Company attempts to bring awareness to teen epidemic

This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the rise in teen car crashes due to texting and driving, and it probably won't be the last. According to the Judicial Branch of California Courts, car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens in the United States, with approximately eight being killed in DUI crashes each day.

Every 15 Minutes, a program that “offers real life experience without the real life risks,” will hopefully get through to teens and their parents.

Simulating the reality of this epidemic, the “Grim Reaper” takes students out of classrooms every 15 minutes throughout the day to give them an idea of how often distracted driving crashes occur. Next, a police officer comes into the classroom, proclaims the student who just left the room as dead, and reads an obituary written by the parents of the “deceased.”

every 15 minutes grim reaper

After students are taken out of class they become the “living dead” and can't interact with their peers for the remainder of the day. When they return to the classroom, their death is addressed to demonstrate that their presence is still felt and their absence from the school community hasn't gone unnoticed.

Every 15 Minutes also carries out a staged car crash in front of the school to create a stark visual impact that "drives" the point home. This includes the participation of the local police, fire department, and paramedics. Students in ragged clothing and gory makeup pose as the dead and injured to make the situation even more realistic. Lastly, the police stage an arrest of the “drunk driver” in front of the school.

every 15 minutes simulated car crash

Participating students who’ve been “killed off” must write a letter to their parents, which starts like this:

"Dear Mom and Dad, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision, and today I died. I never had the chance to tell you......."

The dramatic undertones within the program are designed to dissuade teen drinking and/or texting and driving in the school district carrying out the simulation. Hundreds of high schools across the United States have participated since 2001.

This innovative company allows students, educators, parents, and the community as a whole to join forces in increasing awareness of the dangers of distracted driving -- a cause of death which we can all agree is completely preventable.

Official Every 15 Minutes Site

I have a Google alert set up for my name. In the past I used to keep track of the searchable trouble I'd gotten myself into, but now it's mainly obituaries and death notices of people who share my name. Usually I just delete them but the most recent alert provided a stark realization: When I die I'll only have the second-best obituary ever written featuring my name. Because Gene Newman of Hillsboro, North Dakota clearly has the best.

Born April 16, 1950 (coincidentally the same day, though not the same year, as my dad and aunt), he worked as an over-the-road truck driver (with a perfect driving record), loved to walleye fish, and his family has a great sense of humor. I know this because it all came through in the vibrant, funny, and personal obit. Plus, his photo makes him look like a cross between Steven McQueen and Charles Bronson, only with a mustache both of those tough guy icons would envy.

Website saves unsuspecting viewers from endless tears

Have you ever started a movie happy and finished it totally depressed because the dog died at the end? Well, the geniuses over at have found the solution for this typical first-world problem by letting you know exactly what to expect the next time you watch a pet-inspired film.

Just search for the movie and voila! You can see the fate of the dog (or other animal), as well as exactly what led to its downfall or triumph. We picked six of the most uplifting, hilarious, or downright depressing animal endings you can find on this site. Warning: There are some spoilers (obviously) and a bunch of adorable doggy gifs.

6. Max (2015)

Hurray! You can stand at ease because the war veteran lives. [Source: MGM - Warner Bros/IGN]

5. 22 Jump Street

“An octopus, a cockatoo, an iguana, a burro, several pigs and some doves all appear in the film; none are harmed. A few animated chickens are shot in a video game sequence at the end of the movie, but we're not counting them.” [Source: Sony Pictures/Sporatic Chronicles of Beginner Blogger]

4. Marley & Me

You spent the whole movie rooting for the fiesty yellow lab and his destructive hijinx. Then he has to go and get sick and...<sob>...we don't even want to think about it. [Source: 20th Century Fox/ Cumuloquoise Blog]

New probate estate fees make The Constitution State the most expensive place to die.

pile of hundred dollar bills

When you die, your estate goes into probate (read more about how probate works here). When this happens there is almost always some sort of associated court fee. In Connecticut, the most you could be charged based on the size of your estate was capped at $12,500. That all changed on January 1, 2015.

According to an Associated Press story on Business Insider, Govenor Dannel P. Malloy and the Democrat-controlled legislature eliminated the cap "and doubled the fee on estates worth more than $2 million to 0.5 percent of the value...Probate officials are warning that some invoices they will be sending out shortly could top $100,000 or even $1 million in a few cases." The story goes on to compare how this stacks up against other states:

The probate court system surveyed all 50 states and determined that the 0.5 percent fee on the value of estates of at least $2 million was the highest in the country, surpassing the 0.4 percent fee charged by both New Jersey and North Carolina, said Vincent Russo, a spokesman for the state probate court system. New Jersey also has no cap on probate fees, while North Carolina has a maximum fee of $6,000, he said.

To avoid excessive estate taxes, people often set up Trusts, which shield assets from taxes and helps avoid the majority of probate costs.

The super-wealthy aren't the only ones affected. Connecticut also increased the probate court filing fees from $150 to $225.

 Via Business Insider

It’s all too common to hear of a tragedy turning into something even uglier: an epic family feud.

Without a Will, Advanced Directive, Trust, or Power Of Attorney in place, dramatic emotional warfare, especially in grieving family members, is free to run amok.

Here are a few examples of particularly destructive recent family feuds among celebrities and how some smart pre-planning can potentially spare your family unnecessary heartache.

Worldly Goods

audrey hepburn breakfast at tiffanys

Actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast At Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday) died over 20 years ago, but her two sons are still feuding over her Los Angeles storage locker, filled with the star’s memorabilia. Though she indicated in her Will that the two men should divide the contents of the locker 50/50, they haven’t been able to agree on what’s fair, and now lawyers are involved.

Lesson: In planning the distribution of possessions among your loved ones, be clear and specific. Never assume your family or friends will know exactly what you mean. Hire an attorney to help you with the language and official documentation. [Photo Source: Paramount]

Set Boundaries

bb king

Blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist B.B. King said that if a woman said a child was his, he would never shirk responsibility. As a result, there are 15 people who claim to be his offspring. Even before King died, three of his 11 surviving children were already in court, arguing over $5 million worth of assets.

Lesson: If yours is the case where you have a large family but put your trust in someone on the outside, like a manager, lawyer, or business associate, make sure you name that person unequivocally as the one to make major decisions for when you’re alive, and as the Executor of your estate in the event of your death. [Photo Source: Shutterstock]

Financial advisors, insurance agents, estate planning attorneys and CPAs have a new tool to share with their clients. Today we announced the launch of Everplans Professional, which gives financial professionals the additional tools they need to help their clients organize, store and share all their legal, financial, healthcare, personal and digital information – all in one, convenient place.

Advisors also have access to a personalized dashboard to track the progress and completion of their client's Everplan.

everplans professional dashboard

Here's the full release with all the details:

Everplans just became even more secure.

The security standard sweeping the Internet is now part of Everplans.

What is it?

It’s a two-step process to make sure your Everplan is always secure.

Why is it important?

Most people use the same password for multiple sites. Let’s say a hacker obtains your Amazon password. If you use that same password for other popular sites like Google, Facebook, or Dropbox, that hacker now has the proverbial keys to the kingdom.

Once you enable two-step verification (a.k.a. two-factor authentication), when someone tries to access your account from an unfamiliar device (phone, tablet, computer), there’s a safety measure in place to thwart the attack.

How do I set it up?

Here’s how to enable two-step verification for your Everplans account:

Step 1

two step verification step 1

Head to your Account Settings page (via your name) and click “Manage.”

Everplans has gotten an overhaul!

Our entire team has been holed up in an undisclosed location researching, refining, and building an entirely new Everplans experience for our users. We listened carefully to hundreds of customers who offered us brilliant feedback and incorporated many of those suggestions into the new Everplan. We think you’ll like what you see. But don't believe us. Just believe your own eyes.

When you log in you'll see quite a few changes. We've created new sections, renamed others, and moved things around to make it a better experience. Of the dozens of enhancements, here are 10 of the biggest ones we want to point out:

1. A Clean And Crisp "My Everplan" Page

With cleaner design and a more intuitive interface, we’ve made it much easier to manage your Everplan. This benefits not only you, but your Deputies as well. So pretty!

2. Work It

You can now include extensive details about your employer, your business, and other occupational income sources. Each employment status selection displays a different set of options allowing you to share this vital info with your Deputies.

3. There's No Place Like Homes & Real Estate

We supersized the Homes & Real Estate section, giving you the the ability to add everything anyone would need to know about your home in one place. This includes ownership, utilities, security, and more. You can also add multiple residencies and other types of real estate you may own as well.

Warning: There’s a major character spoiler ahead. Proceed only if you are up-to-date on the show or don’t care about spoilers.

As the popular AMC show Mad Men draws to a close, so does the life of one of its main characters.

Betty Francis (January Jones), the ex-wife of advertising executive extraordinaire Don Draper (Jon Hamm), was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Betty, like most of the women of that era, has been routinely marginalized and dismissed, but her final storyline proved her character is a woman of poise and grace.

mad men betty handing sally letter

She remained calm while her husband Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley) freaked out and tried to force her into treatment, as if she were already at peace. He brought Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka), her eldest daughter, home from school “to talk some sense into her.” What followed was one of the best Betty scenes of the series.

Add some extra joy to the life of the person who gave you yours.

Chocolates, flowers, and breakfast in bed are requirements, but how can you make mom even happier on her very own holiday?

“Oh, great, a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond. How thoughtful,” says a mom trying to hide her disappointment.

“A pre-made coupon from Everplans featuring gestures and tasks to make my life easier? Oh, dear family, you care. You, really, really care,” says a mom who received a bunch of the customized coupons below.


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