Americans just beginning to plan for their end of life care and assemble important medical and legal documents have a multitude of services vying for their business. In recent years, the number of end of life planning services has mushroomed, and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are seeking ways to capitalize on the massive baby boomer population and the shift towards electronic document storage.
One of the newest and simplest services is the LastingMatters Organizer, a planner aiming to be the hub of instruction for loved ones after death. The planner, $20 for the PDF version and $29 for the booklet, prompts users to answer a variety of questions intended to help family members honor their final wishes.
Among the dozens of questions: Who should be notified when you die? What kind of service would you like? Where are the keys to your home? Where are your passwords listed? Who should take care of your pets? Where are your bank accounts? Which family traditions would you like to pass on?
“I wanted to create something that was easy to use, comprehensive in nature and not morbid or morose,” said Barbara Sedoric, founder of LastingMatters. “None of us know when we’re going to die… This really is about helping your loved ones left behind figure out what your life was about and what you really wanted.”
She was inspired to create LastingMatters after the unexpected death of her mother in 2006.
“One morning, I got a call from my brother simply saying ‘mom’s dead.’ My own family was thrown into this chaotic scene of trying to find all the facts and information,” she said. “I liken funeral planning to planning a wedding, only you have three days to do it versus a year.”
After nearly three years of development, Sedoric said she believes her organizer is the most comprehensive option on the market, partly because of its large variety of questions. The organizer is neither a legal document nor advance health care directive. Loved ones should be informed of its existence before death, so they know where to look for it.
“It’s more of a thought provoking organizer,” she added. “It gives no legal advice… a legal document would probably override the organizer.” Sedoric said nearly one thousand LastingMatters organizers have been purchased since May 2014. She plans to create an online application to replace the PDF version that allows users to change preferences over time.
Other notable end of life planning services include Everplans, Final Roadmap, Estate Assist and Five Wishes.