Using 1Password vs Contacts in Emergency scenarios

Hey MPU friends,

I’ve been using 1Password for years and love it. In talking to my dad (moved back home for now), he asked "if you got into an accident how would the paramedics know your insurance info for example? His point is that saving items solely in 1Psssword in his mind boxes in the information just to me especially if there’s medical need/care involved. He’s urged me to add my banking info, medical insurance, and other things as contacts in my phone with hints to the passwords/account info in the notes section of the address book. What are people’s thoughts on this? Is there a balance? Can solely 1Password be used?

Medical info can be shared with the Medical ID feature.

Regarding banking, if something were to happen, your will should list who would be your beneficiary and that along with a death certificate would allow that individual to access funds in the event of your death. In less serious events then a bank should be reasonable. I certainly wouldn’t be putting bank details in contacts.

If something is absolutely critical, use 1Password for Families (other apps are available) and share a vault just for key information.


There are two types of information you mentioned here, each require different handling:

  1. Insurance Information in case of emergency; my understanding that paramedics never ask for that, and they will treat someone and take them to hospital, and later the hospital accounting will ask for insurance info. At this point, either you or a family member can provide them with this information.

  2. Password: you can have 1Password Family account with shared vaults and include the accounts that you think should be shared, also bank accounts, you better have will or power of attorney for someone that you trust, and they can access your accounts legally. It’s still against law for someone other than you to access your bank accounts and perform transactions, especially when you are not in condition to confirm that was your will. Always document that stuff and make it legal.

None of those options, include leaving details as contact information; as it’s very hard for someone else to look into it and extract useful information.

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I agree with @geoffaire and @mina. I’ve had to deal with multiple emergencies (involving others) over the years and have never known paramedics to ask for insurance information.

IMO, if you fill out the Medical ID feature that will provide emergency personnel with your blood type, medications, and your emergency contact which is critical Information. Everything else can wait.

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Related to medical emergencies, but not to computer/phone apps, make sure everyone has a Durable Power of Attorney and other legal/medical documents such as the (dreaded) Advance Directive set up and accessible as well! You never know what will happen in life.

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@tomalmy is correct. Your Durable Power of Attorney (or whatever it is called in your jurisdiction) will name your health care agent(s) who act in your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make or communicate your own decisions for medical care. Those agent(s) should be provided with up-to-date copies of all your relevant medical documents and information. They should not expect to retrieve that information from your records, but from their own.

In my case, I have provided the basic information emergency personal will need in the “Medical ID” on my phone, along with a note to see my Durable Power of Attorney and where it can be located. I also have my agents listed as my emergency contacts and those agents each have a copy of my records and know to bring them in the event that they ever receive a call.

Related to the OP and the “power of attorney” discussion but not in the medical area, I wouldn’t assume that any sort of “power of attorney” solves your banking problem. I had a friend who had a legally-drafted power of attorney for somebody else (that was still alive) once and it was absolutely pulling teeth to get the bank to comply. Expect hassles, and if it’s important ask your specific bank what they need.

Your bank can and should make it hard for other people to get at your money unless the other person is also on the account.

This may be a difference between the USA and other countries, but every bank I’ve run into makes it their business to not be reasonable. Regulations are pretty strict.

Again, USA-centric here, but when somebody dies their bank account gets locked out until probate court appoints (or recognizes) an executor. That person gets access to the accounts to pay the valid debts of the estate, but they can’t distribute anything like an inheritance until everything is settled. And with statutes giving creditors several months to make claims against the estate, that can take some serious time.

The bottom line here is that if this sort of thing (the banking aspect) is important to you, you probably want to have a consult with an estate attorney. And either way, letting other people have your banking info because you’re incapacitated seems like a Bad Idea. :slight_smile:

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Some banks allow you to have internal Power of Attorney that applies only to that bank and specific account(s). This might be a good solution in addition to the other stuff mentioned in @webwalrus’s post. Still I am not from US, so my recommendations are related to Canada.

In the U.S. power of attorney ends upon the principals death.

If you are of legal age and become incapacitated, and you have not made your wishes known ahead of time, others will make those decisions for you. I suggest everyone has a plan. Despite what Shakespeare thinks of lawyers, they do have a purpose.

…and there’s no guarantee they’ll do so in the way you’d like, or that your family / friends might not go through absolute hell in the process. Which is why…