Interview with Adam Zuckerman Founder of Buried In Work

One More Story Cover Image

Adam Zuckerman founded (which provides resources to simplify the burden of estate planning, end-of-life tasks, and estate transition). They have just released two card games to make the topic more approachable which attempts to gamify a topic that can be hard to bring up, let alone discuss. 

One More Story helps to capture stories about the lives of family and friends, and Nothing Left Unsaid (which is a bit more serious) serves as a conversation starter for end-of-life planning.

We caught up with them to find out a bit more about them, the project and some history about their journey so far.. 

What were the first board games that you played? 

The first board games I played were probably what you would expect for someone who grew up in the 1980’s, including UNO, Chutes and Ladders, Boggle, and Scattergories. Growing up, I also watched my parents hosting murder mystery parties and playing Trivial Pursuit with their friends. These early experiences cultivated a love for games that has evolved over time. 

Did you continue to play games as you were growing up and if so what kind of games did you play? 

More recently, I’ve enjoyed a variety of games, including some that are a bit more tongue-in-cheek, like Cards Against Humanity. Across all of these, there’s a consistent theme in what I gravitate towards: games that bring people together. I value the connections and shared experiences that board games foster.

What made you decide to set up Buried In Work? 

The decision to set up Buried In Work was deeply personal. It was inspired by my experience after my father’s prolonged battle with leukemia. During that challenging time, I realized how overwhelming and stressful it can be to manage and settle an estate without having all the necessary information and documents organized. This personal experience highlighted a significant gap in estate planning and end-of-life task management.

I wanted to create a solution that would help others avoid the same difficulties and provide a clear, comprehensive system for organizing critical estate and end-of-life information. Buried In Work was founded to simplify estate planning, making it easier for individuals and their families to navigate these tasks during emotional times. The goal is to provide not just tools for collecting information but also insights and guidance to ensure that everything is in place when it’s needed most. This way, families can focus on grieving and supporting each other rather than being overwhelmed by administrative burdens.

Based on what you’ve created, I get the impression that people spend more time planning their weekly meals than their estate. In your experience, why do you think that’s the case?

You’re absolutely right—many people do spend more time planning their weekly meals than their estate. In my experience, this happens for a few reasons:


  1. Immediate vs. Future Needs:  Estate planning is a difficult and intimidating topic for many, and as a result, one that’s easy to push off for another day. On top of that, using the analogy from the question, planning meals is an immediate need with an immediate payoff. You see the results of your planning within days, which makes it a tangible and rewarding task. Estate planning, on the other hand, is for the future. Its benefits aren’t felt until much later, often when you’re no longer around to see them.
  2. Complexity and Intimidation: Estate planning can seem complex and overwhelming. It involves legal jargon, financial considerations, and the uncomfortable topic of mortality. Many people avoid it because they feel intimidated or unsure where to start, and they think that they need to hire an attorney to get started. (Hint: You don’t need an attorney to organize your estate information.)
  3. Procrastination: There’s a natural tendency to procrastinate on tasks that seem daunting or unpleasant. People often think they have plenty of time to get around to estate planning, so they push it off until later. Unfortunately, the worst time to get started is when having end-of-life and estate plans are most needed.
  4. Lack of Awareness: Many people aren’t fully aware of the importance of estate planning or the potential complications that can arise from not having a plan in place. Without this understanding, it’s easy to prioritize more immediate concerns.

Interestingly death is something that comes up in the tabletop space a lot, but usually as a lose condition in a game. What made you decide to gamify such a tricky subject?

Gamifying estate planning wasn’t a deliberate idea from the start. Instead, the idea came from a conversation with my father when he was in the hospital where my family and I began asking him questions and encouraging him to share more stories. It struck me that these conversations were probably going to be some of the last opportunities to capture his perspective of his childhood and perspectives on life.

One More Story focuses on the life of someone, how does it work as a card game? 

One More Story is a card game designed to focus on the life and stories of an individual, turning the process of sharing memories into a meaningful and engaging activity. The game includes 126 cards across six categories, each with prompts or questions related to different aspects of life, such as childhood memories, major life events, favourite experiences, personal values, and future wishes. Players can choose to focus on one person or share stories around the room, taking turns drawing cards and responding to the prompts. The goal is not to get through all the prompts but rather to see where the conversation takes you, preserving memories and strengthening bonds between family members and friends. 

nothing left unsaid

Do people grasp the game side of One More Story, and is there an example you can give how it has helped the families who have tried it? 

Yes, people do grasp the game side of “One More Story” quite well. The format of drawing cards and responding to prompts is intuitive and familiar, making it easy for participants to engage with the game. That said, I’m surprised that people are getting the game and using it during times that I didn’t expect. We’ve had people say that they’ve used it on dates to get to know the other person better, in activity rooms at retirement communities, on road trips as something to talk about while in the car, and even as customer gifts from service professionals (such as an attorney) to their clients.

Has it changed how you view your own memories and experiences? 

Absolutely. Like most people, I probably spend too much time on my phone and not enough time connecting with friends and family. 

Nothing Left Unsaid moves on to actual estate and end of life planning. In your experience is this still something that people find difficult to discuss?  How does Nothing Left Unsaid help with that? 

Yes, discussing estate and end-of-life planning is still something that many people find difficult, but it also depends on where the person is in their life. People are unique, just like everyone else, and with that comes different levels of interest and ability to talk about something that relates to their mortality. Nothing Left Unsaid takes many of the key concepts from our Estate Preparation Package (which is a comprehensive estate and end-of-life organization system) and puts them into an easy-to-use card game format. While it won’t draft a will or a trust, it will help you get a better understanding of key items before someone passes away. For example, it helps determine if they have a will or a trust, where it is located, their views on comfort and care, and even provides definition cards for key concepts. This approach helps families have crucial conversations in a structured yet approachable way, ensuring that important details are addressed and understood.

You’ve designed games in relation to some serious subjects, do you have other designs in development that you would consider to be more light hearted? 

Yes, we’re working on a game that’s a little bit more tongue in cheek, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Thank you for your time Adam.


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