Abby Schneiderman wants people to start giving conversations about end of life issues the attention they deserve. Everplans, launched in 2012 by Schneiderman and online start-up entrepreneur Adam Seifer, provides step-by-step guides for end of life planning.
The easy-to-navigate website has guides divided into four clear sections: “Long Before Death;” “Eldercare And End Of Life;” “After A Death” and “Be There For Someone.” Schneiderman said some of the most highly trafficked pages include “Attending A Religious Funeral” and “Religious Perspectives On Religion”– Everplans would not reveal how many page views they have received. A blog provides up-to-date articles about estate planning, advance health care directives and product reviews.
The idea of a “website that could help people prepare for and deal with a death” came to Schneiderman in the spring of 2010, when she was planning her wedding, and soon after- the birth of her first child. “I was being guided through these very happy life changes with tremendous online websites and I wondered what innovative resources are there are for the ‘unhappy’ life events?” Two years later, Schneiderman’s brother died unexpectedly- a shock which provided Everplans a “sense of urgency.” The pilot website put up in 2011 was soon followed by the complete Everplans.com
“I think it’s really difficult for people to think about planning ahead for the end of life. I think some people think planning ahead may superstitiously make death happen sooner. It’s a scary topic. It’s a complicated topic,” Schneiderman said. “But we think getting organized and making sure you have a plan in place doesn’t need to be so scary. It’s just responsible. We think it is no different than buying a car seat for a new baby.”
In the coming months, Everplans will offer paying members a premium version so they can create their own Everplan– a digital folder that securely stores their end of life preferences and health and legal documents– similar to Final Roadmap’s new “digital vault.”
Most of the website will continue to be free to non-members, Schneiderman said. “We believe this information should always be totally free for people.”