Startup Buried in Work Seeks to Aid Families with End-Of-Life Burdens

Following his father’s death from leukemia, Buried in Work Founder and CEO Adam Zuckerman realized that families needed help.

In the wake of losing his dad, Zuckerman began to see the complexity and sheer amount of administrative work that families have to do when a loved one dies or as they near the end of life, including advance directives and estate planning, among other tasks.

To respond to these needs, Zuckerman established Buried in Work, a company that offers direct-to-consumer and business-to-business resources designed to help families navigate the gauntlet of tasks that accompany a serious illness or death. Along the way, Buried in Work developed resources like articles, card games and documents intended to help families make key decisions.


Hospice News sat down with Zuckerman to discuss how Buried in Work was founded and where the company is going.

Buried in Work
Adam Zuckerman, founder and CEO, Buried in Work

Regarding your business to business offerings, can you tell me a little bit more about what those are and the types of companies you’re reaching out to?

We’re pretty diverse in the type of materials that we have. There are companies that want to offer these as an employee benefit to help them alleviate stress and prepare them in the event something happens in their family. They could be more productive at work because their situations are less onerous.


We’re also partnering with end-of-life and senior service providers, funeral providers, insurance companies, estate sale providers, retirement from senior living communities, therapists and death doulas.

Some of them will take our content and just direct people to it. So it’s an online resource that they can link back to from their websites. Others are purchasing our products to custom brand.

Other companies are buying our products like the games that we have. For example, we’re in discussion with a hospice provider where they’re interested in their clients receiving one of our card games. So instead of family members sitting around the room waiting for the inevitable looking at their phones, here’s something that you all can use to connect with each other.

And are you working with any hospices?

We haven’t signed any contracts with them yet. We are in discussions with several. At first, hospice wasn’t our primary focus. But then it went, “Holy Cow!” They’re actually very interested, so now we’re tailoring for them.

What inspired you to create games?

I was sitting in the hospital with my dad, and he had a funny sense of humor. He liked telling stories. At that moment, we were telling stories like, “Dad, tell us one more story about you when you were a kid. Tell us one more story about Grandpa. What’s your life lesson?”

And I realized that, those are the moments that I wish I had more of with my dad. I wanted to come up with a way that can facilitate those types of conversations with people in a way that’s actually really meaningful. So we started off just creating a card game to see what would happen, and that first card game led to a second card game.

You can focus on one person. You can focus on multiple people in there and go around the circle. So there’s lots of different variations of it.

How did you develop the content for the games?

We have several people involved who developed a first draft that underwent multiple revision sessions. It’s complicated, because you also don’t want the questions to be too long. And you want them to include information across multiple categories.

So we came up with a certain number of questions per category, and discussed how they could be interpreted. Then we showed it to people from a very major hospital in the country for a review.

Then we hired a U.S.-based designer to finish up the cards, including the tiny details like different card types, thickness and feel. We ended up going with a mid-thickness, linen field matte laminate cards because they are easier for older people to hold.

Beyond the games, how are you educating people about advance care planning?

We have some templates on the website. We also have a bunch of articles that explain what they are. There’s an entire section for advanced directives, what they are and how they are different from a living will. ‘Advance directives’ can mean different things, depending on what state you’re in.

We provide information but do not act as somebody’s law firm. What we’re doing for state specific resources is partnering with attorneys and having their insight and input. Some of them have written articles for us, and if it is a legal nuanced issue, we have an attorney review it when possible.

We want to give people the information so they can either do it themselves or get educated on what they need. So when they go to a service provider, they have a better experience with that individual or company.

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