Best online end-of-life planning and document services
The multitude of documents required to create an end-of-life plan can feel overwhelming. For health care, there are medical directives including living wills, durable powers of attorney, and POLST documents. There are powers of attorney for financial accounts, wills, trusts, and life insurance policies. Don’t forget instructions for your pets.
There are several websites that help streamline end-of-life planning by providing checklists, education, and document storage. All the documents your family needs to honor your wishes and settle your affairs can be kept in one secure online location, providing that you then make sure to assign permissions to family members to access the accounts.
Everplans is a comprehensive online product for creating, organizing, and storing your end-of-life plan. The Everplans tool identify gaps in your end-of-life plan, then provide resources to fill those gaps. Answering a simple questionnaire allows the program to create your Everplans checklist, which becomes your guide for completing the plan. Items you have already completed can be uploaded into your Everplans for storage. For incomplete items, the system guides you through completing and uploading them.
Your Everplans account is broken down into five subject areas: personal information, eldercare information, health care information, financial and legal documents, and death and burial wishes. When you are ready to share your plan with loved ones, you have the ability to assign viewing permissions on a topic specific basis. People will only be able to see the items you want them to see. Everplans offers a robust selection of additional educational resources.
- Cost: $75 per year, which includes 5gb of online document storage space
- Good for: people with complicated situations looking for lots of guidance.
My Life and Wishes
My Life and Wishes is an online planning site that allows you to open an account as an individual or as a married couple. The site provides you with a checklist to follow and divides your plan into five areas: financial information, health care information, estate planning information, funeral information, and personal data and assets information. When assigning viewing permissions, the site breaks the five categories down into smaller sub categories, allowing you to assign permissions on a more granular level. The site offers educational articles, lists of subject specific resources, and lists of national and state resources as part of their support services.
- Cost: $7.95 a month or a yearly fee of $79, includes unlimited document storage
- Good for: people who want to make granular choices about viewing preferences or have a lot of documents to upload.
Cake is an online document storage and end-of-life planning platform focused on helping people discover their end-of-life preferences. Your answers to an online questionnaire will populate your Cake profile, which stores your preferences for several key end-of-life areas. Your preferences are used to automatically populate estate planning documents. You can save these documents generated by the Cake site or upload your own. Your Cake profile and stored documents can be shared with loved ones.
- Cost: Cake is free as of this writing.
- Good for: people with uncomplicated situations who have not thought much about their end-of-life preferences.
By Andrea Keatts, CFA
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