Emergency Planning

Why Your Emergency Contact Matters: A Must-Read Guide

Joel Lim

|

January 19, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

why your emergency contact matters

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Nobody wants to imagine themselves in an emergency, but being adequately prepared is crucial. When asked to list an emergency contact, you might simply write down the first relative or friend that comes to mind. However, an emergency contact plays a vital role, and you want to select the right person for the job.

Below, we detail the importance of having an emergency contact, who you should select for this vital role, and what they must know to help you should the need arise. 


Key Takeaways

  • Emergency contacts are crucial in deciding what happens to you in an emergency. They will need to make decisions on your behalf and ensure you receive proper treatment.

  • Your emergency contact should be somebody you have a strong relationship with who’s close to you in distance. They should also have sufficient language proficiency. 

  • To effectively assist you in an emergency, your contact must know your detailed health information and the location of your legal documents.

Importance of Having an Emergency Contact

importance of having an emergency contact 

An emergency contact is the first person contacted on your behalf in an emergency. The facility or surrounding personnel will contact this person if you can’t and inform them of the present emergency. There are many reasons why having one in place is important.

Assistance in Medical Emergencies

In a medical emergency where you can’t make decisions, your emergency contact will do so in your place. An emergency contact who knows you and understands the intricacies of your health can make the best decision. In some situations, this is the difference between survival and death. 

Your emergency contact should also be able to come to you relatively quickly and be easily accessible. In a medical event, life-threatening or non-life-threatening, every second counts. 

For example, if your emergency contact holds the medicine you need in case of a severe allergic reaction, how fast they get it to you is crucial. 

Communication with Medical Professionals

Your emergency contact relays important information to doctors, nurses, EMTs, or medical professionals who treat you while you’re incapacitated. 

They should be equipped with information regarding any allergies you have, medications you take, or past medical treatments. In an emergency, communicating this information to medical professionals is vital. 

Your emergency contact can also serve as a receiver whom medical professionals can contact on your behalf to relay important information about your health/condition. 

Power of Attorney in Medical Situations

In an emergency, time is of the utmost importance. The first person doctors or medical professionals reach out to is your emergency contact. For them to determine the treatment you receive, you must grant them medical power of attorney.

Power of attorney gives your loved one the legal ability to make decisions if you’re incapacitated. Within a power of attorney, you can appoint a proxy, surrogate, or agent to act for you in an emergency and several backups to ensure you have someone to determine the proper treatment. 

When your emergency contact is the proxy you name in your power of attorney, it allows for the fastest possible decision-making in an emergency. A swift decision to give or withhold the treatment can make all the difference.

Power of Attorney in Financial Situations

There are also situations regarding your finances requiring similar attention from emergency contacts. Like medical emergencies, it’s best to grant your emergency contact power of attorney and full legal access to withdraw, deposit, and transfer your finances as they deem fit.  

Financial situations contain sensitive information similar to medical emergencies, so ensure your emergency contact is someone you trust to do the right thing. 

Care for Children and Pets

If you’re incapacitated, unable to go home due to a disaster or emergency, or unable to contact anybody, your emergency contact can serve as a caretaker for your children or pets in your place. 

An emergency contact should be somebody you trust to take on that responsibility.

Missing Person Situations

In a missing person situation, time is the most critical element. If you’re missing or stuck in a place/area/situation where you can’t reach anyone, your emergency contact is the first person contacted.

They will know your last known whereabouts, frequent spots, hobbies, and car information. They can also provide a detailed description of you. These factors are all crucial in finding a missing person. The sooner the authorities obtain this information, the better the chances of locating you

Who Should Your Emergency Contact Be?

who should your emergency contact be

There are many factors to consider when deciding who your emergency contact should be. Good examples include family, close friends, a partner/spouse, or an adult child. 

These people know you and your medical needs. With this in mind, use these essential criteria to consider when deciding on an emergency contact.

Distance From You

In many situations, your emergency contact may need to travel to the accident scene or hospital urgently. Ideally, your emergency contact will live close to you, such as in the same city, so they can come to your side promptly.

Their ability to quickly come to a hospital and report any pertinent health information or decide on treatment makes all the difference. 

Remember this when you decide on your contact. Even if you have relatives or friends willing to help you, they may not be the best choice if they live in a different city or state. 

Accessibility

The next factor to consider is your emergency contact’s accessibility. Someone who is often busy with work, family, or other responsibilities may not be entirely dependable in an emergency.

More accessible options could be a retired parent or younger relative/child who does not yet work full time. 

Good Relations

You should also be sure your contact wants to help you in an emergency. Select somebody close to you with whom you have good relations.

For this reason, we often recommend family, friends, or partners/spouses, as they’re often considered the people closest to us who we know will help in any situation.

Language Proficiency

Finally, you must consider the actual ability of the person to deliver the information necessary in an emergency. Even if your family member is close and accessible and wants to help you, they may not know the native language well enough to speak on your behalf.

If your partner/spouse or parents are not from the country you reside in or speak another language, they may find it challenging to respond in an emergency. 

Consider the role of your emergency contact and the importance of their ability to communicate with doctors or emergency personnel. You want them to relay your information effectively without any issues. 


Things Your Emergency Contact Must Know

things your emergency contact must know

First, your emergency contact must know they’re the emergency contact and be okay with it.

Erin de Cespedes, an Attorney specializing in estate planning, states the importance of explicitly confirming with your emergency contact. She advises:

“You may feel confident that the person you name will have no problem acting as your emergency contact. While that may be true, don't forget to tell them that you've given them this job. Making sure that you and your loved one are on the same page will also avoid a terrifying surprise in the event that they are actually needed.”

In the case of your emergency contact, the information you give them ahead of time is just as vital as the person. Here are some of the most essential things your emergency contact should know to provide adequate support.

Health Info

The more health information your emergency contact knows, the better. This information determines what medication or treatment you can/can’t or should/should not receive. 

Without this information, you’re at a higher risk of receiving treatment that could harm rather than help you.

Location of Your Legal Documents

The next critical piece of information your emergency contact should know is the location of all your legal documents. These can include your durable power of attorney, insurance policies and will. 

In an emergency, these documents determine who is legally authorized to decide the treatment you receive and what insurance you have to cover the treatment cost. They also carry out your wishes in case of your passing.

Attorney at M&A Criminal Defense Attorneys, Ben Michael, advises:

“There are a handful of different things your emergency contact should know, but one that is incredibly important is where your legal documents are located. This includes anything from insurance policies, to medical records, to wills/trusts, to birth/marriage/adoption certificates, and more. And, as these records are usually kept in secure locations, emergency contacts also need to know HOW to retrieve them. For example, if they are kept in a safe, they should have the combination, or if they are kept in a locked box, they should either have a spare key or be told where the key is kept.”

For added peace of mind, store all legal documents in a secure, trusted location like Trustworthy. Using this platform, you can safely store your documents and permit easy access to trusted individuals, such as your emergency contact, to use in emergencies.

Care of Your Dependents

We recommend setting up a comprehensive outline of the care for your dependents in case of your passing. Your emergency contact should know how you want your assets, insurance policies, and 401k benefits divided amongst your children/other dependents.

Your pets are just as important, and you should lay out a detailed plan listing who you want to leave them to. As you would for yourself, choose a responsible individual you trust to care for your animals in your absence.

Funeral Plans

The final thing your emergency contact should know is your funeral plans. Create a comprehensive estate plan, including your will and funeral plans, that you can pass on to your emergency contact should the need arise.

Estate planning allows you to distribute your assets to whom you wish and relieve pressure on your loved ones after your passing.

As part of your estate plan, talk to a funeral director to create a funeral plan. You can complete all necessary preparations for your funeral, relieving your loved ones of stress should you pass away. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are emergency contacts important?

Emergency contacts are essential because they can be the deciding factor in an emergency. Depending on who your emergency contact is and the information they have, they determine whether your life is saved.

How do I add an emergency contact to my iPhone?

To add an emergency contact to your iPhone, first, enter the health app on your phone. In the health app, select “Medical ID.” In Medical ID, select “Edit,” and scroll down to “Emergency Contacts.” Select “Add,” and your list of contacts will appear. Choose the contact you wish to add to your list.

How do I add an emergency contact to Android?

To add an emergency contact to your Android phone, go to the settings app on your phone. Scroll to the “Safety and Emergency” settings (located in “Advanced” settings on earlier phones). In this menu, select “Emergency Contacts,” and then select the “Add” option. You can then select who you wish to add as an emergency contact from your contact list.

What happens if you don't have emergency contact?

Without an emergency contact, doctors or emergency personnel will have nobody to contact to confirm any of your pertinent health information. Without this information, nobody can decide what treatment or medication you receive or what happens to your assets or dependents in case of your passing.

What does having someone as an emergency contact do on an iPhone?

After adding someone as an emergency contact on your iPhone, if you ever make an emergency call, this person will be automatically contacted at the end. They’re also the first contact emergency personnel will see when reviewing your medical ID. 

Emergency Planning

Why Your Emergency Contact Matters: A Must-Read Guide

Joel Lim

|

January 19, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

Nobody wants to imagine themselves in an emergency, but being adequately prepared is crucial. When asked to list an emergency contact, you might simply write down the first relative or friend that comes to mind. However, an emergency contact plays a vital role, and you want to select the right person for the job.

Below, we detail the importance of having an emergency contact, who you should select for this vital role, and what they must know to help you should the need arise. 


Key Takeaways

  • Emergency contacts are crucial in deciding what happens to you in an emergency. They will need to make decisions on your behalf and ensure you receive proper treatment.

  • Your emergency contact should be somebody you have a strong relationship with who’s close to you in distance. They should also have sufficient language proficiency. 

  • To effectively assist you in an emergency, your contact must know your detailed health information and the location of your legal documents.

Importance of Having an Emergency Contact

importance of having an emergency contact 

An emergency contact is the first person contacted on your behalf in an emergency. The facility or surrounding personnel will contact this person if you can’t and inform them of the present emergency. There are many reasons why having one in place is important.

Assistance in Medical Emergencies

In a medical emergency where you can’t make decisions, your emergency contact will do so in your place. An emergency contact who knows you and understands the intricacies of your health can make the best decision. In some situations, this is the difference between survival and death. 

Your emergency contact should also be able to come to you relatively quickly and be easily accessible. In a medical event, life-threatening or non-life-threatening, every second counts. 

For example, if your emergency contact holds the medicine you need in case of a severe allergic reaction, how fast they get it to you is crucial. 

Communication with Medical Professionals

Your emergency contact relays important information to doctors, nurses, EMTs, or medical professionals who treat you while you’re incapacitated. 

They should be equipped with information regarding any allergies you have, medications you take, or past medical treatments. In an emergency, communicating this information to medical professionals is vital. 

Your emergency contact can also serve as a receiver whom medical professionals can contact on your behalf to relay important information about your health/condition. 

Power of Attorney in Medical Situations

In an emergency, time is of the utmost importance. The first person doctors or medical professionals reach out to is your emergency contact. For them to determine the treatment you receive, you must grant them medical power of attorney.

Power of attorney gives your loved one the legal ability to make decisions if you’re incapacitated. Within a power of attorney, you can appoint a proxy, surrogate, or agent to act for you in an emergency and several backups to ensure you have someone to determine the proper treatment. 

When your emergency contact is the proxy you name in your power of attorney, it allows for the fastest possible decision-making in an emergency. A swift decision to give or withhold the treatment can make all the difference.

Power of Attorney in Financial Situations

There are also situations regarding your finances requiring similar attention from emergency contacts. Like medical emergencies, it’s best to grant your emergency contact power of attorney and full legal access to withdraw, deposit, and transfer your finances as they deem fit.  

Financial situations contain sensitive information similar to medical emergencies, so ensure your emergency contact is someone you trust to do the right thing. 

Care for Children and Pets

If you’re incapacitated, unable to go home due to a disaster or emergency, or unable to contact anybody, your emergency contact can serve as a caretaker for your children or pets in your place. 

An emergency contact should be somebody you trust to take on that responsibility.

Missing Person Situations

In a missing person situation, time is the most critical element. If you’re missing or stuck in a place/area/situation where you can’t reach anyone, your emergency contact is the first person contacted.

They will know your last known whereabouts, frequent spots, hobbies, and car information. They can also provide a detailed description of you. These factors are all crucial in finding a missing person. The sooner the authorities obtain this information, the better the chances of locating you

Who Should Your Emergency Contact Be?

who should your emergency contact be

There are many factors to consider when deciding who your emergency contact should be. Good examples include family, close friends, a partner/spouse, or an adult child. 

These people know you and your medical needs. With this in mind, use these essential criteria to consider when deciding on an emergency contact.

Distance From You

In many situations, your emergency contact may need to travel to the accident scene or hospital urgently. Ideally, your emergency contact will live close to you, such as in the same city, so they can come to your side promptly.

Their ability to quickly come to a hospital and report any pertinent health information or decide on treatment makes all the difference. 

Remember this when you decide on your contact. Even if you have relatives or friends willing to help you, they may not be the best choice if they live in a different city or state. 

Accessibility

The next factor to consider is your emergency contact’s accessibility. Someone who is often busy with work, family, or other responsibilities may not be entirely dependable in an emergency.

More accessible options could be a retired parent or younger relative/child who does not yet work full time. 

Good Relations

You should also be sure your contact wants to help you in an emergency. Select somebody close to you with whom you have good relations.

For this reason, we often recommend family, friends, or partners/spouses, as they’re often considered the people closest to us who we know will help in any situation.

Language Proficiency

Finally, you must consider the actual ability of the person to deliver the information necessary in an emergency. Even if your family member is close and accessible and wants to help you, they may not know the native language well enough to speak on your behalf.

If your partner/spouse or parents are not from the country you reside in or speak another language, they may find it challenging to respond in an emergency. 

Consider the role of your emergency contact and the importance of their ability to communicate with doctors or emergency personnel. You want them to relay your information effectively without any issues. 


Things Your Emergency Contact Must Know

things your emergency contact must know

First, your emergency contact must know they’re the emergency contact and be okay with it.

Erin de Cespedes, an Attorney specializing in estate planning, states the importance of explicitly confirming with your emergency contact. She advises:

“You may feel confident that the person you name will have no problem acting as your emergency contact. While that may be true, don't forget to tell them that you've given them this job. Making sure that you and your loved one are on the same page will also avoid a terrifying surprise in the event that they are actually needed.”

In the case of your emergency contact, the information you give them ahead of time is just as vital as the person. Here are some of the most essential things your emergency contact should know to provide adequate support.

Health Info

The more health information your emergency contact knows, the better. This information determines what medication or treatment you can/can’t or should/should not receive. 

Without this information, you’re at a higher risk of receiving treatment that could harm rather than help you.

Location of Your Legal Documents

The next critical piece of information your emergency contact should know is the location of all your legal documents. These can include your durable power of attorney, insurance policies and will. 

In an emergency, these documents determine who is legally authorized to decide the treatment you receive and what insurance you have to cover the treatment cost. They also carry out your wishes in case of your passing.

Attorney at M&A Criminal Defense Attorneys, Ben Michael, advises:

“There are a handful of different things your emergency contact should know, but one that is incredibly important is where your legal documents are located. This includes anything from insurance policies, to medical records, to wills/trusts, to birth/marriage/adoption certificates, and more. And, as these records are usually kept in secure locations, emergency contacts also need to know HOW to retrieve them. For example, if they are kept in a safe, they should have the combination, or if they are kept in a locked box, they should either have a spare key or be told where the key is kept.”

For added peace of mind, store all legal documents in a secure, trusted location like Trustworthy. Using this platform, you can safely store your documents and permit easy access to trusted individuals, such as your emergency contact, to use in emergencies.

Care of Your Dependents

We recommend setting up a comprehensive outline of the care for your dependents in case of your passing. Your emergency contact should know how you want your assets, insurance policies, and 401k benefits divided amongst your children/other dependents.

Your pets are just as important, and you should lay out a detailed plan listing who you want to leave them to. As you would for yourself, choose a responsible individual you trust to care for your animals in your absence.

Funeral Plans

The final thing your emergency contact should know is your funeral plans. Create a comprehensive estate plan, including your will and funeral plans, that you can pass on to your emergency contact should the need arise.

Estate planning allows you to distribute your assets to whom you wish and relieve pressure on your loved ones after your passing.

As part of your estate plan, talk to a funeral director to create a funeral plan. You can complete all necessary preparations for your funeral, relieving your loved ones of stress should you pass away. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are emergency contacts important?

Emergency contacts are essential because they can be the deciding factor in an emergency. Depending on who your emergency contact is and the information they have, they determine whether your life is saved.

How do I add an emergency contact to my iPhone?

To add an emergency contact to your iPhone, first, enter the health app on your phone. In the health app, select “Medical ID.” In Medical ID, select “Edit,” and scroll down to “Emergency Contacts.” Select “Add,” and your list of contacts will appear. Choose the contact you wish to add to your list.

How do I add an emergency contact to Android?

To add an emergency contact to your Android phone, go to the settings app on your phone. Scroll to the “Safety and Emergency” settings (located in “Advanced” settings on earlier phones). In this menu, select “Emergency Contacts,” and then select the “Add” option. You can then select who you wish to add as an emergency contact from your contact list.

What happens if you don't have emergency contact?

Without an emergency contact, doctors or emergency personnel will have nobody to contact to confirm any of your pertinent health information. Without this information, nobody can decide what treatment or medication you receive or what happens to your assets or dependents in case of your passing.

What does having someone as an emergency contact do on an iPhone?

After adding someone as an emergency contact on your iPhone, if you ever make an emergency call, this person will be automatically contacted at the end. They’re also the first contact emergency personnel will see when reviewing your medical ID. 

Emergency Planning

Why Your Emergency Contact Matters: A Must-Read Guide

Joel Lim

|

January 19, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

why your emergency contact matters

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Nobody wants to imagine themselves in an emergency, but being adequately prepared is crucial. When asked to list an emergency contact, you might simply write down the first relative or friend that comes to mind. However, an emergency contact plays a vital role, and you want to select the right person for the job.

Below, we detail the importance of having an emergency contact, who you should select for this vital role, and what they must know to help you should the need arise. 


Key Takeaways

  • Emergency contacts are crucial in deciding what happens to you in an emergency. They will need to make decisions on your behalf and ensure you receive proper treatment.

  • Your emergency contact should be somebody you have a strong relationship with who’s close to you in distance. They should also have sufficient language proficiency. 

  • To effectively assist you in an emergency, your contact must know your detailed health information and the location of your legal documents.

Importance of Having an Emergency Contact

importance of having an emergency contact 

An emergency contact is the first person contacted on your behalf in an emergency. The facility or surrounding personnel will contact this person if you can’t and inform them of the present emergency. There are many reasons why having one in place is important.

Assistance in Medical Emergencies

In a medical emergency where you can’t make decisions, your emergency contact will do so in your place. An emergency contact who knows you and understands the intricacies of your health can make the best decision. In some situations, this is the difference between survival and death. 

Your emergency contact should also be able to come to you relatively quickly and be easily accessible. In a medical event, life-threatening or non-life-threatening, every second counts. 

For example, if your emergency contact holds the medicine you need in case of a severe allergic reaction, how fast they get it to you is crucial. 

Communication with Medical Professionals

Your emergency contact relays important information to doctors, nurses, EMTs, or medical professionals who treat you while you’re incapacitated. 

They should be equipped with information regarding any allergies you have, medications you take, or past medical treatments. In an emergency, communicating this information to medical professionals is vital. 

Your emergency contact can also serve as a receiver whom medical professionals can contact on your behalf to relay important information about your health/condition. 

Power of Attorney in Medical Situations

In an emergency, time is of the utmost importance. The first person doctors or medical professionals reach out to is your emergency contact. For them to determine the treatment you receive, you must grant them medical power of attorney.

Power of attorney gives your loved one the legal ability to make decisions if you’re incapacitated. Within a power of attorney, you can appoint a proxy, surrogate, or agent to act for you in an emergency and several backups to ensure you have someone to determine the proper treatment. 

When your emergency contact is the proxy you name in your power of attorney, it allows for the fastest possible decision-making in an emergency. A swift decision to give or withhold the treatment can make all the difference.

Power of Attorney in Financial Situations

There are also situations regarding your finances requiring similar attention from emergency contacts. Like medical emergencies, it’s best to grant your emergency contact power of attorney and full legal access to withdraw, deposit, and transfer your finances as they deem fit.  

Financial situations contain sensitive information similar to medical emergencies, so ensure your emergency contact is someone you trust to do the right thing. 

Care for Children and Pets

If you’re incapacitated, unable to go home due to a disaster or emergency, or unable to contact anybody, your emergency contact can serve as a caretaker for your children or pets in your place. 

An emergency contact should be somebody you trust to take on that responsibility.

Missing Person Situations

In a missing person situation, time is the most critical element. If you’re missing or stuck in a place/area/situation where you can’t reach anyone, your emergency contact is the first person contacted.

They will know your last known whereabouts, frequent spots, hobbies, and car information. They can also provide a detailed description of you. These factors are all crucial in finding a missing person. The sooner the authorities obtain this information, the better the chances of locating you

Who Should Your Emergency Contact Be?

who should your emergency contact be

There are many factors to consider when deciding who your emergency contact should be. Good examples include family, close friends, a partner/spouse, or an adult child. 

These people know you and your medical needs. With this in mind, use these essential criteria to consider when deciding on an emergency contact.

Distance From You

In many situations, your emergency contact may need to travel to the accident scene or hospital urgently. Ideally, your emergency contact will live close to you, such as in the same city, so they can come to your side promptly.

Their ability to quickly come to a hospital and report any pertinent health information or decide on treatment makes all the difference. 

Remember this when you decide on your contact. Even if you have relatives or friends willing to help you, they may not be the best choice if they live in a different city or state. 

Accessibility

The next factor to consider is your emergency contact’s accessibility. Someone who is often busy with work, family, or other responsibilities may not be entirely dependable in an emergency.

More accessible options could be a retired parent or younger relative/child who does not yet work full time. 

Good Relations

You should also be sure your contact wants to help you in an emergency. Select somebody close to you with whom you have good relations.

For this reason, we often recommend family, friends, or partners/spouses, as they’re often considered the people closest to us who we know will help in any situation.

Language Proficiency

Finally, you must consider the actual ability of the person to deliver the information necessary in an emergency. Even if your family member is close and accessible and wants to help you, they may not know the native language well enough to speak on your behalf.

If your partner/spouse or parents are not from the country you reside in or speak another language, they may find it challenging to respond in an emergency. 

Consider the role of your emergency contact and the importance of their ability to communicate with doctors or emergency personnel. You want them to relay your information effectively without any issues. 


Things Your Emergency Contact Must Know

things your emergency contact must know

First, your emergency contact must know they’re the emergency contact and be okay with it.

Erin de Cespedes, an Attorney specializing in estate planning, states the importance of explicitly confirming with your emergency contact. She advises:

“You may feel confident that the person you name will have no problem acting as your emergency contact. While that may be true, don't forget to tell them that you've given them this job. Making sure that you and your loved one are on the same page will also avoid a terrifying surprise in the event that they are actually needed.”

In the case of your emergency contact, the information you give them ahead of time is just as vital as the person. Here are some of the most essential things your emergency contact should know to provide adequate support.

Health Info

The more health information your emergency contact knows, the better. This information determines what medication or treatment you can/can’t or should/should not receive. 

Without this information, you’re at a higher risk of receiving treatment that could harm rather than help you.

Location of Your Legal Documents

The next critical piece of information your emergency contact should know is the location of all your legal documents. These can include your durable power of attorney, insurance policies and will. 

In an emergency, these documents determine who is legally authorized to decide the treatment you receive and what insurance you have to cover the treatment cost. They also carry out your wishes in case of your passing.

Attorney at M&A Criminal Defense Attorneys, Ben Michael, advises:

“There are a handful of different things your emergency contact should know, but one that is incredibly important is where your legal documents are located. This includes anything from insurance policies, to medical records, to wills/trusts, to birth/marriage/adoption certificates, and more. And, as these records are usually kept in secure locations, emergency contacts also need to know HOW to retrieve them. For example, if they are kept in a safe, they should have the combination, or if they are kept in a locked box, they should either have a spare key or be told where the key is kept.”

For added peace of mind, store all legal documents in a secure, trusted location like Trustworthy. Using this platform, you can safely store your documents and permit easy access to trusted individuals, such as your emergency contact, to use in emergencies.

Care of Your Dependents

We recommend setting up a comprehensive outline of the care for your dependents in case of your passing. Your emergency contact should know how you want your assets, insurance policies, and 401k benefits divided amongst your children/other dependents.

Your pets are just as important, and you should lay out a detailed plan listing who you want to leave them to. As you would for yourself, choose a responsible individual you trust to care for your animals in your absence.

Funeral Plans

The final thing your emergency contact should know is your funeral plans. Create a comprehensive estate plan, including your will and funeral plans, that you can pass on to your emergency contact should the need arise.

Estate planning allows you to distribute your assets to whom you wish and relieve pressure on your loved ones after your passing.

As part of your estate plan, talk to a funeral director to create a funeral plan. You can complete all necessary preparations for your funeral, relieving your loved ones of stress should you pass away. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are emergency contacts important?

Emergency contacts are essential because they can be the deciding factor in an emergency. Depending on who your emergency contact is and the information they have, they determine whether your life is saved.

How do I add an emergency contact to my iPhone?

To add an emergency contact to your iPhone, first, enter the health app on your phone. In the health app, select “Medical ID.” In Medical ID, select “Edit,” and scroll down to “Emergency Contacts.” Select “Add,” and your list of contacts will appear. Choose the contact you wish to add to your list.

How do I add an emergency contact to Android?

To add an emergency contact to your Android phone, go to the settings app on your phone. Scroll to the “Safety and Emergency” settings (located in “Advanced” settings on earlier phones). In this menu, select “Emergency Contacts,” and then select the “Add” option. You can then select who you wish to add as an emergency contact from your contact list.

What happens if you don't have emergency contact?

Without an emergency contact, doctors or emergency personnel will have nobody to contact to confirm any of your pertinent health information. Without this information, nobody can decide what treatment or medication you receive or what happens to your assets or dependents in case of your passing.

What does having someone as an emergency contact do on an iPhone?

After adding someone as an emergency contact on your iPhone, if you ever make an emergency call, this person will be automatically contacted at the end. They’re also the first contact emergency personnel will see when reviewing your medical ID. 

Emergency Planning

Why Your Emergency Contact Matters: A Must-Read Guide

Joel Lim

|

January 19, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

why your emergency contact matters

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Nobody wants to imagine themselves in an emergency, but being adequately prepared is crucial. When asked to list an emergency contact, you might simply write down the first relative or friend that comes to mind. However, an emergency contact plays a vital role, and you want to select the right person for the job.

Below, we detail the importance of having an emergency contact, who you should select for this vital role, and what they must know to help you should the need arise. 


Key Takeaways

  • Emergency contacts are crucial in deciding what happens to you in an emergency. They will need to make decisions on your behalf and ensure you receive proper treatment.

  • Your emergency contact should be somebody you have a strong relationship with who’s close to you in distance. They should also have sufficient language proficiency. 

  • To effectively assist you in an emergency, your contact must know your detailed health information and the location of your legal documents.

Importance of Having an Emergency Contact

importance of having an emergency contact 

An emergency contact is the first person contacted on your behalf in an emergency. The facility or surrounding personnel will contact this person if you can’t and inform them of the present emergency. There are many reasons why having one in place is important.

Assistance in Medical Emergencies

In a medical emergency where you can’t make decisions, your emergency contact will do so in your place. An emergency contact who knows you and understands the intricacies of your health can make the best decision. In some situations, this is the difference between survival and death. 

Your emergency contact should also be able to come to you relatively quickly and be easily accessible. In a medical event, life-threatening or non-life-threatening, every second counts. 

For example, if your emergency contact holds the medicine you need in case of a severe allergic reaction, how fast they get it to you is crucial. 

Communication with Medical Professionals

Your emergency contact relays important information to doctors, nurses, EMTs, or medical professionals who treat you while you’re incapacitated. 

They should be equipped with information regarding any allergies you have, medications you take, or past medical treatments. In an emergency, communicating this information to medical professionals is vital. 

Your emergency contact can also serve as a receiver whom medical professionals can contact on your behalf to relay important information about your health/condition. 

Power of Attorney in Medical Situations

In an emergency, time is of the utmost importance. The first person doctors or medical professionals reach out to is your emergency contact. For them to determine the treatment you receive, you must grant them medical power of attorney.

Power of attorney gives your loved one the legal ability to make decisions if you’re incapacitated. Within a power of attorney, you can appoint a proxy, surrogate, or agent to act for you in an emergency and several backups to ensure you have someone to determine the proper treatment. 

When your emergency contact is the proxy you name in your power of attorney, it allows for the fastest possible decision-making in an emergency. A swift decision to give or withhold the treatment can make all the difference.

Power of Attorney in Financial Situations

There are also situations regarding your finances requiring similar attention from emergency contacts. Like medical emergencies, it’s best to grant your emergency contact power of attorney and full legal access to withdraw, deposit, and transfer your finances as they deem fit.  

Financial situations contain sensitive information similar to medical emergencies, so ensure your emergency contact is someone you trust to do the right thing. 

Care for Children and Pets

If you’re incapacitated, unable to go home due to a disaster or emergency, or unable to contact anybody, your emergency contact can serve as a caretaker for your children or pets in your place. 

An emergency contact should be somebody you trust to take on that responsibility.

Missing Person Situations

In a missing person situation, time is the most critical element. If you’re missing or stuck in a place/area/situation where you can’t reach anyone, your emergency contact is the first person contacted.

They will know your last known whereabouts, frequent spots, hobbies, and car information. They can also provide a detailed description of you. These factors are all crucial in finding a missing person. The sooner the authorities obtain this information, the better the chances of locating you

Who Should Your Emergency Contact Be?

who should your emergency contact be

There are many factors to consider when deciding who your emergency contact should be. Good examples include family, close friends, a partner/spouse, or an adult child. 

These people know you and your medical needs. With this in mind, use these essential criteria to consider when deciding on an emergency contact.

Distance From You

In many situations, your emergency contact may need to travel to the accident scene or hospital urgently. Ideally, your emergency contact will live close to you, such as in the same city, so they can come to your side promptly.

Their ability to quickly come to a hospital and report any pertinent health information or decide on treatment makes all the difference. 

Remember this when you decide on your contact. Even if you have relatives or friends willing to help you, they may not be the best choice if they live in a different city or state. 

Accessibility

The next factor to consider is your emergency contact’s accessibility. Someone who is often busy with work, family, or other responsibilities may not be entirely dependable in an emergency.

More accessible options could be a retired parent or younger relative/child who does not yet work full time. 

Good Relations

You should also be sure your contact wants to help you in an emergency. Select somebody close to you with whom you have good relations.

For this reason, we often recommend family, friends, or partners/spouses, as they’re often considered the people closest to us who we know will help in any situation.

Language Proficiency

Finally, you must consider the actual ability of the person to deliver the information necessary in an emergency. Even if your family member is close and accessible and wants to help you, they may not know the native language well enough to speak on your behalf.

If your partner/spouse or parents are not from the country you reside in or speak another language, they may find it challenging to respond in an emergency. 

Consider the role of your emergency contact and the importance of their ability to communicate with doctors or emergency personnel. You want them to relay your information effectively without any issues. 


Things Your Emergency Contact Must Know

things your emergency contact must know

First, your emergency contact must know they’re the emergency contact and be okay with it.

Erin de Cespedes, an Attorney specializing in estate planning, states the importance of explicitly confirming with your emergency contact. She advises:

“You may feel confident that the person you name will have no problem acting as your emergency contact. While that may be true, don't forget to tell them that you've given them this job. Making sure that you and your loved one are on the same page will also avoid a terrifying surprise in the event that they are actually needed.”

In the case of your emergency contact, the information you give them ahead of time is just as vital as the person. Here are some of the most essential things your emergency contact should know to provide adequate support.

Health Info

The more health information your emergency contact knows, the better. This information determines what medication or treatment you can/can’t or should/should not receive. 

Without this information, you’re at a higher risk of receiving treatment that could harm rather than help you.

Location of Your Legal Documents

The next critical piece of information your emergency contact should know is the location of all your legal documents. These can include your durable power of attorney, insurance policies and will. 

In an emergency, these documents determine who is legally authorized to decide the treatment you receive and what insurance you have to cover the treatment cost. They also carry out your wishes in case of your passing.

Attorney at M&A Criminal Defense Attorneys, Ben Michael, advises:

“There are a handful of different things your emergency contact should know, but one that is incredibly important is where your legal documents are located. This includes anything from insurance policies, to medical records, to wills/trusts, to birth/marriage/adoption certificates, and more. And, as these records are usually kept in secure locations, emergency contacts also need to know HOW to retrieve them. For example, if they are kept in a safe, they should have the combination, or if they are kept in a locked box, they should either have a spare key or be told where the key is kept.”

For added peace of mind, store all legal documents in a secure, trusted location like Trustworthy. Using this platform, you can safely store your documents and permit easy access to trusted individuals, such as your emergency contact, to use in emergencies.

Care of Your Dependents

We recommend setting up a comprehensive outline of the care for your dependents in case of your passing. Your emergency contact should know how you want your assets, insurance policies, and 401k benefits divided amongst your children/other dependents.

Your pets are just as important, and you should lay out a detailed plan listing who you want to leave them to. As you would for yourself, choose a responsible individual you trust to care for your animals in your absence.

Funeral Plans

The final thing your emergency contact should know is your funeral plans. Create a comprehensive estate plan, including your will and funeral plans, that you can pass on to your emergency contact should the need arise.

Estate planning allows you to distribute your assets to whom you wish and relieve pressure on your loved ones after your passing.

As part of your estate plan, talk to a funeral director to create a funeral plan. You can complete all necessary preparations for your funeral, relieving your loved ones of stress should you pass away. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are emergency contacts important?

Emergency contacts are essential because they can be the deciding factor in an emergency. Depending on who your emergency contact is and the information they have, they determine whether your life is saved.

How do I add an emergency contact to my iPhone?

To add an emergency contact to your iPhone, first, enter the health app on your phone. In the health app, select “Medical ID.” In Medical ID, select “Edit,” and scroll down to “Emergency Contacts.” Select “Add,” and your list of contacts will appear. Choose the contact you wish to add to your list.

How do I add an emergency contact to Android?

To add an emergency contact to your Android phone, go to the settings app on your phone. Scroll to the “Safety and Emergency” settings (located in “Advanced” settings on earlier phones). In this menu, select “Emergency Contacts,” and then select the “Add” option. You can then select who you wish to add as an emergency contact from your contact list.

What happens if you don't have emergency contact?

Without an emergency contact, doctors or emergency personnel will have nobody to contact to confirm any of your pertinent health information. Without this information, nobody can decide what treatment or medication you receive or what happens to your assets or dependents in case of your passing.

What does having someone as an emergency contact do on an iPhone?

After adding someone as an emergency contact on your iPhone, if you ever make an emergency call, this person will be automatically contacted at the end. They’re also the first contact emergency personnel will see when reviewing your medical ID. 

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