The Old Way:

How it has been done for 100 years:

Aunt Mary dies.

There’s no will. Family members search through desks, filing cabinets, and computer hard drives but nothing is found. Bummer.

Funeral Director guides the family through options: caskets, embalming, cremation, a wake, pictures, flowers, clothes, cemetery plot, mass, transportation, burial, headstone, more flowers.

Guesses are made at what Mary might have wanted and a “normal” package is chosen: middle-priced casket, embalming (a must for the viewing), plot and headstone, pictures and clothes are chosen.

The wake occurs from 5-7pm in the funeral home’s parlor room with wooden folding chairs and the upholstery (and smell) of your grandmother’s house. Quiet behaved chit chat is practiced by all. Remarks are made about how “great” Mary looks.

Funeral mass is attended by family and some friends but others miss out because they were unaware of Mary’s death.

Processional drive to the cemetery. Somber words spoken graveside. Casket ($4,999) is lowered into the concrete vault ($999), never to be seen again. (Headstone ($1,499) is not finished and will be placed at a later date yet to be determined).

Funeral Home catering hall is rented for an after burial gathering. Pie and coffee is served. A bulletin board with pinned up photos of Aunt Mary has been placed at the entrance. Music (Debussy & Enya) plays which may or may not have been Mary’s favorite type of music.

As you leave you sign the Guest List so that Mary’s family can send you a thank you card.

You exit back into the parking lot thinking, “What did I or Mary gain from any of that?”

The New Way:

Aunt Mary doesn’t want to be a burden on her friends and family but also the thought of dealing with all of her wants and stuff is overwhelming.

Aunt Mary’s niece, Sarah introduces her to the Farewell Project.

Aunty Mary creates an account and within 5 minutes has set up her Simple Plan.

She realizes a will is imperative and uses the Simple Will feature to write and sign her own will (no printing required) for a hundred bucks. And it’s certified by Trust&Will (or Legalzoom or other).

Now Mary gets curious. She checks out what other people are planning for their bodies. She sees “Green Options” and explores the different possibilities.

She had no idea that this was even an option: to be wrapped in a simple shroud and buried in a nature preserve. That sounds lovely and way more environmentally conscious than the embalming/metal casket option she currently has chosen. She makes this change to her Simple Plan and starts thinking about how best to do her memorial/celebration. What does she really want…

But first, Aunt Mary is concerned with all of her stuff. Not that she owns tons of super valuable items but many have deep personal and family value: her heirlooms. She doesn’t want her sisters and nieces and nephews fighting over this stuff so she uses the FP App and Too Much Stuff feature to take a picture of each item and then record her voice attached to it saying who she would like for it to go to. Within an hour she’s able to knock out all the major items. Mary’s anxiety has lessened substantially.

Now it’s back to her memorial/celebration planning. She notices that a Cindy from Ohio used the Farewell Project to help her rent out a local bookstore in the evening (or restaurant space or antique store etc). That sounds good to Mary so she sets up a 15 minute FaceTime Chat session with FP to help her get this properly planned in her own neighborhood.

Her body: check. Her will: done. Her stuff: divvied up. Her memorial/celebration: decided and planned.

All that and it’s only been a couple hours of work (only Day 1!). Fantastic!

Mary decides to treat herself to a nice long walk and some ice cream.

Later in the evening Mary notices the Exit Interview option and decides that when she speaks with FP during her FaceTime Chat she will inquire more about setting up a time to conduct the interview.

And many moons later, after she’s updated and changed her farewell plans a couple dozen times…

Aunt Mary dies.

Her Farewell Project is ready for her family & friends to easily execute.