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.

Purpose

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.

Via TMZ

Everplans' Co-Founder Abby Schneiderman was featured prominently in a recent report called "Aging: A Family Affair," which aired on ABC network affiliate KSTP in Minneapolis. The story takes an in-depth look at the state of aging today and the resources available for families. You can enjoy the entire segment below or skip to the 9:40 mark to see Abby offer up some Everplans enlightenment.

Via KSTP.com

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Just because the subject matter is sad doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to rock out to it.

Death has been a staple in art since the beginning of time. These songs defy the ordinary and, like Frank Sinatra sang, make you want to live, live, live until you die.

"I’m Gonna Live Until I Die" Frank Sinatra

Ol’ Blue Eyes lived life to the fullest on his terms. This is one those songs that makes you want to quit your job and run down the street. Hallelujah! (Once the adrenaline and excitement wears off you may want to apologize to your boss and beg for your job back. Or just listen to the song again and live your life like Frank if that's an option.)

"I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight" Cutting Crew

While the lead singer probably didn’t actually die in his lover’s arms that night, this over-dramatic pop ballad from Cutting Crew is pure '80s. They even use the word “proxy,” which we’re more used to hearing in an Advance Directive (Health Care Proxy) as opposed to a song that would headline a goth prom (“She's loving by proxy, no give and all take”).

"At Your Funeral" Saves The Day

This infectious tune by '90s band Saves The Day isn’t the most well-known but definitely earned it’s spot near the top of our list. If you’ve never heard it before get ready to add it to your playlist. When taken out of context, the lyrics might seem depressing -- “And at your funeral I will sing the requiem. I'd offer you my hand it would hurt too much to watch you die.” Somehow when being sung by a cherubic blonde kid it doesn’t seem so bad.

 

A palliative care nurse recently wrote a list of the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed. It became really popular. You may have seen it posted on Facebook. If not, here are the highlights:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Even though we’re not experts on deathbed regrets, this seems pretty standard. But how much control do we really have over any of these things? Are these actual regrets or just cliches we accept as reality when the end is near? If given the chance to live life over again, how many people would change how they lived? Would you work less hours even if you had a family to support? Express your feelings and follow your heart more freely, even if alienated you from friends and loved ones? Treat happiness as an “on/off” switch primarily set to “on?”

In short, it’s a thoughtful, conversation-starting list but it’s not useful. The only person who learns from regrets is the person who has them in the first place. Unless you have a time machine, it’s too late to change these things. For others, regrets don’t translate well. People often have to make their own mistakes for it to become real. It’s all part of life.

Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s do the opposite: What won’t you regret on your deathbed? What are the things that made your life worth living? When did you do something against the norm that might have turned out great (or horribly) but was still worth the ride? It doesn’t have to be major life altering moments (as you’ll see below in our examples), but it should be something that brings a smile to your face whenever it drifts into your mind.

To get the ball rolling, here are some examples of things people around the Everplans office don’t regret. Leave your Deathbed “Non-Regrets” in the comments below or send them directly to us:

  • Never passing up the opportunity to go on a waterslide. Ever.
  • Not seeking out my real birth parents.
  • Breaking my wrist learning how to snowboard at an age when most people don’t attempt to learn how to snowboard.
  • Reading over 300 Star Trek books.
  • Taking all my sick, personal and vacation days every year.
  • Ending a relationship/getting a divorce (ed note: this was mentioned more than once.)
  • I’ve worked on a lot of businesses and don’t regret a single one. This includes the successes, failures, and ones that were downright outrageous. (Those were actually the most memorable.)
  • Getting that awesome shoulder tattoo that everyone told me I’d regret.
  • Watching Goodfellas every time I come across it on TV. (Also Godfather I & II, Groundhog Day, Die Hard, National Lampoon's Vacation...)
  • A trip to the Bahamas my friends and I took during college. We could barely afford food (we had to pool our money for each meal), had to hitchhike everywhere, and had some interesting adventures at the hands of locals. It was stupid and dangerous as heck but an experience of a lifetime.
  • Going for the green on a par 5 with my second shot.
  • Spending a month’s salary on a handbag.
  • Two words: Swingers party.
  • Cutting most of my classes in high school. It helped me develop well-rounded social and street skills.
  • Pizza. Yep, just pizza.

Share your Deathbed “Non-Regrets” on Facebook, in the comments below, or send them directly to us here.

As we celebrate our fathers, a new Everplans study reports that end-of-life planning is at the top of their responsibilities list. Other top findings include:

  • As fathers age, responsibilities shift with fathers taking on end of life planning tasks as they get older and younger fathers taking on less traditional male responsibilities
  • Most fathers believe they will leave loved ones at best searching for or worse losing needed beneficiary documents
  • Lack of end of life planning, especially among younger fathers, can result in major losses to loved ones and tremendous gains for government trustees who hold $41 billion in unclaimed assets*

Full PRNewswire Release:

NEW YORK (June 13, 2014)  -- As families celebrate Father's Day, leading lifespan planner, Everplans.com commissioned consumer market researcher Harris Poll to field an inaugural "A Father's Responsibility?" survey of more than 2,000 U.S. households to reveal prevailing responsibilities and expectations of fatherhood. The findings from the survey, conducted online in June 2014, show that end of life planning is one of the most important responsibilities for married men (young and old) to take on. The survey also found that the responsibilities assumed by married men tend to change over time. While fathers tend to take on more traditionally female-oriented responsibilities when they're younger, they assume end of life planning as they get older. Still, the findings show that while fathers consider end of life planning one of their top responsibilities, they do not believe that they do it "very well," which may create a potentially catastrophic financial situation for the families.

End-Of-Life Planning Is A Top Priority For Married Men

Overall, the findings show that married men consider end of life planning (and long term financial planning) to be in the top three of their "responsibilities" list whereas married women tend to claim more conventional motherly duties such as cleaning the home, caring for children, and social planning. Paying bills, however, breaks into the top 5 of married women's named responsibilities.

Top 5 Responsibilities (Married Men vs Married Women)

Responsibilities Change Over Time

These responsibilities change significantly as they get older.  Younger fathers (under 44 yrs old) take on more of the traditionally female responsibilities and older fathers (aged 55+) take on more of what is considered to be socially taboo responsibilities – death and money.

Responsibilities (Younger Fathers vs Older Fathers)

Only 1 In 3 Fathers Believe They Do End-Of-Life Planning 'Very Well'

Contrasting what fathers claim as their responsibility with what they claim to do very well, fathers are very comfortable with their skills in most areas. However, only 1 in 3 fathers believe they do end of life planning 'very well.'

Responsibilities And Perceived Performance

Commenting on the survey, Abby Schneiderman, Co-Founder at Everplans.com, said:  "On Father's Day, we celebrate all the significant contributions that fathers have made in each of our lives. They take on so many responsibilities and seem to be doing them as best as they can. Our inaugural study conducted by Harris Poll shows that end of life planning is an area where they are not confident and may need help. We commend fathers (and mothers) for taking on this difficult responsibility but, without the proper provisions in place, they unintentionally create the risk of leaving a mess behind for families."

Lack Of End-Of-Life Planning Can Result In Major Loss

While most fathers saw themselves as being responsible for end of life planning, they believed that they will leave loved ones at best searching for or worse, losing needed beneficiary documents. According to the findings, less than one-third of fathers said that their family knew exactly where their plans/documents are.

Lack of communication with other family members by fathers risk losing valuable assets that are left in unclaimed bank accounts, safe deposit boxes and pensions. In fact, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) recently found that the U.S. government is currently holding over $41 billion in unclaimed assets. In addition, more than $300 million in pension benefits are owed to over 38,000 people (according to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp) and 1 in 600 people may be owed life insurance money (according to Consumer Reports).

"Fathers and mothers, especially Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, owe it to their families to adequately plan for end-of-life situations," said James Firman, National Council on Aging President and CEO. "It is important to make sure that their wishes and preferences are clear, and that their important documents can be easily located, so that their families and loved ones can be fully prepared."

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Everplans.com from June 4-6, 2014 among 2,036 adults ages 18 and older, of which 539 are fathers. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact William Charnock, Chief Marketing Officer at Everplans.com at william@everplans.com or 646-658-3665.

About Everplans

Everplans helps you complete, organize and securely share your legal, financial and health planning in one place so the important people in your life will have easy access when they most need it. The company was founded by Adam Seifer and Abby Schneiderman, entrepreneurs with a passion for helping people and a proven track record of creating successful online communities. For more information, please visit www.everplans.com.

(Via PRNewswire)

Dear Mr. Martin,

Now that another exhilarating season of Game of Thrones is wrapping up, we are all turning our attention to the calendar. Not for next season yet, but September 20th, your 66th birthday. If you had the life expectancy of your characters, you’d be long gone by now. That worries us.

We all love your lengthy and well-written spoilers for the hit HBO show. However, we fear that either HBO or the Many-Faced God will catch up to you before you can finish killing off the remaining characters. Please don’t leave us behind, George. Valar morghulis (translation: "All men must die"), so please get a plan in place. We can't rely on Beric Dondarrion to resurrect you because you already killed him off.

Let us help you out. We are offering you a lifetime subscription to the premium version of our Everplans product for free. We have secure file upload that's fully encrypted, so you can upload your Wordstar manuscripts. You can then deputize as many people as you like who will be authorized to view your documents should you die before finishing the next books. Might we suggest David Benioff? Don’t worry, you can control what they can and cannot see in your plan. We’ll help you every step of the way with dedicated live chat support, email support, and support by raven (availability limited to Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms).

You see, George, we really need to know what becomes of Tyrion. We crave resolution for Arya... or Jeyne. And we must know, does R+L equal J? Do Daenerys and her dragon Drogon defeat the Dothraki? Please, plan ahead and make sure that we are not left running around like a Stark with its head cut off.

You may contact us at AllMenMustPlan@everplans.com to claim your free lifetime of Everplans.

Regards,

The Everplans Team

The Royal Seal of House Everplans

This missive was sent by raven and is intended only for the recipient noted above. If you happen to find it tied to a dead raven, please tie it to a live raven and send it along on its journey. All other unauthorized viewing of this missive is punishable by beheading, exile, or an evening with Ramsay Bolton. If the official seal of House Everplans on this message is broken then the offer still stands, we'll just be a bit bummed out.

Our Co-founder Abby Schneiderman went on Bloomberg TV's "Market Makers" to discuss how people can take control of their assets online and prepare for death in the digital age. Click the photo above to watch the video on Bloomberg.com.