I got married in June of 2012 and the day we returned from our honeymoon, my Mom told us that her cancer had returned. She had been battling the disease for over 15 years. The plans my wife and I had envisioned for our first year of marriage were put on indefinite hold; we needed to be there for the woman who sacrificed so much for our family. Watching someone go through cancer is tough. It’s tougher when that person is your best friend and confidant. We tried everything we could but sadly she passed away in September of 2013. We were heartbroken. In December of that same year, we lost my Grandma the matriarch of the entire family. But as they say, bad news travels in threes. My Dad, who had a string of health related problems, was not coping well with all this loss. He was in continuous decline and in July of 2016 he passed away as well.
My brother and I lost both parents in less than three years. With the passing of my Dad there was the natural feeling of loss and sadness but something new was added to the equation; his estate. In the midst of all this we had to figure out what to do with his assets, debts, and something called probate. We were thrown into the world of estate planning without any education or guidance.
The first step we took in the process was to find a good lawyer; someone we could trust but more importantly someone who could serve as our guide through this uncharted terrain. The second step was to organize my Dad’s estate; we were fortunate that he was very organized when it came to paperwork. His organization helped us immensely as we were able to probate and finalize the estate in less than a year. After all we had been through, my brother and I just wanted to be done with the idea of death.
I regularly reflect on what happened and how lucky we were that he was organized. That’s not the case in most instances. In fact, well over the vast majority of Canadians have not shared any vital estate information with their families or loved ones. This can cause a lot of confusion and complication, during what is already a very difficult time. I wanted to help others who were dealing with loss and grief, but I didn’t know how.
The answer appeared in December 2019. Jessie Vaid, having been a Notary Public in BC for over 15 years, helped thousands of families create various legal documents; including estate planning. He saw first hand all of the problems that exist in the estate planning process – lack of planning, education, and accessibility. He had the early sparks of an idea, and I knew immediately that I needed to be a part of it. Together, we started building what ReadyWhen would become today; simple, secure, and fast digital Estate planning.
We moved swiftly to create the business model, validate, iterate, and then ultimately build the prototype. As soon as we both saw what we had, we knew we were on to something special. Then COVID-19 hit in early 2020. The world changed. We knew this product was more relevant than ever and we both decided that in order for this to be successful, we had to make a leap. That meant going full time on a start-up during a pandemic.
As I talked things over with my wife, I knew I figured out a way to help others. That was always my goal; to be a part of a business that makes a difference. As we started to dive deeper into ReadyWhen and discovered what it could be, we saw how it could have applications across the finance, accounting, and insurance verticals. We saw the wave and I am glad we jumped on it before it crested. I spoke with my boss at the job I held at the time, and he was okay with me exiting the company (win/win). With that I was all in.
It’s been about a year and the ride has been exhilarating so far. There are moments when I think to myself, “what the hell did I do?” but for the most part it’s been rewarding and an honour to build something that people can trust and use to protect their legacy and family. Our intention is to provide guidance, direction and light in a time when there is just a great deal of pain and darkness. We hope that as people become aware about ReadyWhen, that they start to act proactively, so that their loved are protected if the inevitable happens.