How A Cancer Diagnosis Made Me Prioritize My Life And Legacy

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    In 2019, I had just come off maternity leave with my second child when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer.

    Receiving a cancer diagnosis can spark many different emotions and actions. Aside from being faced with my mortality, one of my biggest worries was that my husband didn’t know a lot of the key details of our lives.

    I started to panic, thinking that, as organized as I was, I hadn’t organized these important details—things like our will, insurance documents, assets, our charitable donations, and more—with him in a way that he could easily find them.

    I realized that if I were to pass away, my husband would be left with a stressful treasure hunt to find those key details during an already stressful time for my family.

    My time suddenly felt very limited and especially valuable. Between all of the doctor’s appointments, treatments and surgeries, I wanted to make the time I spent with my family as meaningful as possible. I didn’t want to be stressing over reorganizing all of my family’s important documents and details.

    I have over a decade of experience in legal, tech and startups, working with brands like Shaw and Wealthsimple, as well as other fintech, AI and blockchain companies. I've always been a problem solver; that's why I was drawn to tech.

    I knew there had to be a better way to organize my life and legacy but I wasn’t finding the product I was looking for. I wanted a platform that would not only make life easier for my family if I passed away but would also help keep my life organized today so I could focus on the things that matter most: my family and my health.

    This is where EstateBox was born.

    Life and legacy planning, simplified

    Think of EstateBox as a virtual box containing all your key details and documents. We use software and an educational, user-friendly design to make it easy, affordable and convenient to create a secure online life and legacy plan. This ensures that your loved ones have access to the information and documents (such as your will and POA documents) they’d need in an emergency or if something should happen to you.

    It can also be used by advisors and other estate planning professionals to get a better picture of their clients’ lives, allowing them to give strategic advice based on real-time data and insights. Instead of seeing just a few puzzle pieces, they see the complete picture.

    At EstateBox, our goal is to be the best life and legacy planning platform built on the principles of privacy, security and innovation. To help us reach that goal, we’ve worked with experts including estate planners, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and wealth managers to inform all aspects of the platform from the ground up.

    Like Willful, mission is to remove the barriers and shift perceptions of estate planning by making it simple, inclusive and accessible to all.

    Your life and legacy on a secure digital platform

    As a lawyer, I’ve always known how important it is to have the right legal documents (including a will, advance care directive, and power of attorney) in place before a significant life event occurs. Making sure those documents are up-to-date is just as important though. For me, having an up-to-date will helps put a lot of “what if” questions to rest in my mind. I know I’m prepared with the right legal documents in my EstateBox and that my loved ones will have access to everything they need should something happen to me.

    And EstateBox doesn’t just organize and store your legal documents – it allows you to grant your loved ones access to all of the information and important documents they might need if you become incapacited, including:  

    • Health information like medical conditions, allergies, dietary restrictions, etc
    • Insurance documents and financial information
    • Personal documents like your birth certificate, ID, passport, and more

    It’s all stored on a safe, secure platform that uses military-grade encryption and industry-leading technologies to protect your sensitive information.

    I don’t want anyone else to be spurred to action by stressful or challenging times like I was. With EstateBox, you can get ahead of the unexpected and plan your life and legacy today—so that when the unexpected happens, no matter how big or how small, you’re prepared.

    If you haven’t started planning, try breaking it down into smaller goals that don’t feel quite as insurmountable. Planning for your life and legacy can feel overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Why we call it life and legacy planning

    Until I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I hadn’t put much thought into my legacy.

    After my diagnosis, the question “How will people remember me?” kept popping into my head. End-of-life planning is important but it’s just as important to consider how your life today impacts the legacy you’ll leave behind in the future.

    Not every estate can make a large charitable donation but there are other ways you can leave a legacy, regardless of your income or economic status.

    Your words and actions are building blocks in your legacy. A tangible first step you can take to secure your legacy is to ensure that your family and loved ones are taken care of after you die.

    That doesn't necessarily mean leaving behind a large inheritance; not many of us can do that. Securing your legacy can simply mean planning and organizing your important details and documents before it's too late.

    This could include finally writing the legal will you've been putting off, planning your funeral and sharing the details with those you love, or filling out an advance care directive. Taking these steps will ensure your family and loved ones know exactly what your wishes are and lift a heavy burden during an already stressful time.

    Think of life and legacy planning as a gift to yourself and to your loved ones.

    Are you ready to plan your life and legacy?

    Facing my mortality put all these things sharply into focus. It gave me the push I needed to take the steps needed to ensure my family would be okay should something happen to me, whether that meant being temporarily hospitalized or passing away.

    If there’s one thing I learned from being diagnosed with cancer, it’s to plan when you’re well and when you have the time. When you’re in a crisis and stressed is not when you want to be making those decisions; you already have enough to worry about.

    I’m grateful my story has a happy ending. I’ve completed cancer treatments and am in remission. I hope my story can inspire you to start planning for the future and building a vibrant and lasting legacy with the life you live.

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