Updated: Nov 10
EstateBox founder and CEO Anjali Inman explains why she believes a modern approach to estate planning is long overdue.
EstateBoxfounder and CEO Anjali Inman is a mom, entrepreneur, lawyer, and breast cancer survivor. She’s on a mission to transform estate planning into life and legacy planning.
Last year, Anjali shared how her breast cancer diagnosis led her to found EstateBox.
We sat down with her to learn more about life and legacy planning, the hardest part of making a will, and her advice for those of us who are new to planning for the future.
EstateBox often uses the term “life and legacy planning” when talking about estate planning. What’s the difference between estate planning and life and legacy planning?
I like to use the term life and legacy planning because to me, there’s so much more to an estate plan than just what happens after you die. A lot of people, especially younger folks, often put off making an estate plan because they think it’s something they won’t need for a very long time. There’s so much more to an estate plan than just figuring out what happens to your stuff after you die though; it’s about being prepared for whatever life throws your way.
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, that’s not when you want to be making those decisions; you already have enough to worry about.
You previously talked about how your breast cancer diagnosis played a big part in starting EstateBox. What else did you learn from that experience?
Up until the point I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into what my legacy would be but it’s something I’m a lot more conscious of now.
The question of “how would people remember me?” kept popping into my head after I was diagnosed. I think there’s a lot of emphasis on end-of-life planning, rightly so, but it’s also important to think of how your life today impacts the legacy you’ll leave behind in the future.
Not everyone’s estate can make a large charitable donation but there’s so many ways you can leave a legacy, no matter what your income is. It might sound cliché but your words and actions are building blocks in your legacy. Facing my mortality put these things sharply into focus.
Were you involved with estate planning at all before starting EstateBox?
As a lawyer, I’ve always known how important estate planning is in order to protect yourself and those you love. Having the legal documents in place and making sure they’re up-to-date are equally important.
My partner and I did our wills when we bought a house together, redid them when we had kids, and then redid them when we moved.
Was there anything that was hard to think about when creating your will?
Two things come to mind: guardianship and money. With guardianship, it’s really hard as a parent to imagine yourself not being there, and even harder to imagine your children in the care of someone else if you and your partner aren’t there. It’s a huge emotional challenge to think about how you would want them raised.
When it comes to money, my kids are young and we’ve got insurance coverage and some assets. It’s really hard to wrap your head around how that would be handled by a child or young adult. If someone had given me a massive chunk of money as a teenager, I think I may have taken a different path. Is that ok, or is it not?
These are the big questions that drafting your will raises for many and can be quite intimidating to think about.
How did you feel after you completed your will?
I love checking things off my to-do list so getting our wills made and updated felt great. I don’t like when there’s unresolved things looming over me and as hard as it was to think about things like guardianship for my children, I felt very relieved to have all of that looked after.
Having an up-to-date will helps put a lot of “what if” questions to rest for me. I know I’m prepared with those documents in my EstateBox and that my loved ones will have access to whatever they need should something happen to me.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people who haven't done any life and legacy planning?
The main piece of advice I would give is don’t feel like you need to do it all at once. Planning for your life and legacy can feel overwhelming at first but try breaking it down into smaller goals that don’t feel quite as insurmountable.
I would also encourage people not to put it off as I know from experience how unexpected life can be. If your goal is to be able to make a financial impact with a charity or for those you love, that can take decades to prepare for so it’s best not to put off planning.
You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow so it’s best to be prepared today.
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While we’re passionate about all things estate planning, we’re not professionals. We recommend speaking with your lawyer or financial advisor when putting together an estate plan.