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.
Welcome to the Everplans Blog where we cover everything from Duck Dynasty to Death Over Dinner.
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.
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.
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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-658-3665.
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.
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.
The Everplans Team
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.
Kerri Kasem protesting on October 1, 2013 after being denied contact with her father by her stepmom Jean Kasem. A court granted Kerri temporary power over his health care on June 3, 2014.
Family Drama Over Radio Icon's Ailing Health Gets Ugly
(originally posted on 6/4/14)
The drama surrounding Casey Kasem's family makes a Real Housewives show look like Masterpiece Theater. Famous DJ! Fighting family! Flying meat!
Kasem, 82, best known for his iconic "Top 40" radio show as well being the voice of Shaggy on Scooby Doo, has been reportedly suffering from a form of dementia called "Lewy Body Disease." His daughters and son, Kerri, Julie and Mike, have been in a vicious fight with their stepmom Jean over his care. While it's very easy to be captivated by the drama, here are the important highlights:
--Casey Kasem named his daughter as his Health Care Proxy (also known as a Health Care Power of Attorney) in 2007. This means she has the legal right to make health care decisions for her father if he can't make them for himself.
--A primary physician has to deem Kasem unable to act on his own behalf for the Health Care Proxy to become effective.
--Jean Kasem cut off contact with the daughters last summer (2013), which made providing care for their father impossible. In May, 2014 the daughters put out a missing person report when they claimed he disappeared. Police in Washington State reported he was on vacation outside of Seattle, but a judge still ordered an investigation into why Kasem was removed from Los Angeles without his children's knowledge.
--When Kasem was taken from his house to a hospital in June 2014 his wife threw a pound of hamburger meat at Kerri while her father was being loaded into an ambulance.
--The court recently granted Kerri temporary conservatorship over her father's health care decisions. There's another hearing on June 20th, which could make Kerri the permanent Proxy.
From an emotional perspective, this story is painful for everyone involved. But when you look at it from a planning perspective, there are some positive aspects.
For example: The fact that Kasem named his daughter as his Proxy, and not his wife, allowed his daughters to stay involved in his healthcare decisions. Once his wife violated that document by refusing access, they had recourse and won a court victory.
This story is much more complex that our brief summary and it's tough not to get mired in the muck. But the main thing to think is: If Kasem didn't have any plans in place, it could be even worse. While celebrity families are in the spotlight, many families are torn apart every day when people don't put a plan in place. This includes completing a Will and filling out an Advance Directive, which is the combination of a Living Will and Health Care Proxy. While this might not prevent fights or emotional outbursts--we're all human--it will allow you to reach a legal resolution if it comes to that.
Courts Get Involved; Enforce Kasem's Health Care Directive
(originally posted 6/11/14)
As the family battle rages on between Kasem's daughter and wife regarding his medical care, on June 11th Kerri posted the instructions from her father's Advance Directive on Twitter:
The court’s decision today upheld our father’s explicit wishes as expressed by him in his health directive: “If the extension of my life would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning, then I do not desire any form of life sustaining procedures, including nutrition and hydration….” Transitioning our father’s treatment to comfort-oriented care was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make.
The text in quotes above is taken directly from the Advance Directive form for the state of Washington. Why does this matter? It stems from his wife Jean using the courts to have Kasem's water and feeding tube resumed after it had been pulled. She's asserting that Kerri is trying to hasten her father's death to collect her piece of a $2 million Life Insurance policy. However, since Kasem filled out an Advance Directive alerting his family to his specific medical decisions, the family has a clear picture of what he wants done. The decision to transition from treatment to comfort care, even when you're following instructions, isn't easy and Kerri must rely on doctors to inform her of her father's ability to recover and resume a normal functioning life.
Jean disagrees and her lawyer argued that Kasem's not a vegetable and can communicate, which Kerri's lawyers disputed. With emotions running so high, it's impossible to fully assess the situation from an outsider's perspective. It's easy to offer opinions and pass judgement on either side when it involves celebrities or it's not your family that's suffering, which is why it's important to only focus on the facts. Kasem named his daughter as his Proxy and left clear medical instructions if his health declined.
On June 11th, a judge ruled in favor of Kerri, which allowed her to follow her father's Advance Directive.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Source: National Parks Service)
Memorial Day is a time to honor all the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who died for our country. These courageous service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, who perform dangerous tasks and sometimes pay the ultimate price, don’t ask for any special recognition. But it’s important that we keep them in our thoughts and never forget how they sacrifice themselves to protect us while we go about our daily lives.
Whether an active service member falls in combat or a veteran succumbs years later, a proper military burial is something they’ve earned. It allows their fellow service members a chance to provide a respectful goodbye and their family an important step towards closure. For those who have never experienced a military funeral firsthand, it’s powerful and displays the proud traditions of our Armed Forces.
The U.S. cemetery in Cambridge, England, contains the remains of 3,812 of American casualties from World War II. (Source: American Battle Monuments Commission)
In the spirit of remembrance, and to help those who aren’t familiar with the rituals or symbolism of a military funeral, we outlined a few of the most recognizable aspects below, which are excerpted from The Drill and Ceremonies manual.
Additionally, as a small token of appreciation, we’d like to encourage current and former members of the military to create an Everplan so their loved ones have some extra guidance if tragedy strikes. You can use the following discount code to receive your first year of our premium planning service for free: MEMDAY (Note: Regular annual price is $35. This code expires June 1, 2014.)
Draping The Casket With The National Flag
When the U.S. flag covers the casket, it is placed so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag, which is provided for service members and honorably discharged veterans, is not placed in the grave and is not even allowed to touch the ground. For those who die on active duty, the flag is provided by the branch of service in which that person served. Flags for veterans are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and it is presented to the next of kin at the end of the funeral. If there is no next of kin present, the flag may be presented to another family representative or a close friend.
Funeral Guru Tip: Want to get Military benefits for your loved one? Make sure you have the paperwork! Without the necessary documents, namely the discharge papers (DD 214/Separation Documents), the funeral home will not be able to provide any of the benefits the deceased deserves. This even includes receiving an American flag. For more information, here's an article from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that Funeral Director's reference to determine eligibility for burial in a national cemetery.
The honor guard, which can consist of up to six Armed Forces members, carries or escorts the casket to the grave site. There are several different levels of funerals, including a standard funeral and a full honors funeral. According to a retired Army serviceman, a local unit for a standard military funeral may consist of 2-3 service members. However, when he participated in a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's funeral there were over 120 services members, which included a band, salute battery, firing party, casket team, caisson platoon, and escort element.
Other tasks by the honor guard include holding the American flag taut over the casket and ceremonially folding the flag before handing it to the highest ranking officer. Below is a video of The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (a.k.a. “The Old Guard”) displaying their impressive and precise technique on how to properly fold the American Flag.
Firing Three Rifle Volleys Over The Grave
Normandy American Cemetery contains the graves of 9,387 U.S. service members, most of whom died on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (Source: American Battle Monuments Commission)
The firing of three volleys over the grave of a fallen warrior has its origin in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once the dead were removed, three-musket volleys were fired as a signal that the battle could resume.
Another military tradition is to put a spent shell casing from the volleys into the folded flag.
"Taps" was composed by the Union Army's Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield in 1862. It was called "Taps" because it was often tapped out on a drum in the absence of a bugler and was considered an appropriate substitute when firing three volleys for fallen soldiers was considered unsafe due to the proximity of the enemy. The call was officially adopted by the U.S. Army in 1874.
If you’re interested in the origin of “Taps,” The History Channel created this short but detailed segment:
It's not often you see an ad with a corpse wearing a toe tag leaning up against a wall, but then again, New York City isn't really a normal place.
To get someone's attention in The Big Apple, either on the street or while riding the subway, you have to be clever or shocking and the New York Organ Donor Network's new "Hate The Wait" campaign definitely qualifies on both counts. If this gets the word out on Organ Donation and convinces people to register, then we're completely on board with this approach. Plus, waiting on line is already bad. Waiting on line with a corpse standing next to you? So much worse.
Everplans provides guides, resources and a platform to help you create a plan that contains
everything your loved ones will need if something happens to you.
Source: Volusia County Sheriff's Office
Someone in Florida right now is probably wondering, "Where did I put that coffin filled with weapons?" If you happen to be that person, the police would like to let you know that it's safe and in their custody. Feel free to pick it up if you don't mind answering a whole lot of questions.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife officer found the closed wooden casket in De Leon Springs and contacted the Volusia County Sheriff's department. Once the coffin was opened they found 46 items that ranged from weapons to household appliances...that could easily be used as weapons. The full list is here but we've selected some of the bizarre highlights:
- Ball with metal spikes
- Small red square punching bag
- Black leather pouch
- Double-sided axe with handle
- Baseball bat with numerous screws attached
- Broken yellow dart
- Wooden handle with attached rusted knife blade
- Black stick with attached chain
- Silver metal sword blade with missing hand grip
- Large pair of black metal tongs
The police haven't identified who it belongs to but our imagination has been running wild with speculation. So we present...
7 (Unlikely) Explanations Behind The Florida Weapon Coffin
- A person who did a lot of planning for the zombie apocalypse but is now woefully unprepared and must start rebuilding his stash all over again.
- Ted Nugent is furiously looking around his house wondering where he put his coffin-shaped toy chest.
- A set designer for The Walking Dead is in big trouble for losing an important prop.
- A person preparing to become a well-armed zombie in the event of a zombie apocalypse...not realizing that zombies cannot use weapons.
- "So that's where I put my baseball bat with numerous screws attached," said a Teenage Mutant Ninja Alligator.
- Dracula is well equipped to handle Van Helsing this time around.
- How people prepared for the future before Everplans existed.
Everplans provides guides, resources and a platform to help you create a plan that contains
everything your loved ones will need if something happens to you.