Banks' living wills involve both recovery and resolution. Since it may not always be clear when recovery plans or actions should be triggered, there is a role for an objective metric to trigger recovery. We outline how such a metric could be constructed meeting criteria of (i) adequate loss absorption; (ii) distinguishing between weak and sound banks; (iii) little susceptibility to manipulation; (iv) timeliness; (v) scalable from the individual bank to the system. We show how this would have worked in the U.K., during 2007-11. This approach has the added advantage that it could be extended to encompass a whole ladder of sanctions of increasing severity as capital erodes.