When a loved one dies, there’s suddenly a long to-do list to slog through: You have to make the funeral arrangements, probate the will, cancel services like cable and internet—all under the heavy cloak of grief. Death, though inevitable, can be complicated (and unexpected), and settling an estate can take up to 18 months, with lots of paperwork, calls, and questions—often with little help or support. A new company called Empathy aims to guide people through those logistics, and also provide emotional support for their loss.
“Grief is made hard by logistics, and logistics are made even harder by grief,” says CEO Ron Gura, who cofounded the company with Yonatan Bergman. (Gura and Bergman previously worked for WeWork, and first worked together at the Gifts Project, which was acquired by eBay.) Now available in the U.S. on IOS and Android, Empathy serves as a digital companion for those dealing with a loss—part “Headspace for grief” and part “TurboTax for estate settlement,” Gura says.
The app starts by asking users questions such as their location, because states have varying probate laws, and religion, in case there are traditional arrangements that the app needs to be aware of. Then, it guides them down different paths from “Immediate Arrangements” to “Searching for Documents” to “Bills and Debt.” Throughout the estate-managing process, it can feel like you need to become an expert on all different laws and procedures. “You read about the rules in Florida and the rules in New York; what to do with five kids, what to do with one; with a will, without a will. We want to take that clutter away and only show you what is relevant to you,” Gura says.