That's where start-ups like Everplans, co-founded by Schneiderman and Adam Seifer, come in. It's a reason why Warrene has been recommending to his advisor clients that they encourage clients to use an online vault system to store all of their pertinent information, including health-care directives, estate plans and various other documents from attorneys and accountants. He has also been conducting due diligence on Everplans.
Everplans has created a new platform for financial advisors to offer a "life after death" digital archive to clients. The platform is co-branded with the advisor's name so it can be pitched as a proprietary tool to clients.
The Everplans platform provides users with a personalized dashboard and online storage vault where they can upload copies of documents in an organized fashion. It also provides checklists for end-of-life planning and educational resources on related subjects, such as state-by-state guidelines on advance directives, probate and organ donation. The platform invites users to designate a deputy or deputies who will get full access to the account after that person dies, or at a specified time beforehand. The deputy can then access the information from any Internet-connected device.
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Massey Quick, a $3 billion registered investment advisor, has been placing more emphasis on end-of-life planning with its clients in the past few years. "As strong as we like to think we are on the investment side, the planning side is just so important from a number of perspectives, so we are working hard to put in place tools and have conversations with clients," said Joseph Belfatto, managing partner.
"I think there is a real need out there for something like this," he added. "Everyone struggles with the amount of technology and passwords and information out there. It's rare that people have everything accessible and in one place."
Everplans Professional, the version that is made available to financial advisors, estate planners and insurance agents, charges an annual subscription fee of $2,500 a year. The fee allows advisors to offer a co-branded version of the product to up to 200 clients. Group rates are negotiable for advisors who have a small client base, Schneiderman said. (The individual version of the product charges $75 annually.)
Advisors are able to track clients' completion of tasks and will soon be able to populate their clients' plans with additional documents and information. Users can choose to leave as long of a trail as thy like—from passwords and social media accounts to instructions on how to care for a pet, the location of the title deed to the car and even recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation and personal letters for loved ones.
"Everplans puts a new twist on the online vault system by wrapping workflow around it to fill in the gaps," Warrene of QuonWarrene said. "From my perspective, connecting these vault capabilities to the advisor's workflow is key in ensuring one has a clear, ready-to-go set of steps for end-of-life issues."