When Michelle Braddock’s father, a private man who didn’t share household information with family members, passed away unexpectedly in 2013, she not only grieved the loss but also struggled to tie up all the loose ends. Michelle and her husband, Jon, spent months locating and obtaining access to her father’s bank accounts, insurance policies, safe deposits, retirement and pension accounts, online profiles and other valuable data that required closure.
The frustration that went along with that process led to conversations with friends who’d lost loved ones and experienced similar challenges. With Jon’s entrepreneurial experience and Michelle’s 30-plus years in the insurance and financial services industry, the couple created My Life & Wishes — a secure, online end-of-life planning platform and digital record that eliminates many of the anxieties survivors typically experience.
My Life and Wishes uses an intuitive software created by Madison, Wis.-based digital marketing and web development agency Acumium that allows a user to record, upload and store all the information loved ones will need after his or her death. This digital roadmap, accessible only to those granted permission, provides survivors all relevant data related to the deceased’s personal and financial information.
The step-by-step process also allows for the sharing of details about end-of-life decisions and funeral preferences (burial or cremation, for example, plus type of service and even who will give the eulogy). Online passwords, and details about veterans’ benefits and pets’ futures also can be shared and stored in a My Life & Wishes account.
Additionally, copies of important documents like tax records, bank statements, insurance policies, marriage licenses, birth certificates, military service records and other data can be uploaded and stored.
Unlike wills (which primarily cover responsibilities for major assets and aren’t easily updated) or trusts (which are expensive to set up and not all that common), My Life & Wishes sorts through and organizes all aspects of a person’s life and can be updated any time.
The Braddocks created this company out of more than one personal experience. For years, Jon maintained a paper notebook with some of the records My Life & Wishes securely logs in the cloud. Fortunately, he realized before it was too late that accidents can happen, and documents and policies stored around the house can be lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged in a fire or flood.
Online records create a digital archive safe from offline incidents. By preparing these records ahead of time — even years in advance — families can take steps to alleviate at least some of the hardship and sadness associated with the passing of a loved one.
My Life & Wishes has been nominated by Acumium as one of “Madison’s Most Innovative Companies” and will compete against other companies at neXXpo 2017. Learn more.
Acumium created an inviting user interface that allows individuals to fill in details at their own pace, with prompts to help spur difficult discussions. The company also helped My Life & Wishes establish rigorous security standards to protect personal information. Only authorized users can access the data; multiple levels of encryption protect individual accounts and ongoing audits keep security up to date.
Acumium takes the time to understand at a deep level the problems their clients’ products and services aim to solve. Which is how the company’s team of technology experts can arrive at the most powerful and effective solutions.