We’re not attorneys; not doctors; not grief counselors. We are people who have started and managed businesses, raised families and nurtured friends. We became caretakers for our aging parents, and then acted as executors of their estates.
In dealing with the incapacity of family members and, later, their deaths, we discovered laws we didn’t understand or even know about that governed how we managed their financial affairs.
We found it hard to believe that educated people like ourselves did not understand the paperwork or the legal and financial aspects of dying.
We realized that no one teaches someone how to die smart in school. Or explain why a lack of knowing or doing means someone pays later.
We discovered that dying is not just an emotional event in life, but a major financial one as well. An event where “dying dumb” can cost 4 to 8% of your net worth and, if long term care is involved, perhaps all of your net worth.
We discovered a lack of quality information and resources to help someone plan for or manage the paperwork and legal procedures associated with incapacity and death.
That’s why we created Die$mart. A place to visit when you have questions or need help in understanding the rules and laws that manage our life in the case of death or incapacity. And a place to go to find out what to do before you need help.
- Kathy Lane
- Christine Hughes
- Mike Barbarino
- Robin Driscoll
- William Lane
- Minnie Scott
- Minna Vallentine
Ms. Lane has over 30 years in high technology, acting as a founder or key member of the management team in eleven startups. During her career, Ms. Lane has been a speaker at many computer industry events around the world and a guest on radio and television shows. She continues to be an angel investor and advisor to startups. Ms. Lane served as Vice President of Dataquest, a market research firm, providing expertise and advice regarding the personal computer software industry to personal computer software companies, venture capatalists and Wall Street analysts. Kathy was also the CEO of Softview, the makers of MacInTax. As CEO, she led the acquisition of Softview to ChipSoft. At ChipSoft, Ms. Lane service as President, TurboTax Professional Tax Division and was a member of the management team involved in the ChipSoft initial public offering. She was a co-founder of WorkCard Inc., helping to raise $10 million of venture capital. WorkCard created electronic collaborative workspaces, connecting Forture 1000 companies with staff companies and temporary workers. Ms. Lane’s latest business is diesmart.com. Using her background in information workflow, market research and taxes, diesmart.com provides products and resources to help individuals deal with the last stages of life. Ms. Lane is the author of a new book “Die$mart”.
Ms. Hughes has spent over 25 years in executive strategic marketing positions including Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing Worldwide for Xerox U.S. Operations and Vice President, Gartner Group, a leader in market research. Over the past 12 years Ms. Hughes has been active in non profits in the areas of public policy, education and the arts. She serves as a founding trustee of the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, a director of the Pacific Research Institute, a free market think tank on policy solutions, Vice Chair of Public Technology Institute – a best practices solutions resource for local governments and municipalities in Washington, DC. Ms. Hughes was a Presidential Appointee to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is a White House appointee to the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Subcommittee on Naval History. She also was a development consultant to the U.S. Ambassador the the U.S. Pavillion, World Expo Aichi, Japan in 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco College for Women in English and Journalism.
Mr. Driscoll has over 30 years of sales and marketing, general management and company-building experience. Currently, Mr. Driscoll is President of the Driscoll Family Foundation and an executive management advisor to diesmart.com, Bay Brokerage Company – a leading food brokerage in Northern California, KeenHire.com – a talent management service and products provider and VipePower.com – a video sales application. Previously, he was CEO of oDesk – a global staffing technology startup, CEO/Co-Founder of WorkCard Inc. – a company that created electronic collaborative workspaces, connecting Forture 1000 companies with staff companies and temporary workers, Vice President of Accustaff, Western Region (a $2.2 billion international staffing company), President of Perma Temp Agency ($30 million Silicon Valley staffing company sold to Accustaff in 1995), Sales and Marketing Manager of Schlage Electronics (division of Schlage Lock) and Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Datura International (CATV and Electronic Security Mfg.). Mr. Driscoll is a member of the Silicon Valley Band of Angels and a Trustee at St. Mary’s College of California. He is a Business Management graduate of St. Mary’s College and a past director of various organizations including Essential Solution, Inc., YourSafety.com, Vertia.com, Autotown.com and Broadware Technologies (acquired by Cisco).
Ms. Scott has been in the business world for 40 plus years, beginning with McCann Erickson in Los Angeles, where she worked scheduling television, radio and print media. She later joined Leslie Wallwork, Media Director at McCann Erickson, in a startup of his own company. From there, she became involved in another start up company, Norton & Associates which became the largest foodservice agency in the country. During her 17 years there, she served as Vice President and General Manager, handling dozens of foodservice accounts. Ms. Scott participated in all levels of sales and marketing channels specializing in creative development, promotions and new product launches. As a leader in the multi-billion dollar foodservice industry, she belonged to and worked with organizations, publications and editors to help create new and innovative approaches to advertising. Ms. Scott’s latest business venture is her own company, CMS (Custom Marketing Services and Christian Ministry Services). CMS provides the implementation and management arm for its clients as well as customized tracking software, website development, online stores and customized communication tools for sales and marketing.
Ms. Vallentine has over 30 years experience working in a variety of industries. During her career, she has worked in the advertising industry with stints at J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson Worldwide. She worked in both the media and account service departments and was involved in such accounts as Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, Scott Paper Company, Century 21 and Burger King. As Vice President and Management Supervisor, she handled the $100 million Coca-Cola Enterprises account. She was Senior Vice President of Marketing for AdWare Systems (now a part of MediaBank LLC), a company that developed software modules for the advertising industry. Ms. Vallentine served as Director, IBM Alliance for Ariba where she renegotiated the alliance agreement between the two companies. For the last five years she has been a credentialed teacher in Silicon Valley, teaching workplace literacy, computer skills and English as a Second Language classes. Summer of 2008, she taught English to 85 high school students near Zhuhai, China. She currently works part time teaching English to adults at the Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult School and is a consultant to diesmart.com. She is a co-author of three new books, “Last Dance and Final Wishes”, “Grave Robbers” and “Life after Death”, which will all soon be available from diesmart.com. Ms. Vallentine is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Social Science.
DieSmart is a subsidiary of nFormed, LLC and is located in Half Moon Bay, California.