Whip your plan into shape with these tips.

The overwhelming success of 50 Shades of Grey, both the book and record-breaking movie, got us thinking. Perhaps we’ve been too passive when it comes to getting people to plan. We have all the tools for everyone in the world to get a plan in place, but it appears some people need a push. So here goes...

You’ve been a very, very bad planner. Step into our extra comfy, well-lit planning roo...um, we mean, enter our dungeon of decadence and take your place on the throne of nonresistance as we go through the 50 things you need to do to take control of your life.

The safe word: Deputy. If you’re unfamiliar with Everplanning this will make sense soon enough. Also, who said you could speak? (Too much? We're still new at being bossy.)

You’re No Good To Us Hurt

heart wrapped in rope

You need to call your own shots when it comes to medical treatment. If you’re a good planner we might even untie you long enough to fill out an Advance Directive.

1. Decide what life support treatments you want in your Living Will. If you’re curious about what life support does to your precious body, find out more here.

2. Name a person you trust implicitly as your Health Care Proxy (a.k.a. Health Care Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, or Health Care Agent ) to make difficult medical decisions when you’re tied up.

3. Your heart belongs to us only figuratively. Decide if you want your real heart, and the rest of your important body parts, to go to those in need by being an Organ Donor.

4. Once you’ve thought through the first three things on this list, find your state’s Advance Directive Form here, print it, follow the directions, and get to work.

5. If don’t want to be poked and prodded by doctors when there’s no hope of recovery, you need a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). Unlike an Advance Directive, which you complete on your own, you need to fill this out with a doctor. Might we recommend Dr. Doom? Okay, maybe you should choose your own doctor in this instance.

6. These important medical documents are the ultimate exhibitionists. Don’t bury them in the bottom of a drawer or in a locked box with your secret items. You want them to be seen in their stark glory by all or else they’re completely worthless. (And we know how much you loathe wasting time on worthless things.)

Bend To Our Will

woman in catsuit bending whip

Time to exercise some “will” power so you don’t leave your family in a bind.

7. Take a nice long look at your massive, lovely...possessions. Your house, car, collectibles, etc... Where do you want them to go when you no longer have any use for them? You could have your family fight over all these things in court, or you can assert your dominance right now and divvy everything up in your Will.

8. You don’t have to be nice. If there’s someone who wronged you in your life, you can make a point of leaving them nothing. Here’s the catch: If you don’t create a Will, and this person is a close relative, Probate court could end up giving them everything. We wouldn’t want that happening, now would we?

9. Guardianship is about nurturing and caring for another person’s child as if he or she were your own. If you have little ones, or care for an adult with special needs, you need to name someone so those bundles of happiness aren’t left to fend for themselves. [Related reading: How To Choose A Guardian]

10. If you don’t pick a guardian, the court will choose one for you. Are you the type of person who wants a judge you’ve never met deciding the fate of your children? Who knows where they’ll end up? You can only hope it’s not with your creepy loner cousin who transformed his shed into a real S&M dungeon. But since you didn’t make the decision while you were alive it’s too late now.

11. After you’ve named a guardian, you have another decision to make: Who handles their financial well-being? If you’re already trusting someone to raise your child, odds are you can trust them with money as well. But what if you want to put a barrier between love and money? Enter the Guardian of the Estate. Do you need one?

12. A Will isn’t complete until you name an Executor. This no-nonsense take-charge person will make sure everything you want gets done. Now you’re playing with power!

13. Once your Will is official, keep it locked up somewhere safe and secure. (Hmm, we like the sound of that…) But seriously, tell someone you trust where it is so they don’t have to tear your house apart to find it.

14. If you don’t want to do a Will for whatever reason let people you care about know that too. Otherwise, they could spend time ripping apart your house over a document that doesn’t exist. You can even leave a note as to why you didn’t want a Will just to put them at ease.

The show must go on, just keep some tissues handy.

We’ve come to expect TV shows to kill off characters. From cop shows to medical dramas to sitcoms, no one is ever truly safe -- but when an actor starring in a series actually dies, it changes everything.

Viewers, cast mates, and producers alike want to make sure the departed is properly honored, leaving everyone with a positive lasting memory. Here’s how some of the most popular TV shows handled the deaths of actors and their respective characters.


Coach from Cheers

It was obvious something was going on with Nicholas Colasanto during season 3 of Cheers: Between his dramatic weight loss and severely reduced screentime, the affable “Coach” Ernie Pantusso seemed to be fading away right before viewers’ eyes.

When Colasanto died of a heart attack before production wrapped that season, Coach was also put to rest. Realizing there was no better explanation for his absence than the truth, Sam quietly told Diane that “Coach died” in the season 4 premiere.

He was replaced by the similarly simple-minded Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), but Coach’s memory was never abandoned. For the rest of its 11-year run, Cheers made affectionate reference to Coach several times, even hanging a photo the actor kept in his dressing room on the wall of the bar set, which Sam adjusted at the end of the finale. (Photo Source: Paramount)

Night Court

Selma and Florence from Night Court

When 64 year-old Selma Diamond died of lung cancer after filming season 2 of Night Court, 62 year-old Florence Halop was brought on to replace her as brassy female bailiff.

Producers weren’t trying to hoodwink audiences into believing Florence was Selma -- her death was explicitly addressed in the season 3 premiere, with fellow bailiff, Bull (Richard Moll), grieving the hardest.

Shortly after completing season 3, Florence also died of lung cancer. Having already given Selma a proper send-off the year before, the show’s decision to also acknowledge Florence’s death was surprisingly forthright: In the season 4 premiere, Judge Harry T. Stone (Harry Anderson) admits being more sad about both of their deaths than his mother’s.

As Night Court faced its third casting of the role, producers changed direction with Marsha Warfield, a 32 year-old comedienne with killer deadpan who remained on the series until its finale in 1992. (Photo Source: Warner Home Video)


Hoss from Bonanza

Widely regarded as the most beloved player on Bonanza, Dan Blocker’s unexpected death just before the show’s 14th and final season couldn’t go unmentioned. But if fans expected the series to face Hoss’ death with the courage of a cowboy, they were in for some disappointment.

Leery of an hour-long grief-fest, the final season was peppered with not-so-subtle allusions to the loss: A closing zoom on a photo of Hoss; Ben’s (Lorne Greene) references to losing a son; a tearful breakdown between Ben and Little Joe (Michael Landon).

It was obvious Hoss was dead, even if producers refused to come out and say it. They also refused to provide an explanation and fans of Bonanza didn’t find out how Hoss died until 16 years later, when a 1988 TV movie revealed he’d been trying to save a young man from drowning. (Photo Source: Paramount)

Perfect things for that special someone with a morbid or sassy sense of humor.

This Valentine’s Day, you could go the standard route and buy a box of chocolates, bouquet of flowers, heart-patterned boxers, and thoughtful card. Or you could get creative with the holiday based on a bow-wielding Greek god named Cupid whose arrows fill intended targets with uncontrollable desire.

The following gifts might not inspire “uncontrollable desire,” but they should put a smile on the object of your affection’s face this V-day.

Have A Heart…Made Of Chocolate

anatomical chocolate heart for valentines day

This edible ticker weighs in at a pound. If you’d like to get your sweetheart* a variety of internal organs, you can buy an entire box of anatomical correct chocolates. Never has learning anatomy been so delicious. [Buy it at Morkes Chocolates]

*pun completely intended


BitterSweets valentine's day candy

BitterSweets are a creative take on those classic candy hearts, only these have messages like “Awful Inlaws,” “Rather Drink,” and “I Want Half.” Just be sure your beloved has the same sense of humor or this could go very, very wrong. [Buy it at Despair.com]

Shopping before a big storm hits is sort of like shopping when you're hungry. Mistakes are often made.

When the news breaks of a massive storm, the first thing people do is rush out to stock up on whatever they can grab. People converge on every supermarket and hardware store and go hog wild. While some of the purchases are completely sound and sensible, there’s also a lot of regret after the weather passes.

Here are a few things you might want to avoid.

Condensed Milk

condensed milk in a can

Unless you buy this regularly for baking, the can will sit in your pantry for years as the ultimate "what was I thinking?" reminder.

Too Much Bread

bread stack

For some reason the first thing people stockpile is bread. Like we're reverting back to biblical times when that was all you needed to survive. A typical loaf of bread goes bad in less than a week. Ask yourself: How much bread does my family consume normally? If it's less than a loaf a week, take it easy.

Frozen Stuff

frozen food aisle at the supermarket

Everything in your freezer will go bad if the power goes out long enough for it to melt. Plus, you probably already have so much stuff in there already. Skip buying new frozen items and make a pact to eat all the things that are already in there.

Worried about your family’s ongoing coverage? Your access to specialty care? Experimental treatments? Luckily, these 35 movies can help you through it all.

The debate over health care has been at a fever pitch around the country since The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) became law in 2010 and went into full effect in 2015. Rather than argue its merits, let’s all take a collective deep breath and allow movies to solve all our problems.

Note: If you’re actually in need of medical attention, please see a doctor! Even if you’re completely healthy, you should still create an Advance Directive so you have control over the treatments you want. Also, the open enrollment period for health care coverage comes to an end on 2/15/15. Don't go uncovered!

Okay, enough serious talk. We identified a number of health care concerns and how popular movies dealt with the problem in their own magical (and completely unrealistic) ways. Let’s get on with the fun.

1. Rambo (Yes, all of them)

The Health Care Crisis: Lack of coverage will cause a reversion back to primitive medical practices.
The Diagnosis: That wound won’t stitch or cauterize itself. Bite the bullet and DIY. Plus, if you’re interested in fresher skin, Rambo also recommends regular mud baths. [Photo Source: Lions Gate]

2. The Doctor

The Health Care Crisis: Patients have growing concerns that doctors have lost all sense of empathy and compassion.
The Diagnosis: Doctors themselves must become gravely ill to learn that patients are more than just notes on a medical chart. [Photo Source: Touchstone Pictures]

3. The Hunger Games

The Health Care Crisis: Government subsidies will no longer be available to those who can’t afford medication or treatment.
The Diagnosis: The less fortunate will have to use their wits, wiles, and marksmanship to earn funding from wealthy sponsors. It also helps to have Woody Harrelson on your side. May the odds be ever in your favor. [Photo Source: Lions Gate]


No one can guarantee a peaceful death, but an undisturbed funeral should be a given. Here are a few things to keep in mind to assure the final farewell is dignified.

According to a recent CNN report, the family of the late Vanessa Collier was extremely upset when the church hosting her funeral refused to show a tribute video depicting images of Vanessa kissing her female partner. Since the family wouldn’t change the video, the service was abruptly relocated to a much smaller venue across the street after attendees had already been seated.

Now imagine this happening to you. It’s the last time you get to say goodbye to someone you loved and the place you’re holding the ceremony has a fundamental problem with how you want to honor the deceased, forcing you to either alter the ceremony or find another place. It’s a terrible situation, and something that can be avoided.

No Judgements

We’re not here to condemn the church, or say that we as a society need to be more accepting. People have the choice to believe what they believe, so we need to either learn how to best work together, or accept each other’s differences and not work together at all.

It’s obvious that funerals are an incredibly emotional time for friends and family members. For others involved, it’s a business or based strongly in belief. While businesses have one set of goals (make money, provide a service that keeps customers coming back for more), beliefs are often ironclad, and won’t change to accommodate even those who are grieving.

This is why funeral directors are the liaisons who make sure any possible issue is addressed well before people arrive at the funeral. Typically, a professional and knowledgeable funeral director will speak with the family or loved ones, find out what type of service they want, and identify possible issues right off the bat. It’s much like a wedding planner in that regard, where the job is to know the vendors (or in the case of death, surrounding places of worship and cemeteries), figure out a solution, and guide the family in the right direction.

If you’re not using a funeral director, then it’s up to the person planning the funeral to call possible locations beforehand and make sure they’re accepting. If they’re not you can always voice your displeasure or stage a protest later, but right now the most important thing is to find a venue so the funeral proceeds peacefully.

We’ve come up with a list of possible situations below, but the overarching solution is quite simple: Always ask in advance.

Funeral Service Issues

What if a place of worship isn’t tolerant of people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender, or won't recognize same sex couples or marriage? It’s best to find a place that will honor your loved one rather than judge him or her for living a life they think was wrong. The right venue will also benefit the attendees, who probably accepted the deceased's lifestyle and will be quickly angered by those who don't. 

Even though the Catholic Church has accepted cremation since 1963, some priests still feel the body should remain intact for the afterlife. Some places may protest if you forgo a traditional funeral service and only want to bring cremated remains into the church for a memorial service. (Note: A memorial service is held after the cremation has taken place, whereas a funeral has the body present.) 

If you’re having a funeral in a temple, be aware that traditional Jewish rituals push for simplicity; the body should be placed in a plain pine box and adorning it with flowers is not considered appropriate. If you would like to stray from tradition, be sure to check with the Rabbi first.

Some spaces don’t only judge how people lived, but also how they died. Unfortunately, certain locations will not be willing to hold a service for someone who committed suicide.

Burial Issues

A cemetery is another place where modern and traditional beliefs could clash.

If the deceased is a different religion or race than the rest of the family, don’t assume the cemetery will be as accepting as you are. Most cemeteries try to keep families together, but again, please check in advance.

Although you may not be bothered by the deceased’s tattoos, certain religious cemeteries do not approve.

If you’re planning to take advantage of military veteran benefits, you need to be sure that you can prove that the deceased was honorably discharged. You need to fill out the DD-214 form to obtain the plot in the cemetery, as well as receive other veteran benefits. Don’t forget, this is applicable to the spouses and minor children of the veteran as well. If the deceased was dishonorably discharged then there are no benefits available.

Other Thoughts About Death And Lifestyle

Not all funerals are traditional. Some people treat them like parties, which could be disruptive for some venues. While it’s impossible to come up with every situation, here are a few to get your mind thinking:

If the deceased was in a gang, or had criminal or controversial dealings that lead to their death, a venue owner may pass.

If the deceased rode motorcycles, the place might not want a bunch of loud bikes zooming through the parking lot.

Then there are interesting lifestyle choices where it’s up to the family to use their judgement and common sense. If the deceased was a nudist and requested that some of his buddies show up in the buff, or if they really loved smoking pot and wanted people to get high during the ceremony, you’re probably not going to find many places willing to accommodate. Also, this is what a post-funeral receptions back at home are meant for. (We’re not here to judge. We just want to give you some options...and keep you out of jail.)

Final Thoughts

It’s understandable for a person to get upset and angry if someone judges you or your loved ones, especially in death. It hurts and can make the grieving process that much harder. But when it comes to honoring the deceased it’s best to try to work together and get through it with as little friction as possible.

The Wall Street Journal recently cited Everplans as the go-to resource for estate planning in an article titled The Best Online Tools For Navigating Retirement.

The story lists a bunch of very useful apps and Websites to help get your planning underway. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say about us:

Estate Planning

A handful of sites offer a blueprint for estate planning, including a list of the documents that are generally needed in addition to a will.

One of the most comprehensive, Everplans.com, explains how to complete documents such as health-care proxies and powers of attorney that appoint people to make medical and financial decisions on behalf of someone who becomes incapacitated. It has links to standard versions of these documents for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and discusses living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders and some types of trusts. The site also sends emails to urge users to take specific steps, such as uploading or completing documents.

For $75 a year, users receive five gigabytes of storage for documents on the site. Users frequently upload copies of items their beneficiaries will need, including insurance policies, Social Security cards, bank account numbers, online usernames and passwords, and contracts with funeral homes and cemeteries. Some users even include explanations of their wills, says Abby Schneiderman, the site’s co-founder.

The site requires users to name deputies to receive access to the information. It also recommends companies that provide wills and life insurance, although it currently receives no payment from those companies, says Ms. Schneiderman.

Read the full story here.

Finally, an end-of-year list that has nothing to do with Ebola.

It’s been an eventful year so take some time to reflect with some helpful, instructional, and just downright fun Everplans stories from 2014.

1. Shhhh...It’s A Secret

How To Eliminate All The Skeletons In Your Closet After You Die

Questionable browser history, racy photographs, and private health conditions are just a few posthumous scandals you might want to avoid. What secrets do you want to take to the grave?

Related: Checklist: How To Identify Skeletons In Your Closet

2. A Treat Almost As Good As Bacon

How To Make Sure Your Pets Are Taken Care Of After You’re Gone

America is approaching a belly rub crisis. Or, in the case of cats, that spot right above their tail that makes them like you for a few minutes.

Only 9-percent of people with Wills have made provisions for their pets. Even though it’s incredibly sad to think of our pets without us, it’s time to do something about it. Here’s how to keep tails waggin’ and kitties purring after you’re gone.

Related: The 10 Biggest Inheritances Ever Left to Pets | Puppy Dogs and Kitty-Cats Promise More Cuddles If You Include Them In Your Will

Perhaps you already saw our 2014 Completely Responsible (Yet Still Very Fun) Holiday Gift Guide, which offered a bunch of options for what you should buy for your family, friends, and other gift-worthy people in your life. But what did the Everplans staff give each other?

We recently held our second annual “yankee swap." We’re still not 100-percent solid on all the rules and regulations, but it’s like a Secret Santa -- except you can steal other people’s gifts. Or something. Rather than give you a play-by-play of who ended up with what, let’s just say it was a lot of fun. Here’s a rundown of all the awesome $25-and-under presents along with the person who bought it.

A recent episode of Hawaii Five-0 went beyond the call of planning duty and covered all of these things:

Plus, it brought back Carol Burnett as Lt. Steve McGarrett’s Aunt Deb, who this time last year had given up a fight against a brain tumor [Check it out here: Hawaii Five-0 Gave Carol Burnett A Brain Tumor for Thanksgiving]. We’re happy to say she opted for chemo and is keeping the fight alive...and now she’s getting married!

All of this info was packed into a tropical cornucopia of action and lush Hawaiian landscapes.