iBequeathIt Launches, Offers Family-Fun Online Alternative to Estate Planning

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The iBequeathIt website has officially launched and provides an interactive, family-friendly alternative to traditional estate planning, inheritance and asset distribution.

iBequeathIt logo

iBequeathIt logo

The website replaces the stresses commonly associated with the traditional estate planning process with four simple steps.

Following a limited beta release in mid-2015, iBequeathIt has officially launched and is offering free trials for new users. The website replaces the stresses commonly associated with the traditional estate planning process with four simple steps. Estate owners create an estate, add possessions, invite heirs to express their interest in items and then earmark items for interested heirs. Founder Tom Zschiesche created the site to give people a fun way to bequeath belongings to family members and ensure the ones they love most get the things they love most.

The site was designed to be easy for people of all ages to use. To get started, new users need only provide their name and email address and then create a username and password. Creating an estate is a straightforward process. Estate owners add items one-by-one and can add photos, personal stories, monetary and sentimental values and the physical location of items. There is no limit to the number of items that can be added.

The next step is to invite heirs. Estate owners simply provide a name and email address for their heirs, and then the site sends invitation emails. After creating a free account, heirs participate by expressing interest in the items they wish to inherit and sharing their memories and stories about them, which they can do using a smartphone to take pictures and add audio or video.

The final step is matching items to heirs. Whenever they’re ready, the estate owner chooses from among the heirs that have expressed interest in an item and clicks to bequeath it to them. An executor selected from the participating heirs will later ensure the estate owner’s wishes are honored.

Zschiesche thinks the story-telling component of the site offers the greatest reward, both for estate owners and their heirs.

“Part of our testing involved creating a real estate with real possessions and inviting my family to become heirs,” said Zschiesche. “I was surprised by which items generated the most interest and on several occasions where I had no idea a particular item meant so much to someone. I relived some special memories through the stories my family shared, learned quite a few new things and came to understand the true value of my possessions in a profound way.”

Zschiesche was determined to find an estate planning alternative after experiencing losses in his family.

“In 1995, I watched as my father and his siblings tried to split up personal belongings from my grandmother's estate. She lived in a rented apartment before she passed, so they were pressured to vacate it quickly. Under the circumstances, it was difficult to decide what items were most meaningful to them and what to keep, versus what to throw out. Their struggle to find a fair arrangement resulted in ill will between them that could have been avoided had my grandmother earmarked items for them beforehand.”

Zschiesche suspects that many can relate to his experience, and he noted many of the same issues after his mother passed away in 2008.

“When Mom died, I watched as Dad once again agonized over how to parcel items fairly, this time among his five children,” Zschiesche said. “He tried his best but, in several instances, gave us items we didn't care about or gave items to one sibling not knowing others were equally interested. In the end, it didn’t really leave anyone feeling satisfied or that they had been treated fairly.”

Zschiesche created iBequeathIt with his father very much in mind. His family is now scattered all across the country, and get-togethers are rare and mostly take place around holidays when the atmosphere is festive and the time too precious to discuss serious matters like the loss of an aging parent. He sought to make sure he and his siblings could avoid the tension that grew between his aunts and uncles years ago.

“I had three major goals,” continued Zschiesche. “I wanted to capture stories about my dad’s things in his own words and to have a lasting account of what made them interesting to him, including their origins and travels. I wanted to create an interactive mechanism that didn't rely on all of us being together to figure out who wanted what. And I wanted dad to be able to see who was interested in a particular item and ‘mark’ it for them while he's still around to decide when two or more siblings want the same thing.”

Although intended primarily as an estate planning tool, Zschiesche says there are other applications for the iBequeathIt platform, too. He envisions users creating home inventories for insurance, documenting items being merged into a marriage, or even cataloging wedding gifts. One user already used the site to divvy up the trinkets in his office cubicle among his coworkers before he left for a position at another company. Zschiesche looks forward to seeing all the unique ways people find to use his creation.

iBequeathIt is not a substitute for a legal will in estate planning. The site offers free 14-day trials for new estate-owner users. Heirs never have to pay to use the site, but estate owners must pay a small, one-time fee to keep their estate open in perpetuity. They can also purchase additional, discounted credits that can be gifted to heirs or friends, so that they can create their own estates. General information about iBequeathIt is available at http://www.ibequeathit.com.

About iBequeathIt:
Estate owners use iBequeathIt to make sure the ones they love most get the things they love most. On the iBequeathIt website, users create estates, upload items and then invite heirs to identify items they wish to inherit. By bringing loved ones together and inspiring engagement around family history and the true ‘value’ of items, iBequeathIt makes the estate planning process more enjoyable, interactive and rewarding for all.

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Tom Zschiesche, Founder
+1 512-692-9173
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since: 06/2014
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