In times of crisis, organizing end-of-life documents with a workplace benefit

In times of crisis, organizing end-of-life documents with a workplace benefit

Having a secure digital space for storing important documents is becoming commonplace as our digital world expands. Ensuring proper accessibility and security is especially important in the event of someone’s passing, to make sure that people who will be affected are aware of the arrangements beforehand.

Everplans, a financial services company, offers a platform that helps employees store a wide range of end-of-life documents and information. Estate documents, legacy wishes, wills, trusts and financial accounts can be kept in one “digital file cabinet.”

“It helps employees organize, store and share their most critical information so that their families are prepared for any situation,” says Harris Scher, vice president of strategic partnerships at Everplans. “In light of COVID-19, which is just one example of a time when it’s so important to document everything that you have, and then share with those people that really need to know about what’s important.”

Scher shared some best practices for how employers can help employees and their families to prepare and plan during challenging times, and why it’s important to get things like wills, life insurance policies, healthcare documents, pet information and digital accounts are organized in one place.

Everplans has been around for almost 10 years in the financial space. How did you expand into the employee benefits space?
We organically started hearing from some of our enterprise partners that they were giving Everplans to their clients, but not to their employees. They wanted to start making Everplans available as an employee benefit, so we started developing programs to help support those types of deployments. We’re in the market today with employers, including some fairly large financial services companies and multiple Fortune 500 companies, who give Everplans out as part of the benefit package. I think we always realized that the employee benefit channel could be really interesting for us. Employers are looking to develop better engagement with their employees and offerings in the financial wellness arena, and are looking to offer tools that are unique and important to their employees and their families.

How does this work in practice when an employer wants to offer Everplans as a benefit?
Most of our partners have created it as an employer sponsored product. Our product is not something that needs to be rolled out during an open enrollment period, but becomes valuable throughout the entire year. So we work with our partners to provide co-branded landing pages that announce the benefit. We also have turnkey launch programs and virtual webinars to support the activation process for employees. We also have email campaigns to not only get employees activated, but also keep them engaged throughout the entire year.

Why is this a benefit that employers should consider offering their employees?
We’re finding that this is an opportunity for the employers to engage with employees throughout the entire year on a topic that is important, not just for the employee, but impacts the entire family. Everplans is being this tool that helps families organize, store and share all that important information, but the key part of it is that we’re helping families put a plan in place to share all that important information.

In light of COVID-19, it’s good to make sure that your entire family knows about the benefits that you’ve chosen and making sure that your family has access to all of that really critical health information and emergency contact information. It’s something as simple as your lock code for your iPhone, but it’s also things like who your doctors are, information about the medical benefits that you’ve chosen — which, in many cases, a lot of family members don’t even know about. Through our product, we’re encouraging people to get the right amount of information into the Everplan and then share with those people that really need to know about what’s important.

How does this benefit also address estate planning?
We’re not creating wills or trust documents, but we’re helping people think through and organize them in the most appropriate way. We can give employers the ability to link out to third parties, so that employees can create a will or a power of attorney. We’re helping people at their given stage of life to take the right steps to make sure that their family is well prepared.

There’s an aspect of our tool that really focuses on what we call life and legacy planning. That ties in closely to estate planning, where we’re helping families have the right types of conversations. We’re helping people think through things like “do you think about getting a trust in place? Do you have a will? If so, where can someone access that hard copy of that will?” It’s propelling families to think about whether or not they have a plan in place, and if they’ve taken the right steps and measures to make sure that their family knows where everything is.