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Who will they call if you've been in an accident?

June 01, 2015
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 A health care power of attorney, your medical decision-maker, plays an important role in estate planning but only if they are alerted to act.  One way to make sure your medical decision-maker is alerted is to add them as an emergency contact on your driver's license.

Many states allow you to enter multiple "emergency contacts" on your driver's license.  This is especially important if you are in an accident that leaves you unable to communicate with emergency personnel and medical staff. 

Emergency Contact

There is a distinction between an emergency contact and a health care power of attorney.  An emergency contact is just that – someone who is notified of the emergency. That’s it. Even if that person shows up at the hospital, they have no special powers or authority. A health care power of attorney, as you well know, assumes legal authority for medical decision-making if you are unable to do so. Even if they are not present at the hospital. So if you do list multiple emergency contacts on your driver's license ensure that all of them know who your healthcare power of attorney is so that person will be alerted.

Below are the instructions for adding emergency contacts to your Maryland driver's license.

As a Maryland driver, you can add up to three emergency contacts to your driver's license record so police will know who to call if you are involved in an accident.  The emergency contact information is available to authorized law enforcement only.  You can add your emergency contacts by following the directions below.  Have your driver's license on hand to start the process.


1.      Log onto http://www.mva.maryland.gov/

2.       Click the “Online Services” link on the right-hand side of the menu bar in the home page.

3.       Click the “Emergency Contacts” link under additional services tab.

4.       Enter your email address and phone number

5.       Click “Next”.

6.       Enter Driver’s License Number, Date of Birth and Last 4 digits of your social security number.

7.       Click “Next”.

8.       Enter information for up to three emergency contacts. Consider listing your health care agent or person having access to your living will or other advance medical directives as one of your contacts.

9.       Click “Submit”.

10.   You are done.  Remember to review and update the contact information at least annually or more often as your personal situation changes.

Tags:John H. Adair, Adair Advisory Group, Estate Planning, Advance Directive,Health Care Power of Attorney, Emergency Contact, MD Drivers' License