What’s in Your Wallet?

10/13/2009 by Michele R.J. Allinotte

What’s in Your Wallet?

By Alexis Martin Neely

Take a quick inventory of your wallet. How much of your “wealth” is in there?

If you’re like most people, you have a few credit cards, a small amount of cash and your driver’s license.

But what about wealth as it relates to your kids, your pets and keeping everyone in your family safe and secure if you are in an accident? Is that covered in your wallet? It should be.

This isn’t a trick question and the solution to protecting your “wealth” as it relates to your loved ones is so much easier than you think.

Essentially, you must carry a card in your wallet that gives medical or emergency personnel instructions about the children, pets or other dependents waiting for you at home and who to call in the event of an emergency in which you cannot communicate.

Let me give you an example so this is crystal clear.

You go out to run errands and leave your children at home with their teenage babysitter. On the way home, there’s a car accident and you cannot communicate. Based on your wallet, the police have just enough information to ID you, but they have no idea you left your little ones at home with a babysitter and their father is out-of-town on business.

After a few hours, the babysitter begins to worry. She calls her own mother for advice—who suggests calling the police because you haven’t come home yet. The police arrive and confirm that yes, you’ve been in an accident and asks the babysitter if she knows anyone in your family who could come be with the children.

But, your babysitter only knows your neighbors. And the authorities won’t leave your children with the neighbors because there isn’t any written authorization from you to do so. Instead, they call in social services to figure out what to do.

By now your kids are very scared, upset and have been put through hours of unnecessary worry because there weren’t proper directions left for them to be cared for by someone you know and trust in the event of an emergency. Is this what would happen if you were in an accident?

Or maybe you don’t have children at home, but you do have pets that you consider your babies. If you’re in an accident, are there clear instructions in your wallet that describe your pets and who should care for them in case of an emergency? If not and you are in an accident, your pets could remain alone and uncared for because no one knows they are there waiting for you. All of this is so easy to prevent.

Take a few minutes and put a card in your wallet that tells emergency personnel how to care for your family members should something happen to you. It doesn’t need to be fancy—but it should be just enough to protect your most important and valuable “wealth” in the event of an unexpected emergency so strangers are not making decisions on your behalf.

And don’t forget that we have a great and affordable resource if you need help putting a “legal bubble” around your loved ones. For more information or to order the kit, go to http://www.kidsprotectionplan.com.

Written by Alexis Martin Neely, author, speaker, Personal Family Lawyer, Family Financial & Legal Expert for Better TV and MOM. Alexis makes it super easy for your family to talk about and plan for sticky subjects like money, death and taxes. Subscribe to Alexis’ free online magazine “Family Wealth Secrets” at FamilyWealthMatters.com.

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