Today we’re talking about some of the MOST important things you can do for your family should you become “unavailable” due to a medical crisis or whatever reason. Guys, listen up — this is SO important!
Today’s guest is Abby Schneiderman she is the co-founder and co-CEO of Everplans, is an industry expert in the areas of digital estate planning, technology, and consumerism, a Forbes.com Contributor and has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. She’s also the author of In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later
This episode was inspired by my post on creating a will or living trust.
Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines — these are some ways to be responsible, and there’s a whole lot more in Family Routines. Let’s live a life that gives ourselves the relief of having the important things done — and Family Routines will help you do that.
How to Get Your Affairs in Order
In this episode
Look at estate planning, like buying carseat — it’s just what you do to be responsible.
Why you need to get your affairs in order, and how it is a gift for your family.
How it does NOT need to be complicated — and how you can do it as you live your life.
Using a password manager (like Lastpass)
Other things that might interest you
My other episode about creating a will
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other parenting podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
[00:00:00.060] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast! Today on Episode 90, we’re talking about what happens if you get hit by a bus. We’ve talked about wills before, but guys, this is something I’m really passionate about. So let’s untangle it.
[00:00:21.530] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:46.550] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, before we get started, let me review I mean, you don’t want to hit the pearly gates without having reviewed this great podcast, do you? Thanks. OK, guys. Today’s guest is the co-founder and co-CEO of Ever Plans, which is a site where you can put all of your information, should you not be available, securely online. It looks really cool. I just went over and checked it out. She’s also one of the authors of In Case You Get Hit by a Bus, How to Organize Your Life for now for when you’re not around later.
[00:01:16.720] – Hilary Erickson
I think it’s really important. I want to introduce today’s show guest, Abby Shneiderman.
[00:01:28.330] – Hilary Erickson
Are you overwhelmed by all there is to do around your house? As a new mom, I felt overwhelmed at every turn. Fortunately, I turned to systems to make a change, whether it’s mornings, dinnertime or even just to climb out of a pile of kids’ clothes. My course, family routines, can save you. I hold your hand as we smooth out these rough patches, making every day easier so we can more easily handle when your preschooler tells you they can use their urine like a light saber. Parenting is always going to be a wild ride.
[00:01:53.600] – Hilary Erickson
Routines are just your seatbelt and they can support you. Use coupon code UNTANGLED to save 50 percent in checkout, link in the show notes.
[00:02:05.820] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Abby, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast!
[00:02:08.490] – Abby Schneiderman
Hi, how are you?
[00:02:09.870] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, such a great day because I love to talk about death.
[00:02:15.390] – Abby Schneiderman
[00:02:16.170] – Hilary Erickson
But I love that you guys say that you rebrand estate planning to be less boring and more relevant to daily life, because I think that’s really important. I think most of us just try and ignore it.
[00:02:26.430] – Abby Schneiderman
I literally just got done writing an email to somebody saying that this doesn’t have to be a morbid topic. We want people to think about this no differently than when they’re buying a car seat for a new baby. When you’re buying a car seat, you’re not thinking about death and dying in car accidents.
[00:02:42.720] – Abby Schneiderman
You’re just thinking about being a responsible parent. And we want people to have the same mentality when they’re thinking about doing this type of planning and organization. It doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be crazy. It’s just being responsible.
[00:02:54.040] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, I love that. You’re right, because I’m not thinking about the accident when I buy the car seat.
[00:02:58.440] – Abby Schneiderman
[00:02:58.960] – Hilary Erickson
And I mean, mostly I’m buying it for looks.
[00:03:03.390] – Abby Schneiderman
And the cup holder, right?
[00:03:05.640] – Abby Schneiderman
The cup holder was what got me. But I think that the whole mission that we are on and that we’ve been on for ten years now was to physically change the language of this topic and to make it more modern, more human, more relatable, more approachable. Because the fact is, is that up until now, there haven’t really been any modern, sophisticated resources dealing with this topic. And that’s why one of the big reasons why people don’t want to approach it.
[00:03:33.750] – Abby Schneiderman
Everything’s been a really scary funeral home website talking about we don’t want to be that where the word we’re tech people, we’re not death people. And I’m frankly, I’m just afraid about dying as anybody else.
[00:03:46.110] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, but maybe even less. Probably less, because…
[00:03:50.610] – Abby Schneiderman
No, probably more.
[00:03:51.690] – Hilary Erickson
Once I got a will I was less, and like the whole trust and everything, because we have kids that are entering adulthood. I think I was less afraid of dying just because I knew that at least that part could be OK for them, even though they would be completely lost without me.
[00:04:07.830] – Abby Schneiderman
I think that’s a good point. Maybe you’re not less afraid of dying, but you can sleep better at night, right? When you get some of this stuff organized and and documented and shared, you can sleep better at night knowing that if something were to happen to you, if you get hit by a bus, your family won’t be left in the lurch. And I’ve personally been that family member in a lurch when something my… I don’t know if you know this, but about eight years ago, my brother was on his way to lunch while on vacation with his family.
[00:04:39.180] – Abby Schneiderman
He was fifty one years old when he was killed by a impaired driver driving down the wrong side of the road at 12 PM in broad daylight. And it was an absolute disaster for our family. Luckily, my brother had made some financial arrangements, but he didn’t have a will. We had no idea how to access his accounts. We had no idea what accounts he had. And my family was left in this nightmare of a situation of having to track things down, figure out what he would have wanted in a really short amount of time.
[00:05:07.110] – Abby Schneiderman
It’s complicated, it’s stressful, it’s expensive. And we’re, by the way, like probably making all of the wrong decisions about what you would have wanted. And so ever since, we’ve been on this mission at helping people think through all of, what I call the nooks and crannies of your life, that oftentimes get… Are just disorganized but become huge problems for family members when they’re when they’re left. Yeah.
[00:05:33.600] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, I think the last thing any of us want to do is to shoulder our families with a great deal of burden upon our demise. Besides the agonizing grief my husband will feel. Right. We don’t want them to have to work through this.
[00:05:46.980] – Abby Schneiderman
And the burden is an exponentially difficult burden because you’re going you’re taking on a burden when you’re in a fog of grief and you’re not thinking clearly and you’re sad and you’re exhausted and all you want to do is stay in your bed and now you have to make all sorts of decisions that you never wanted to make in the first place and you don’t even know how to make. And so it’s just a huge gift to give to your family, to think these things through, talk about these things with your family or don’t talk about them, but leave them behind somewhere safe.
[00:06:21.720] – Abby Schneiderman
And that’s what our service does, offer plans, has a planning platform that allows you to put all of this information online securely and share it properly with the people you love so that if something does happen to you, they can get access.
[00:06:33.910] – Hilary Erickson
OK, I love this. So today I want to give let’s talk like three to five things. The people the most important things that busy moms should be starting like today. Do it today, ladies.
[00:06:45.000] – Abby Schneiderman
Do it today. That’s so… Today. What you should do is think about what are the things that are only in your head or that only you know about that you’ve done that. If, God forbid, something were to happen to you, your family would be it would turn into a total disaster.
[00:07:03.720] – Abby Schneiderman
And so the things that we think people should do immediately. Number one, critical passwords that you have, because these are the keys to the rest of your kingdom. And we explain in the book ways to keep them organized and safely shared with the people who need them. Next would be baseline information about the critical financial accounts and insurance policies, if you have any, because that way your family will at least know where to start. Do you have a checking account at Citibank, but a savings account at Schwab or wherever wherever you do your your business, make sure that your family knows where you keep those important accounts.
[00:07:42.270] – Abby Schneiderman
Have you gotten the life insurance policy? Make sure your family knows that you did that. We hear stories all the time about people who did planning. They got a policy in place that they never told their wife about it and it turns into a disaster. And then lastly, your important contacts and a doctor, a lawyer and somebody at your employer, a neighbor, make sure that you just think about who are those important people in your life that if something were to happen to you, that your family would know who to contact.
[00:08:12.480] – Abby Schneiderman
And so you could just get started with that. If you just do that. And that’s not… That’s not complicated. Right. That’s just figuring out what the planning that you’ve already done and make sure that once you figure out what you already have, you document those things. We teach you how to do all this, by the way, you document these things and then you make sure that those that somebody in your life, at least one person in your life, knows where all of that is.
[00:08:39.300] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, and I have to say that a lot of that was the overwhelming part of setting up our trust, mostly because I’ve had several 401k’s. So I had to go through all that and find the accounts and all the contact information.
[00:08:51.900] – Abby Schneiderman
I think people think that they have to get that. This has to be super complicated. It has to be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be all of the things that I just said you actually need in your everyday life now. Right? Even if you go on vacation and something happens and you have a baby sitter staying with the kids like that, that information is important and will come in handy. And it will also be just so again, if something were to happen to you, just a huge, huge, valuable gift that you’re leaving your family after you do that baseline stuff, then you can start getting into the more into the more legal aspects of traditional estate planning.
[00:09:35.040] – Abby Schneiderman
You can get a will in place. You should be thinking about getting the power of attorney. You should be doing health care directives. You should be thinking about if there’s any types of insurance that you need to get. We help you assemble those what we call bigger pieces. And also we get you to start thinking about digital estate planning. What digital accounts do you have? What digital services do you use? What digital devices do you have that could end up becoming big problems for your family if they don’t know how to access them?
[00:10:06.420] – Abby Schneiderman
And then lastly is we help people think through what we call the finishing touches, how to personalize it all. And I’m happy to tell you more about that, too.
[00:10:14.040] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, so I think a lot of us think we have to go to a lawyer. And if you for a long time, we just didn’t have the money for that. You have little kids, you’re just going paycheck to paycheck. And it sounds like those first four, the first things we really don’t need a lawyer. We just need probably a Google doc. And especially if you’re poor, you probably don’t have a lot. So ever plan?
[00:10:33.990] – Abby Schneiderman
Yes, you could you could do a lot of this. I mean, that the you don’t have to use a lawyer. If you if you have a more complicated situation, then definitely consult with an attorney. You’re… Certainly your health care providers. If there are doctors, if you have certain medical conditions that you want to make sure you’re documenting properly, it doesn’t have to be you don’t have to have a lot of money for this to be important.
[00:10:59.790] – Abby Schneiderman
Even if you have kids, you need to make sure that you’re naming a guardian in the will as to who would take care of them if something were to happen to you. But but yeah. And digital estate planning is a big component of what we of what we talk about, too, which is typically not what people think of when they’re thinking of when they’re thinking of traditional estate planning. But today, the average person has over one hundred and thirty online accounts and.
[00:11:26.850] – Abby Schneiderman
I mean, if you think about how we access those need username and password and sixty five percent of people say that they keep those passwords in their head.
[00:11:38.850] – Hilary Erickson
Those people are better than me.
[00:11:40.170] – Hilary Erickson
Well, to start with that. So I use last pass. What do you guys recommend.
[00:11:43.260] – Abby Schneiderman
I use last pass and I also use Daschle, OK? And so I use one for work and one for personal use. And I literally couldn’t live life without a password manager.
[00:11:52.500] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, you could, but you would have the same password everywhere, which is how I lived a lot of my life for a long time. Exactly.
[00:11:58.260] – Abby Schneiderman
I mean, you have to… You really need to think about password management and then hopefully use a password manager. So that for all the reasons that you just discussed, but then you should think about storing that master password somewhere safely and make sure that somebody in your life knows how to get into the master password, because otherwise, I mean, I tell my husband this all the time. If something were to happen to him, I need to know how to get into his phone.
[00:12:23.940] – Abby Schneiderman
I need to know how to get into his computer. I need to make sure I know the Wi-Fi password to our apartment. And I need to know how to get access to, in our case, our car. It’s particular to us, but we live in New York City and I take the subway to work or I did before covid. And he drives to New Jersey, where his office is, if I needed to if there was something happened in the city and I need to get out and I couldn’t something happened to him and I need to get to him and I wouldn’t have access to the car.
[00:12:54.000] – Abby Schneiderman
And that’s just a little thing, right? It’s just a little thing. But it’s where we’re trying the book is trying to help you think through all of those little things that can end up becoming huge problems for your family. I recently spoke with a widow who recently lost her husband, and she said, you know what? We had done everything we had… He had organized everything. He had a will. We had the all of it. But now I don’t know how to change the light bulbs in our house.
[00:13:21.090] – Abby Schneiderman
He we used these special fancy light bulbs, and I have no idea what light bulbs to use and I have no idea where to find. And and she was like, this is the one thing that’s driving me crazy right now. Like, why did you not tell me what those light bulbs were before you died? And so it’s we hear this. Everybody has a different light bulb in their life. And so think about what’s your light bulb? And then we help you think about what is that one thing that can become a huge problem for your family and make sure that you start thinking about.
[00:13:49.620] – Hilary Erickson
I love that and I love that you can just make it part of your everyday life. Right. As you see your husband doing the job that only he does, you can say, hey, what would I ever need if I had to do that? Because even with covid, like we tried to like record extra podcasts because we just didn’t know, like, what if I’m down for two weeks and I’m not able to do anything or not coherent enough to tell you where to buy a light bulb.
[00:14:10.830] – Abby Schneiderman
Right. I mean, you just never know. And I mean, and covid’s another really good example. First of all, prior to covid, well, during the whole world has been sort of hit by a bus in the form of this pandemic. But prior to it, I think people would have thought about everything here as being nice to have. I think now more people realize this is not a nice to have. This is a need to have. We never know when we’re going to need important information at our fingertips.
[00:14:38.310] – Abby Schneiderman
And my family experienced something terrible during covid right in March when everything was going down. My aunt and uncle in Texas were among the first people in their county. I think my uncle was the first person in his whole county in Texas to be diagnosed with it. And they had the whole horror story situation. He went into a coma. He was put on a ventilator. Luckily, thank goodness he survived. But at the time when this was all going on and this was so scary and so crazy and it was March, so we didn’t know anything.
[00:15:11.370] – Abby Schneiderman
And then nobody knew anything. Their adult kids didn’t even know who don’t live near them in their same town, didn’t even know how to contact their neighbor. They didn’t know who their neighbors were, their mom and dad had just moved to a new community and they had no idea who their neighbors were. How can we get in touch with mom and dad and they didn’t know who their primary care physician was. And so what we that’s just those are just two little things, right?
[00:15:31.980] – Abby Schneiderman
Do you live near? If you don’t live near your kids, think about, OK, if something happened to us, how would my kids get in touch with us or who should they call? So those are the types of things we’re trying to get people to think about.
[00:15:42.030] – Hilary Erickson
I love it. OK, guys, so get started. So you think Passwords is probably the number one if they are picking…
[00:15:47.430] – Abby Schneiderman
Passwords is the number one.
[00:15:48.600] – Hilary Erickson
Picking their one thing today? And I use last pass. I had a lot of security concerns before I did it, but I’ve talked with a lot of security people and they say it is OK, that’s your best bet.
[00:15:57.960] – Abby Schneiderman
And what we what we say about that is that you should only do what you feel comfortable doing online. And everybody has in varying degrees of what they feel comfortable with. I do everything on them. But even if you just leave your family with breadcrumbs as to where to look, so if you don’t feel comfortable, if you use a service I ever planned for your where you’re documenting all of this information for your family, and if you don’t feel comfortable putting in, for example, your entire bank account information, just put where you do your banking so that in the event that something happens, your family at least knows where to go look.
[00:16:30.810] – Abby Schneiderman
Yeah, but that alone will save I mean, if not hours, days of your family hunting things down. And so you don’t have to put everything into online services, but just put a few key things or help your family know where to where to start searching.
[00:16:43.500] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Or even just like the last four of your account.
[00:16:45.990] – Abby Schneiderman
Or the last four. Exactly. Whatever you feel comfortable with.
[00:16:49.050] – Hilary Erickson
And I love that because I think a lot of people are worried about plans, gets hacked, then everything goes down for them. But yeah. All right. Great information. Thank you so much for coming on. OK, guys, do it. Get in there and do it. Even if you’ve only got toddlers, get in there and do it. Do it. Thanks. Thanks, Abby!
[00:17:06.130] – Abby Schneiderman
Thank you so much. Have a great day.
[00:17:08.350] – Hilary Erickson
[00:17:09.250] – Hilary Erickson
OK, so I just popped over to ever plans. It looks like it’s seventy five dollars a year, but it looks very secure if you’re like me and you had security concerns about, you know, just having that in a binder in your home or who knows the heck what, or I always worry that, like, my house will have an issue. Flood, fire, who knows? And then I’ve lost my will and I’ve lost my trust. And yeah.
[00:17:30.130] – Hilary Erickson
So check that one out. Just get started. Last past was surprisingly easy to set up. I know the idea of having to transfer all your passwords to a password manager makes you want to crawl in a hole and die. But it really was not that hard. So just like she said, that’s your first step. And then let’s just keep going. I’m definitely going to check out her book, in case you get hit by a bus. I think we all need to do it.
[00:17:51.040] – Hilary Erickson
You guys, if you’re pregnant, if you’re single, if you’re got older kids, if you’re a grandpa, grandma, if you’re my dad. That’s right. If you’re my dad, do it. Just do it. I’m going to go do it. We can all be better than what we are right now.
[00:18:04.120] – Hilary Erickson
I loved how she said we’re not thinking about the morbid points of a car seat. Try and just shove all that out of your mind so that it’s not part of the factor. I love the idea of we’re just doing this because we’re responsible people and I love being a responsible person.
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the smiles in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review until next time.
We hope you have a tangle free day.