type
    • Health History, including that of biological Family
    • 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.

***  CONTACT US for the CIS checklist, file and folder system.

***  CONTACT US for our Steps To Take When a Loved One Dies checklist.  

In addition to the CIS, we recommend that each person have a File of Life magnet stuck on their refrigerator door or other obvious location.  This is small red magnetic holder that contains medical information about you. 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.

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, etc. are kept, as well as alert your trusted successors what online or electronic accounts, computer passwords, and other digital information you have and that they might need access to.

With digital accounts and assets, there will usually be no hard copies coming in the mail for those accounts that you have put on “E statements.” This lack of paper statements makes it tougher for trusted people to find these accounts later on.  For this reason, you should also keep a list of “Digital assets” and accounts, and keep it updated 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.

While it helps to centralize all the vital information, it is important to keep the CIS light and portable enough so that it can be taken and be practical 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!

Cornerstone Wealth Management & LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services.  Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.

Family Tree

Under Construction / Help…We’re looking for a good software tool that can map, update and print family tree information.  Please let us know if you have a recommendation?  


We have relationships with some clients that span nearly 30 years, and it’s not uncommon for us to work with parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, etc.  Many of those people are also beneficiaries, trusted contacts, power of attorney, etc.  We’re honored to be a resource – now or in the future, for these important people in our client's lives.

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