To Our Members and Families:
October is shaping up to be an exciting month here at Trust & Will!
Not only are we celebrating our fifth consecutive year in business, later this month we will highlight National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 17th - 23rd, 2022.)
But that’s not even the most exciting part…
Establishing five successful years is no easy feat for a startup, especially during one of the most turbulent times this nation has experienced in recent history. I’m so proud of how we’ve navigated our early stages with grace, especially in the face of a global pandemic.
With this monumental mile marker at Trust & Will, I can’t help but reflect back on how we started five years ago and what this company could look like five years from now.
How it all started…
Five years ago, Daniel, Brian, and I (the co-founders) were in the very beginning stages of bringing a concept to market. Every startup founder knows what this time is like. You’re paying yourself nothing, and you’re doing anything and everything that it takes to make sure that you and your business survive. You often lay awake at night, thinking: is this even going to work?
All we knew was that we wanted Trust & Will to be likened to the “TurboTax of Estate Planning.” We wanted to become the default option for consumers and providers alike for all things estate planning. With every pitch deck, investor, and founding team member, we manifested what is already becoming reality today.
Five years ago, we had a small inaugural team, sitting in a single room at a coworking space. We even had most departments consisting of just one employee.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight how the pandemic impacted our journey these past five years. Of course, the global pandemic came to our complete dismay. However, it also surprised us in many ways.
For starters, Daniel, Brian and I all became new fathers within a few months of one another. This happened right when the pandemic hit and we had to quickly transition from an in-office to virtual company. As leaders, fatherhood made us even more empathetic than before. It asked of us to be intentional and to lead with our hearts.
How do we continue to have success as a company?
How will employees feel supported and genuinely want to be here?
These were questions that we were invited to answer, and I think the proof is in the pudding that we’re doing what we set out to do in these areas.
The pandemic also changed the ways we had to think as a business. Navigating the logistics of death is already a difficult challenge. If you didn’t already experience it yourself, perhaps you can imagine how hard it was for families to plan their estate plans. Sadly, in some cases — funerals amid lockdowns. It was literally every week that I received a message from my personal list of contacts about a family circumstance regarding estate planning, such as a birth, home purchase, or an unfortunate death in the family. It felt so good to be able to provide the resources to support not just people I know, but anyone in need during these difficult times.
How it’s going…
A company is only as good as its people, and this is an area in which I feel particularly blessed. Earlier, I mentioned how we had teams of one. Today, these teams have grown exponentially and have developed leaders of their own. Transforming from an in-office to a virtual company also enabled us to hire amazing talent from all corners of the country.
In the years to come, Trust & Will has the potential to become a large entity. I’m laser-focused on keeping the human spirit — which makes our company thrive — alive.
In January of 2019, Trust & Will delivered the nation’s first-ever electronic Will. Here’s the backstory on how this came to fruition. Pat Kinsel, Founder & CEO of Notarize and I follow each other on Twitter. In true millennial fashion, we slid into each other’s DMs (direct messages) and geeked out on regulatory talk. One thing led to another, and together we created and executed the first e-Will in U.S. history.
Here are some more of our recent accomplishments:
Have over 400k+ members who have started their estate plan with us
Raised $33 Million in venture capital to date with the goal of bringing estate planning to every American family
We were named one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces in the nation, 2 years in a row
Created partnerships with companies such as Fifth Third Bank, Haven Life Insurance, Acorns, John Hancock, and many more
We acquired our first company, EZ-Probate, and integrated them into our business so that we could expand our mission and offer affordable probate services
Offered countless discounted estate plans to frontline workers, teachers, military members/veterans, and families in need
Where we’re headed…
Growth is welcome, but along with growth comes changes. As I mentioned earlier, our key vision is to keep our human spirit alive. We hope that no matter how big we get as a company, that our team continues experiencing growth and success within the company.
This is true for our team, and this is also true for how we provide service to the public. That I can still be personally available to help someone when they reach out to me. That when a customer decides to use Trust & Will, that they feel supported throughout their process and that they can get in touch with a human being.
Trust & Will’s mission is to help as many families as possible leave a legacy. We’ve focused on supporting and educating people on why estate planning matters, even if you don’t necessarily use Trust & Will’s platform.
We’ve also spent years educating the public on how challenging the probate process is. Death is one of the hardest truths in life. At some point in time, someone you love will pass away. This is the sad and uncomfortable truth that we have to deal with. Post-death logistics can be messy, complicated, and expensive (not to mention stressful), so much so that they can deter families from focusing on the grieving process.
The launch of Probate, our latest product, is going to take Trust & Will to the next level. With this expansion of services, our customers will have a more seamless and comprehensive transition between end-of-life planning and post-death planning. They will be informed, supported, and empowered through the probate process such that they can focus on the grieving process.
Not only will Trust & Will members be equipped with estate plans, they’ll also be prepared and ready for the probate process. When you’re grieving, you don’t move on, you move forward. Our vision with Probate is to help families move forward, faster. That way, they can get back to what’s important: honoring and celebrating the memory of their loved ones.
As always, I want to communicate my heartfelt gratitude for all of those who have supported Trust & Will over these past few years. Reflecting on our first five years, and ideating on what could happen in the next five fills me with more energy and joy than ever before. Could we see Trust & Will go public? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Cody Barbo - Co-Founder & CEO @ Trust & Will