Savvy estate-planning lawyers help their clients prepare for every contingency that may arise after they leave this life. This week brought announcements of two new Web sites, each aimed at simplifying the process of settling a decedent’s affairs, even when no estate planning was done.

The first, eDivvyup, is an online auction site specifically designed to help surviving family members divide and distribute the deceased’s personal property. While similar in concept and features to eBay, an eDivvyup auction is kept private, restricted to family members and invited participants. The decedent’s property is listed and described and then sold to the person who places the highest bid within the time set for the auction. From the site:

“eDivvyup provides families with a vehicle to identify those most prized possessions that are desired by the children and a platform where each family member can equally bid on coveted items. What was once a great source of tension can now be a source of healthy interaction as family members witness and participate in the bidding process.”

The cost is $49.99 to auction up to 50 items and then 99 cents for each additional item. What the site leaves unanswered is how the proceeds get divvied up after the property is divvied up.

The other new site aimed at those on their way out is It offers a way to leave critical financial and personal information to heirs without having to give it to them while you are still around. This could include passwords, information about assets and financial accounts, and other personal data. It could also be used to store copies of wills and trusts, to leave recorded messages or videos, or to provide instructions.

The way it works sounds simple. After creating an account, you specify the heirs or recipients, upload the encrypted files intended for each, and then notify each heir of the location of the files and the password. When you die, they contact, it verifies your death through a death certificate, and releases the files.

The cost to use is based on an annual subscription of $29.95 — so the sooner you say goodbye, the less you will pay. There is also an option for a free account if you agree to pass the costs on to your heirs.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.