S.A. Widow Creates New Business to Help Survivors Navigate Death

Funeral Homes Prepare For Business Boom

They say that nothing is inevitable except for death and taxes.  Many Americans hire somebody to do their taxes, and now a San Antonio entrepreneur has created a company to help out with the death part, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Esther Pipoly says her company, called LOLA, for "Loss of Life Advocates' will provide 'concierge services' for family members who find themselves facing a whole litany of challenges they have no experience in navigating, at the very time when they themselves are the most vulnerable due to grief.

She says she got the idea when her husband, prominent San Antonio trial lawyer Carl Pipoly, died in 2014.

"We had our careers that we had on our own," she recalls.  "But the minute he passed away, I learned quickly that I did not know enough about the workings, the ins and outs, and shutting down his business was the thing that caused the most grief and heartache for me."

She says unlike previous generations, when people frequently had extended families living nearby, people today generally are super busy with careers, and Gen X'ers are having fewer children when means there are fewer people to help in times of crisis.

Also, she says society has gotten so complicated, that even spouses have no real idea what the spouse who has passed on did, and what responsibilities they leave behind.

"After you get through the funeral and the service, you kind of fall off a cliff."

Among the services LOLA provides are things as simple as how to get a death certificate, how to deal with insurance companies, what to do if the deceased had outstanding debts or taxes due.  They also include something that is truly new--how to shut down the dead person's social media accounts.

Pipoly says one of the things that prompted her to start this business was getting 'memories' from social media about her husband.

"Part of the process of grieving and moving on is to take somebody's Facebook account down, or taking somebody's LinkedIn account down."

Since parents, children, and spouses seldom have the requisite passwords, this has become an important, and complicated chore.

She says LOLA also does things a lot of people don't think about, but are critical, like how to find homes for the deceased person's pets.

She says LOLA will also deal with company HR divisions, in these days of concerns about data hacking, frequently corporations won't provide needed information, like 401(k) accounts, easily.

"Having a guide to work with employers that isn't from corporate HR is important because there are some personal things that an employee might not want to share with employers," she said.  "We can help employees walk through the process, which benefits the corporation as a whole."

Pipoly says her new business is a perfect example of turning a loss into something that will benefit others.

"When you are in a vulnerable position, people can take advantage of you, especially on the business side," she said.  "I didn't want anyone else to go through what I went through, so I created LOLA to serve as a flashlight for people going down this dark tunnel."

And, she says since everyone will die, it is business that has a universal need which will never go away.

PHOTO: Getty Images

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