50xEmergency-preparation-checklistYou work hard to prepare your clients financially, with insurance policies, savings, investments, education, and more. You may assume – along with your clients – that a life insurance policy, a will, and a durable power of attorney constitute “preparedness.” But those are just part of the puzzle.

The fact is that even the people who have taken such steps usually fail to leave instructions for their loved ones about dozens of seemingly small, but essential details. When a personal emergency strikes, few people know what to actually DO in the event of an accident, injury, illness, or the unexpected death of a loved one.

Too often, the missing piece of the puzzle isn’t life insurance or a will, but communication. For instance, do you or your clients’ loved ones know how to:

  • Contact their doctor?
  • Find their durable power of attorney?
  • Pay their bills and keep their household running?
  • Care for their pets, their home, or even their child for a short time?
  • Find their extra house and car keys, or their email password?
  • Locate their will and/or life insurance documents – especially the policies or wills they put in place prior to working with you?
  • If they have no life insurance or will, do their loved ones know, or will they embark on a frustrating search?

The family members left to “manage” the emergency are too often left in the dark. And as an advisor, chances are, you’re in the dark, too.

Fortunately, our friend Lenore Vassil has made it her mission to shine a light! A former technology executive for a Fortune 500 company, Lenore learned first-hand the need for a simple solution to communicate essential information to loved ones and advisors.

In late 2011, Lenore’s father became suddenly ill with viral encephalitis, a condition that caused temporary dementia and robbed him of his memory for two long months. During this time, her whole family scrambled to run the household. Her father had had always managed the household bills, and her mother was in the dark about how to navigate their finances.

With the assistance of a little investigative work, printed bank statements, and Lenore’s help, the bills did get paid. But the experience was a wake-up call for her. What if the statements had all been online? What if they didn’t even know where to make a house payment, car payment, utility payment or an insurance payment, or didn’t have access to the money to do so?

Fortunately, Lenore’s father made a full recovery, but soon afterwards, she watched as  another family went through chaos and grief, following a friend’s disappearance. He had gone missing on an extreme surfing expedition, and was never found. His family and pregnant girlfriend searched in vain for months, not knowing if a will or life insurance policy existed.

Then, someone else Lenore knew suffered her very first seizure while home alone. The seizure left her with profound memory loss, and she ended up in the hospital, unable to remember who her doctor was! When her doctor was finally able to be consulted several long weeks later, he confessed that he would have recommended a different course of treatment, based on her medical history.

Lenore had seen enough! She looked for a solution to help people communicate such essential details, but found existing systems lacking or problematic. As a technology executive in the banking industry, she knew there had to be a better way for people to share critical information. So she set about to devising software that would be simple, user-friendly, and easily updated.

TheTorch-LenoreLenore left her executive position to create a solution – a system that helps people communicate the essential details of their lives with loved ones and advisors. A short while later, The Torch was born.

The Torch is a simple online system designed to communicate instructions for “what if” life scenarios. Using it helps people be ready for the unexpected by helping them give instructions to those close to them who might need them someday.

The Torch solves a lot of common problems:

  • A whopping $42 BILLION of unclaimed assets are held by the states, largely because people don’t always tell others what they own.
  • 28% of Americans live alone, the highest it has ever been. But without something in writing, many states require court approval for anyone, even family, to make medical decisions for them.
  • Sharing who your doctor is ensures you will have the best care possible in the event of an emergency.
  • More than $1 billion of life insurance goes unclaimed, because heirs do not know the policies exist.
  • Now that online bill statements are the norm, it is difficult for anyone to pay bills on your behalf without email access or instructions.

Now as Lenore shares The Torch with others, they share stories with her. Stories of bank accounts they could not access for years after a parent’s death… stories of boats in storage that no one would ever be able to find… stories of someone whose pets suffered when she ended up in the hospital, unable to instruct anyone to care for them.

Even people who think they are “ready for anything” typically have huge gaps in the information and instructions left for loved ones and advisors. And while digital storage solutions exist (and make a good companion with The Torch), none of them facilitate communication about our lives like The Torch.

This one-minute video gives a quick overview of how The Torch works:

The Torch is also good for business. It Makes a perfect client gift, a door opener, a productive annual review topic, or just a great reason to call your clients. You’ll not only be telling them about something that can make a huge difference for them and their loved ones, but you’ll be making sure that YOU can easily help them when needed. And as an added bonus, filling out their Torch profiles will remind them to do all those other things they’ve been “meaning to get around to” – like that new life insurance policy or an updated will.

Obviously, The Torch is something that you would want every client to use – for their sake as well as for your own. But it’s not just for clients… it’s for everybody. (It’s for you, too!)

The Torch is unique:

  • It is easy to use, even if you don’t feel organized and don’t have all your ducks in a row.
  • It helps you identify your “missing ducks” and gently remind you of them.
  • The Torch focuses on leaving instructions – not details. It does NOT require copies of documents or sensitive passwords – it just tells people where they can find such things when needed.
  • The Torch provides a way to update and share the instructions so that loved ones and advisors have the information when they need it.
  • The Torch is holistic. It helps you think of everything.

Light the Way for Someone in the Dark

We wholeheartedly recommend The Torch to clients, friends, and advisors. Use coupon code TC5off to receive $5 off. We also invite you to contact Lenore directly and get your own coupon code for your clients. (She’ll even give you your own account when you do so.)

We receive nothing for recommending this tool, we simply think it is an idea whose time has come, and one that we are grateful to have access to in our work with clients.

Nobody knows what the future will bring, but we can each  take action now to help our friends, clients and loved ones be “ready for anything.” Light YOUR Torch today!

Todd and Kim