New Emergency Contact Listing Provided by Virginia
by Stephan J. Lipskis, Esq.
One of the most common catastrophes encountered in America is an automobile accident. Whether minor or severe, automobile accidents shake our sense of comfort and worry both us and our families. Until recently it was extremely difficult to reliably provide automatic emergency notification in the event of an automobile accident. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has recently implemented an “Emergency Contact Program” which aims to provide quick notification to your emergency contacts in the event you are in a severe accident.
The Emergency Contact Program allows for the secure storage of contact information for two individuals who will be notified in the event of an emergency by law enforcement. The contact information will only be available to law enforcement and may only be accessed in the event you are unable to communicate.
The benefit of this program is limited to those with Virginia driver’s licenses, permits, and Identification cards, but is free for anyone who wishes to sign up. Those interested may sign up at their local DMV office or online at DMVnow.com, which is the official Virginia DMV website. Additionally, a form can be used to register via mail. This service is not mandatory, but should be considered for anyone concerned about notifying their important contacts in the event of an emergency.
As a point of caution, this program does not serve to replace important decision-making documents needed in the event of an emergency, such as an Advance Medical Directive or Power of Attorney. Those documents specifically vest medical and financial power in individuals to act as your substitute decision maker. Setting up those documents is critical to ensuring your affairs are effectively managed in the event of an emergency, because the Emergency Contact Program will only notify your emergency contact of an accident; it will not vest in them authority to make decisions on your behalf..
We never want to consider such terrible circumstances but pre-planning prevents a serious accident from causing other serious harm. The Emergency Contact Program should allow for emergency contacts to be notified expeditiously, and a properly planned Power of Attorney and Medical Directive will enable those you trust to step in and manage your affairs until you recover.
Ask Kit Kat – Circus Elephants Retiring Early
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retiring its elephants in May?
Kit Kat: Well, it’s extremely good news, and, in fact, they are doing this a year and a half ahead of schedule! In March 2015, it was announced that the elephants would be retired by 2018. However, in planning the retirement, the parent company, Feld Entertainment realized it could actually be accomplished a lot more quickly than originally planned. So as of this May, they will be officially retired. The 11 touring elephants will be sent to the circus’ 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation located between Orlando and Tampa. There they will join approximately 30 other elephants who reside there permanently. It costs about $65,000 a year to care and feed an elephant.
It will be the end of an era. Elephants have been a mainstay of the circus for over a century. They have been the face of the circus, appearing on posters and other advertising materials promoting the circus. But it is a change that is long overdue, in my opinion. These large, gentle creatures have not always been treated as they deserved. Circus life required them to be frequently chained and managed with bull hooks. Ringling Bros. also was influenced to take this action by the fact that more and more localities were not allowing them to perform due to concerns about animal cruelty.
Hopefully, some good will come of their retirement. At the Center of Elephant Conservation, the retired elephants will be used, among other things, for cancer research. This can be done quite easily without hurting them. Their DNA is unique in that it has 20 copies of a cancer-suppressing gene, while humans only possess 1 copy. Perhaps a drug can be developed which will imitate the work of these elephant genes. Despite their size, elephants actually develop cancer at a far lower rate than humans. Scientists will try to discover why this is so.
(Tamara Lush, The Associated Press as it appeared in The Virginian-Pilot, 1-12-16, p. 6)
- February 15th, 2016 – Stephan J. Lipskis will be speaking on “Protecting the Money You Leave to Your Children from Their Divorce” at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4453 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
- February 16th, 2016 – Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro is presenting on Veteran’s Aid and Attendance again with the Crossings at Independence at 10am. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4453 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
- February 18th, 2016 – Stephan J. Lipskis will be speaking on “Protecting the Money You Leave to Your Children from Their Divorce” at Hilton Gardin Inn, 5921 Harbour View Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23435.
- February 20th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook is traveling to Charlottesville for the 2016 UnProgram with VAELA. He will be giving a presentation on Advance Medicaid Planning Strategies, as well as addressing nuances of gifting by Power of Attorney.
- February 23rd, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking on Long-Term Care Planning at The Crossings of Harbour View at 10AM.
- March 5th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking at the SNA Meeting in Hawaii on “Residential Planning for the Adult Disabled Child of an Elder or Decedent.”
- March 14th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be speaking on “Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance” at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4453 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
- March 15th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be speaking on “Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance” at Hilton Gardin Inn, 5921 Harbour View Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23435.
- March 16th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking at the Hampton Roads Chapter Enrollment Society Meeting about Trust and Decedent’s Estate taxation issues.
- March 24th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking on Long-Term Care Planning at The Crossings of Harbour View at 10AM.
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