True Stories

Estate Planning Shouldn’t Suck: Building Your Tomorrow

by Joshua Heckathorn

The call came through on a beautiful spring afternoon in Seattle. A good friend of mine hadn’t shown up to our Sunday morning meetings, and I grew more concerned with every hour that passed. After contacting her family and asking them to check in on her, I now had her brother-in-law on the other end of the line.

We knew each other well, and as I answered the phone he simply said, “Josh, she’s gone.”

There wasn’t much else to say. There were no words. All I could do was get in the car and go to her family. I wanted to be with them. I wanted to mourn with them and help bear their heavy burden in any way I could.

The Realization of Mortality

I’ve lost many people close to me in my life, so the depth of sadness I felt at this time really wasn’t new to me. But the experience was different. This was the first time I had lost someone who was close to me in age.

At 36 years old, I still felt invincible in many ways, yet this loss in my life forced me to become more acutely aware of my own mortality. I began to think of my own spouse and children. How could I make sure they would be well taken care of if something were to happen to me? Who would be my children’s guardian? Were my finances all in order, and had I secured the right type and amount of life insurance?

I immediately set out on a personal mission to make sure my loved ones would be protected in the event of the unthinkable. And what I found out is the entire process sucks – really bad.

Why Estate Planning Sucks

The current world of estate planning is terrible from the perspective of a consumer. It’s not only an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, but it’s also depressing and inefficient.

And those aren’t the only reasons it sucks. Some others include the following:

  • How do you go about even finding the right lawyer in the first place? Get ready to pick up the phone and waste a lot of time making calls and doing interviews.
  • Estate planning has its own confusing language and legal jargon, which can make anyone’s eyelids heavy.
  • Analysis paralysis can often occur when too many confusing choices are all placed in front of you at one time.
  • Get ready to pay a lot of visits to your local notary too, which is always a riveting experience.
  • And what if things in your life change and your documents need to be updated? That’s right, you’ll be forced to go through the whole painful experience yet again.

It’s no wonder estate planning ends up on everyone’s permanent “to-do list”! Far too many people simply put these important decisions off to another day, and the result is that the vast majority of Americans have absolutely no kind of estate plan in place. In fact, according to a 2016 Gallup Poll, only 44% of Americans have a basic will.

I find that scary, and I believe we can do better. Wouldn’t it be great if we could double that number to 88% in just a few years? It’s certainly not an unfathomable goal to consider, and I believe we can do it.

Building the Tomorrow Team

I’ve known my business partner, Dave Hanley, for over a decade. This past summer, as we met for lunch and huddled around a tiny table on a street corner in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, we caught up on each other’s lives for the first time in quite a while.

Dave talked a lot about his vision for Tomorrow and the progress he and co-founder Erik Berg had already made on the product prototype. Our 45-min lunch quickly turned into over two hours as we excitedly exchanged ideas and realized we might have found the opportunity to finally work on something amazing together.

My experience building an online lead generation business for financial products, as well as time spent working in the insurance world with Zurich Financial Services, seemed like the perfect fit for what Tomorrow would need in order to grow into a successful revenue-generating business.

So by September of 2016, I had joined as a co-founder and embarked on a journey to help build Tomorrow into a company that will not only modernize the estate planning process, but will help bring economic security to millions of Americans by making the right financial products easier to use and more accessible.

Our journey building your Tomorrow has only begun. We’re now a team of seven strong and can’t wait to share everything we’ve been hard at work on! If you’d like to stay connected and receive early access to the app in 2017, drop us your email below and we’d love to stay in touch.

And, remember, Tomorrow is not a law firm, this blog was not written by a lawyer, and we do not provide legal advice. When in doubt, talk to a licensed attorney in your area.