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.

We're pleased to announce we've been selected to join the highly competitive Aging2.0 Academy program. The only program of its kind in the world, the Academy is designed to connect, support and accelerate the top startups in aging and long-term care. The yearlong program commences November 20, 2014 in San Francisco.

The full press release is after the jump.

Our Co-Founder Abby Schneiderman was gloriously profiled by The Huffington Post. In the interview she talks about what it's like being a woman in the tech industry, balancing family and running a business, and why Everplans is the greatest thing in the world.

Okay, perhaps we're being biased about that last part, but she said such nice things about us we couldn't help but return the favor. Here's a choice selection:

Everplans is a website that helps people become heroes to their families. I'm really proud of what we have accomplished so far. We have an incredible team of people with a lot of experience and expertise working together to create Everplans. We're actually trying to do something that no one has done before. Though many companies exist to help with bits and pieces of this planning (online legal forms companies, financial services, healthcare companies, etc), no one has knit the whole thing together. Why not? They come at it from their business perspective and haven't thought about it from a 'whole life' perspective...A major highlight, has been launching our product into the marketplace and hearing from our users on a daily basis thanking us for building Everplans.

Head on over to The Huffington Post to read the full story.


Attention California residents: It's time to discard your old Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms and start using the new one, which went into effect on October 1, 2014.

For those unfamiliar with a POLST, think of it as a more customized DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) for people with advanced illnesses. While you can obtain a copy of the form here or in our State-By-State POLST Forms section, for it to be official you must fill it out with a doctor.

According to the official site, here are the main changes to the form:

--In order to be consistent with Section A, treatment choices for Sections B and C have been switched in their order, and each section begins with the most aggressive and invasive treatment choices.

--In Section B, the choice of “Limited Additional Interventions” has been renamed to “Selective Treatment,” and the choice of “Comfort Measures Only” has been renamed to “Comfort-Focused Treatment.”

--Goal statements have been added for each treatment choice in Section B. These descriptions help patients understand the goals of care within each option, and aim to promote quality conversations with a patient and/or legally recognized decisionmaker. The goal statements are as follows:

  • Full Treatment – primary goal of prolonging life by all medically effective means.
  • Selective Treatment – goal of treating medical conditions while avoiding burdensome measures.
  • Comfort-Focused Treatment – primary goal of maximizing comfort.

--In Section B, the Full Treatment option features a box which can be marked to indicate: “Trial Period of Full Treatment.” This option is beneficial for patients who want to try short-term ventilatory support but do not want prolonged life support.

--“Address” was clarified and now reads as “Mailing Address.”

--The new “Office Use Only” box is in place for internal use only.


Big thanks to Lifehacker for covering our How To Close Digital Accounts And Services When Someone Dies feature:

We all have tons of digital accounts—email, social media, shopping, cable services, and so on. If you ever need to close one of these accounts—for yourself or, perhaps, a loved one who has passed away, Everplans offers a comprehensive guide to doing so.

For those interested in this topic we have some good news: We plan on adding a lot more online accounts and services to the already massive list in the near future so stay tuned.

Via Lifehacker

Robin Williams was known as a manic comedian, but it was his more soft-spoken performances that stick with us. Most of these involve him providing hope to those that need it:

A teacher trying to bring hope to students in Dead Poet’s Society

A frantic disc jockey trying to bring hope to the troops in Good Morning, Vietnam

An emotionally damaged therapist helping a reluctant genius in Good Will Hunting

A socially inept doctor trying to give hope to patients with a rare disease in Awakenings

There are so many more, but the one that captures his ability to simultaneously provide uncontainable joy with an undercurrent of sadness is from a little-known movie called World’s Greatest Dad.

It’s not a pleasant movie. At all. It’s an extremely dark comedy that can easily offend and disgust most who watch it. It centers around a grieving father who capitalizes on his son’s accidental death. Over the past few days many on the Internet have used a scene from this film as a sort of rallying cry: “Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.”

That’s a fitting sound bite, especially since a man so many people loved and admired from afar tragically took his own life. But the movie has an even more powerful quote that hits at the root of despair and depression. Loneliness:

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

Rather than add any more commentary to something so sad and tragic, we’d love for you to put on some headphones, or crank up your speakers if it won’t disturb anyone else (NOTE: there’s a bit of profanity at the beginning of it), and enjoy the following scene.

Despite all the amazing technology in our lives, when someone dies and you try and access their digital accounts it’s like the wild west. You’re at the whim of the site or service you’re trying to access. Some services make it easy, others not so much.

But it seems like there’s a new sheriff in town and its name is the Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets Act. It doesn’t sound as catchy as Gary Cooper or Clint Eastwood, but since when did proposed legislation ever seem cool? Regardless of the long bureaucratic name, this has the potential to be extremely helpful for millions of people.

We at Everplans have always been very interested in what happens to digital accounts after a person dies, as evidence by our State-By-State Digital Estate Planning Laws, What Happens To Email When Someone Dies and How To Close Online Accounts. Here are some quick bites of info with some personal thoughts sprinkled throughout about the proposed legislation and the digital estate issue as a whole.

What It’s Called And Who Created It

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act by the Uniform Law Commission.


To allow executors, trustees, or the person appointed by court ("conservator" or "fiduciary") complete access to deceased's digital assets.

Why It's A Big Deal

This would supersede a site's current terms of service, forcing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google to grant access, which is something they don't currently allow. The only way a person can prevent an Executor (or “fiduciary”) from accessing any or all of their online accounts is if they specifically state something to that effect in their Will.

It’s About Time

This is a long time coming and a step in the right direction. Digital assets, including email, photos, and entertainment like music, books and movies, have been a part of our lives for a generation. Yet there's still no easy way to handle these accounts when someone dies. There are ways to memorialize or close down accounts, but you still have to jump through hoops, making it incredibly frustrating at a time when you're probably not in the best state of mind.

A Modern Problem That Requires An Immediate Solution

The Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act is proposed legislation and has a long way to go until it's the law of the land. Plus, it has opponents, many of which are powerful digital companies like Facebook and Google, so what do people do in the meantime?

While some states have passed legislation to address it (Delaware being the most recent to adopt something very similar to the FADAA that goes into effect in 2015) you still need to let your loved ones know what you want done with these accounts if something happens to you. Not to toot our own horn, but this is one of the primary purposes of Everplans: Give people the ability to easily share their wishes with people they trust. Digital assets need to be treated the same way as physical ones.

Privacy Advocates Aren't Happy

The people opposing this legislation worry that automatically sharing this information is a breach of the deceased's privacy. However, once someone is gone privacy isn't often the top priority. Settling an estate, grieving and attempting to move on with your life are most important. Again, if a person is worried about private things being revealed upon their death, then that person needs make their wishes clear about what they want done with these accounts and assets after they die. An executor doesn't need to ask permission to clean out a desk or closet after a death, why should they have to beg strangers for information that could be vital towards providing closure?

Technology Moves Fast, Laws Move Slow

Some digital services, like Apple, state in their terms and conditions that all purchased assets revert back to Apple upon death. They have gotten away with a lot since the laws have yet to catch up to the technology. In the past you'd pass down books and CDs to loved ones, now it all just disappears? Seems unfair. But unless you share your digital information with someone you trust, you're no longer in control.

In Conclusion: Everplans Gets Up On The Soapbox

This is a now problem. Death doesn't wait until you're organized or until laws are debated and passed. It's great people are finally addressing it and trying to come up with a reasonable solution, but until you're actually faced with this issue, as many are each day, the importance is difficult to fully comprehend.

Former Deal Or No Deal model Katie Cleary might get nothing from her late husband’s estate unless she finds an updated copy of his Will.

According to TMZ, In 2007, three years before Andrew Stern married Cleary, he created a Will and named his parents as the beneficiaries of his $408,000 life savings. Tragically, Stern shot and killed himself at a California shooting range in June. He was reportedly suffering from depression, some of which is attributed to paparazzi photos surfacing of Cleary with Leonardo DiCaprio and Entourage star Adrian Grenier.

Although Stern filed for divorce two months before committing suicide it was never finalized so they’re still married. Sources told TMZ that she believes he “drafted a new Will after they were married, leaving her a big chunk of his assets,” but if she can’t find it then she stands to inherit nothing.

This brings up some essential estate planning issues to be aware of:

Multiple Wills

It’s quite possible for a person to have more than one Will. Major life events like marriage, having kids, finding out your spouse might cheating on you with one of the biggest movies stars on the planet, are all valid reasons to update this important document throughout your life.

When making updates, you should destroy the previous versions. If you’re sentimental and want to keep a copy of an outdated Will for your records, you should write “VOID” in big letters on it.

If, by chance, there are multiple Wills in your name, Probate Court usually accepts the most recent. Hence the phrase “Last Will and Testament.” However, if the Will has any errors (fancy talk: it wasn’t properly executed) or if it seems like the person was coerced into creating it, then there’s a chance it could be nullified and the court can use an older version of the Will. When it gets this complex, it’s all decided on a case-by-case basis.

In the case of Cleary, Probate Court can’t take her word that another Will exists. However, since they were still married she might have recourse. It’s also Hollywood, so who knows how it’ll all turn out.

Where Is The Actual, Physical Location Of Your Will?

We might operate primarily in a digital world, but some things still have to be on paper. A few examples:

Without the physical piece of paper, often signed and notarized, you’re forced to go through administrative hell to prove your case. Even then you might not succeed. So we can’t stress the next point strongly enough: TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU KEEP YOUR WILL! Sorry for shouting, but if you take the time to create a Will, and never tell anyone where it is, it’s as if you didn’t do it. For help in this area, check out The Safest and Most Practical Places To Store Your Will.