My name is Davide Pisanu, the CEO of ClearEstate, a tech company that is trying to make estate planning, estate settlement, and wills affordable and transparent for the average person.

I am best known for being SVP at Cirque du Soleil and being CEO of the Blue Man Group.

I will answer any questions about my career, ClearEstate, Estate Planning, Estate Settlement, Probate or Wills.

Talking about death, or selecting a family member as an executor can be difficult. I will answer any questions you have on how to bring up this topic or things you should know before planning your estate or will.

Proof: Here's my proof!

Comments: 258 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

the_drew196 karma

Did you ever blue yourself, or was someone else always involved?

myclearestate163 karma

A Blue Man never tells ...

martusfine155 karma

TIL “The Blue Man Group” had and has a CEO. What was that like?

myclearestate140 karma

It was amazing. Such a group of passionate individuals running one of the biggest live entertainment brands in the world. It was a unique experience.

partyinplatypus92 karma

I thought it was going to be some cheesy crap when I went to see it in 2014 in NYC, but it was one of the most genuinely enjoyable live performances I've seen.

Idk if someone can watch a BMG performance and not have a shit eating grin by the end of it.

myclearestate40 karma

I know the feeling!

martusfine23 karma

Any stories that you could share in the AMA?

myclearestate124 karma

The best time I had was when I brought my daughters to see BMG in NYC at the Astor - one of the Blue Man at the end broke character for my daughter (he said "hi!") - and she freaked out - he speaks!!!!! It was awesome!

EvilBrennan77 karma

My father in law suffers from dementia and may or may not have written a second will to leave stuff to his abusive and exploitative girlfriend. How do we find out if he did?

myclearestate88 karma

If your jurisdiction has a will registry I would start there, and if he drafted the will with a lawyer, thats also a good place to start.

myboypt47 karma

What made you change from entertainment to estate management/planning?

myclearestate52 karma

I met with Alex one of our co-founders and his experience as an estate executor and his vision for the product really convinced me that there was an opportunity to launch a company doing something special for families.

zshad80837 karma

What is the biggest mistake most people make when creating a will?

myclearestate76 karma

I think one of the biggest mistakes is drafting a will that departs too much from what the laws of your province/state would allow. Litigation is often driven by this.

06EXTN29 karma

We are just starting the estate planning process for my 72yo fairly healthy mother. She doesn't have much except a paid off house and a small retirement acct. I'm mainly concerned about protecting the house from medicare/nursing home if it ever comes to that. I've seen conflicting numbers as far as years it has to be in the estate, can you clarify? I've seen 5,7 and 10 years all thrown around.

myclearestate20 karma

If you’re referring to Medicaid’s ability to recover the expenses from the estate, this may vary from state to state. Best to seek guidance in your jurisdiction. We can do this through the estate planning process if we support your state.

RobMV0321 karma

What should my wife know about her parents' will and estate plans? They have significant assets and as far as I know, she literally doesn't know anything about any of their plans.

myclearestate40 karma

Thats an issue. 75% of executors have never discussed the affairs of the deceased prior to death. It creates a lot of stress, delays and work for the executor. Having a conversation around this pre-death is very important.

RobMV036 karma

Thanks. That's what I'm concerned about. She doesn't know anything and I know the stress and problems that's going to cause. Any tips on how to start that conversation? I'm completely fine talking about death and dying - it's gonna happen to ask of us one day - but all three of them are very wary to talk about it as though talking about it will somehow bring about death or somehow be a curse.

myclearestate12 karma

I think the conversation starts with the harshness of the experience of being an executor. Nobody wants that for their loved ones. And it's probably not one conversation but many.

RobMV033 karma

Thanks so much. Really appreciate the advice. Also, one of our first "real" dates was going to a Blue Man show! So, thanks for that too!

myclearestate3 karma


Fritzyfriday113 karma

Why blue?

myclearestate45 karma

Only Chris, Phil and Matt know that ... (Original Blue Man).

Firm_Entrepreneur_3612 karma

How are your double strokes?

myclearestate13 karma

Not too good on the drums, im a guitar player.

WCAttorney8 karma

Do you have a law degree?

Are you a practicing estate attorney?

Are you a certified specialist in trusts and estates?

How about those creating this software, are they legally trained?

Is there malpractice insurance for the heirs to claim against if the documents are prepared incorrectly?

Frankly, this just looks like another way to capitalize on the baby boomer generation without actually providing real value.

myclearestate0 karma


I do not currently practice law, although I am a member of the NY Bar.

Our software is reviewed by licensed practitioners in every jurisdiction in which we support families.

We employ certified trust officers, wills and estates lawyers as well as accountants specialized in estate taxes and accounting. We also have a network of outside counsel when advice is required, and we make sure they are up to date with their insurance. We also carry our own insurance.

We do not focus on wills generation, although we do have a will generator in Canada and soon in the US. We focus on estate administration and holistic estate planning.

Our clients would disagree with your view that we do not provide value. Im happy to have a conversation with you about how we could partner together.

WCAttorney0 karma

Sorry, not convinced.

C’mon - having “your own insurance” is not the same as having a licensed attorney with malpractice insurance and you know that.

Malpractice insurance for estate planning is one of the highest costs and is regulated by State Bar associations.

The reality is people using your software will have absolutely no recourse and cannot sue for malpractice.

You may employ all of these people to create a cookie cutter software program, but these employees are not speaking to the general public, who are going to use this program.

myclearestate5 karma

Happy to take this offline and you should contact us. But you are focusing on wills. Our focus is estate administration and trustee services. We retain actual lawyers for anything more complex than a simple will.

WCAttorney1 karma

Take this off-line? You posted this AMA. Not trying to be a jerk, Malpractice insurance and legal experience is a very valid concern. (Sorry I apparently wasn’t asking the softball questions you wanted.)

myclearestate6 karma

I take it very seriously. Your concern is valid. But I don't believe in arguing through messages - although my ex spouse may disagree.

No_Little_Plans8 karma

Is there any “will” scenes from television and film that stand out to you as either very good or very bad?

One example off the top of my head is Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec, where he hands his lawyer a crumpled piece of paper that “his killer will know what to do with.”

myclearestate15 karma

Lol. I’ve seen more bad than good, but I would say the most common misconception in tv and movies is that there is a “reading of the will”. This is not an actual thing in any jurisdiction I have come across but many people believe it is.

Mr_Rippe7 karma

Blue Man Group has a history of union busting. Even though you are no longer CEO, this behavior continues to this day.

My questions are two-fold: Why do you hate unions, and how can you justify the steadfast refusal to enter good-faith bargaining with your unionized employees?

myclearestate11 karma

I dont recall any union busting activities while I was there. I don't personally hate unions, and have never denied any employee their right to collective bargaining.

thegreatlemonparade6 karma

My Nana said that my Grandfather put a stipulation in his will that if any of their kids try to fight about it legally, they automatically get nothing. Is this even possible?

myclearestate14 karma

Yes, this is generally referred to as a litigation clause and is becoming more and more common in some jurisdictions as unfortunately estate disputes continue to rise.

MysteriousSchemeatic5 karma

I don’t have a will, should I have one?

myclearestate22 karma

Estate planning is really an act of love. We don't plan our estate for ourselves (we'll be dead) - but for the people that survive us. If you love the people that will survive you - having a will (properly drafted and executed according to the laws of your jurisdiction) is a gift to them. But a will is not a comprehensive estate plan. We have a lot of information on our website as to what constitutes a comprehensive estate plan.

Feisty_Goat_12765 karma

I've actually come across ClearEstate in a list of fintechs. Keen to hear what exactly within fintech is ClearEstate using/developing to improve estate settlement?

Also, does ClearEstate settle estates faster than other companies?

myclearestate9 karma

That is a great question. A lot of what we do today is integrate known solutions like Plaid to accelerate data aggregation as well as process information faster. We also automate the filling of probate forms. We also process terminal and estate taxes. In the future we plan on offering other services related to estate administration again in collaboration with other great Fintechs. Stay tuned for future developments.

We process information faster, and we know how to communicate information to stakeholders in a way that may speed things up. But we don't control courts and banks (so slow!).

Feisty_Goat_12763 karma

Is a service like Plaid used to find missing assets?

Also keen to hear what has been the biggest challenge so far? I presume acquiring customers is challenging since it needs to be done at a very specific point in time.

myclearestate6 karma

Plaid aggregates financial data. Biggest challenge of any startup is customer acquisition, especially B2C! I think the biggest challenge for all of us these days is finding and retaining great talent.

killerhurtalot2 karma

With all the layoffs happening at the big tech companies, talent should be a lot easier to come by.

myclearestate2 karma

Unemployment rates remain very low...

smbstartup3 karma

What are your thoughts on passing down "wealth" to survivors? Do you think it encourages laziness or takes away from the recipient's own life journey? I really struggle with this having started from nothing and amassing a reasonable amount of wealth. I sometimes think just gifting survivors wealth is sort of like saying "I don't think you're capable of making it on your own, so here I'll help you cheat at life..." I'd love to know what are some non-traditional ways to help survivors w/o directly giving them money (other than teaching them while you're still around).

myclearestate7 karma

I think teaching is the way to go. A trust with specific distribution thresholds is another. I think we all deal with wealth in different ways. My family is not wealthy - and my parents tried to help me while I was alive (school, helped me buy my first house).

csomething423 karma

What did you and the group think of Kraftwerk?

myclearestate1 karma

Had to look them up!

WCAttorney3 karma

What recourse do users have for improper legal advice using this software?

myclearestate1 karma

We don't provide legal advice. When legal advice is required we deal with outside counsel.

WCAttorney4 karma

So how would the average user know whether their specific situation requires an attorney? They wouldn’t.

And there is absolutely no recourse for the heirs, because no actual attorney drafted the documents, therefore, no malpractice insurance.

myclearestate2 karma

The focus of what we do is estate administration. Estate administration is not the practice of law. If it were trust companies would be out of business...

WCAttorney2 karma

If people put their real property into a trust in order to completely avoid probate costs, there is no estate administration needed. There is no statutory fee for a trustee.

The estate administration cost you’re talking about means assets that must go through probate. Good estate planning, avoids probate entirely.

Trust administration companies do not prepare the legal documents themselves, that is the biggest difference.

myclearestate1 karma

We don't either. And most people don't have their assets in a trust. We see this every day. Furthermore unwinding a trust requires a fair bit of administration, including accounting and taxes. Happy to discuss this. you should contact us so we can work together.

IrisCPA3 karma

How are the services provided by ClearEstate different than hiring a lawyer to apply for a probate?

myclearestate-6 karma

A lawyer will prepare the probate application on their schedule and often it’s not the only focus of their practice. They only go to the extent necessary to prepare the forms and typically provide little practical guidance. ClearEstate prioritizes the work, does it efficiently through the use of tech we’ve developed and guides you on all aspects of the estate settlement right through to the end. People focus on probate - probate is a small part of estate administration. We do it all (including taxes and accounting).

RoguePlanet13 karma

We are DINKs, no pets at the moment- do we do anything differently from couples with children? Do we go to an estate planner to establish a trust (and do we need both that and a will)?

myclearestate7 karma

Obviously children add a level of complexity to estate planning. But we should all have an estate plan - so yes, I recommend seeing an estate planner (I can even recommend ClearEstate!).

Jeremyhowe572 karma

When named beneficiary of a savings account and the daughter of the deceased put it in probate, how do you get an attorney to represent you if you can not pay until the money is released?

myclearestate2 karma

It would require litigation to dispute this and there’s no guarantee a court would rule in your favour. There are often free or discounted legal resources available such as Legal Aid depending on location and your circumstances.

1PMagain2 karma

Is it true: Where there’s a will, there’s a way?

myclearestate1 karma


GhastInTheShell2 karma

How does one learn to plan an estate?

myclearestate2 karma

Years of administering them...

Jamabope2 karma

When is the right time to create a will? When i was 20 i thought they were for old people. Now im 30 i feel like i should probably have one, but i dont own a house or even have a mortgage, i own my car, have a piano, a banging pc and 4 snakes... Should i have a will to give these to people if i were to kick it next week?

myclearestate2 karma


MiketheTzar2 karma

Is your goal to replace estate attorneys, supplement their work, make them way more efficient, or something else?

myclearestate2 karma

All of the above. We want to make sure that people pay for what they need.

MiketheTzar1 karma

What states do you currently function in/are you planning on functioning in when you first go live?

myclearestate3 karma

All of Canada, California, Texas, New York, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Tennessee ... for now.

smhart6132 karma

Can I name ClearEstate as executor in my will?

myclearestate5 karma

You absolutely can - you need to contact us and we will tell you how this can be done.

smhart6131 karma

Thanks! Also, what are the benefits of doing so?

myclearestate3 karma

There are many, but the main one is saving your loved ones the burden of hundreds of hours of work. We ran a survey - and 75% of people that have experienced being an executor describe it as one of the hardest challenges of their lives. Why would one to this to a loved one?

PeanutSalsa2 karma

What happens if someone with a will dies but for whatever reason no one on the will knows about it (ex. not in contact, deceased is in another country, etc.), how would the people on the will be notified?

myclearestate5 karma

Some jurisdictions have public will registries, and others are looking to implement this, which makes it impossible to settle an estate without a will search. If nobody knows that a will exists ... than it doesn't exist without some kind of registry. But most courts would require some evidence of a will search before allowing any distribution.

uburoy2 karma

Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man are two very (very!) unique brands. Do you think working with these brands changed you in any ways?

myclearestate11 karma

Of course. Working in Live Entertainment in general and for CDS/BMG in particular gave me an appreciation of the lengths to which passionate people will go to create delight for their audiences. Those shows don't have stars - but still create emotions, laughter, tears and amazement through magnificent team work and dedication. I will forever cherish having been part of the journey of these organizations.

IrisCPA2 karma

What are some of the ways to avoid probate tax?

myclearestate1 karma

A well planned estate can avoid some probate taxes. This includes having joint accounts, rights of survivorship, and living trusts in the US.

Adventurous-Tracks2 karma

After a quick check of your website I’m not able to see anything about pricing. Is there a reason there isn’t pricing on your website like there is with LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer?

myclearestate7 karma

If you go under what we do, and select your region, you should see our pricing.

Adventurous-Tracks12 karma

Found it! Thank you.

As a suggestion, maybe make the pricing easier to find. Somebody like me might have just moved on to another company once it looked like a call might be required to find out the pricing.

myclearestate7 karma

Love the feedback. Thanks!

jspepper2 karma

How did you make the jump from Cirque/Blue Man Group to death and estate planning? What are some of the similarities that helped make the transition easy.

myclearestate5 karma

When I left CDS, I was looking for another opportunity. I met Alex one of our co-founders and loved the opportunity to launch a company with such a strong mission. I think the biggest similarity between both is how strong ClearEstate's and CDS' missions are. It creates a powerful culture, and a feeling that you can accomplish anything.

jspepper1 karma


Estate planning, death and all that is one of those topics people don't like to discuss but we all have to deal with it at some point so glad you did this AMA and are getting the word out. I'll have to check out the site as a recent family death is pushing me to have things planned for inevitability. Plus, also for gigs.

myclearestate2 karma

Well be happy to help!

The_Tavinator2 karma

Please forgive me if this comes across as naïve but… what do you do as a CEO? My assumptions have always been you decide if the company goes this route or that route for major decisions. But I know there is way more to it. I guess what I am asking is do you spend more time delegating? Proposing solutions? Picking option A or B? Or going by EOY we need to grow x and cut y by any means without causing a scandal?

myclearestate1 karma

I think being the CEO of an early stage company is different than being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company... my days are filled with doing whatever needs to be done to keep the business going and growing.

[deleted]1 karma


myclearestate1 karma

The cost of estate administration is a cost to the estate, not a cost to the executor, although executors are sometimes asked to "front" the money for it (unless the planner had some form of estate expense insurance or other mechanisms that can be used to ensure liquidity at time of death). In Ontario - that cost can be between 10-15K.

amythestlux1 karma

If you're named an executor of a will are you legally required to settle their estate or can a person decide at the time not to do it?

myclearestate7 karma

I have never heard of a province/state imposing executor duties. You can refuse.

rjdevereux1 karma

Is starting a preschool also on your list of accomplishments?

myclearestate1 karma

Thats my retirement project ...

IrisCPA1 karma

If I am named as the executor for my friend's estate, what are some of the things I need to do ? and especially to protect myself and not to get sued by beneficiaries..

myclearestate2 karma

Seek professional guidance (consider ClearEstate). It’s a significant responsibility and liability to act as an executor. The only true way to avoid being sued is not to act at all! But if you do, keep careful records, obtain proper valuations of estate assets, follow applicable legislation and make decisions prudently and impartially, pay debts and accounting to beneficiaries and obtain their releases.

miscnic1 karma

On a lower scale, I’ve also journeyed from entertainment to healthcare, and can imagine and understand your reasoning and passion in your new venture. Thank you for your work! Bringing simplicity to these processes are so important. I know this to be true professionally and personally. Estate planning doesn’t have to be scary. Do you think the new generation is prepared with the education they need to handle end of life planning? Is there a way we can do a better job helping them?

myclearestate2 karma

Glad to meet another former entertainer ... its a tough life to leave behind (addictive!). Both my parents were in healthcare, i know how it can both be extremely challenging and rewarding. I think as always young people don't think about death (its the beauty of youth!). But I can see so many more resources online now, i'm hopeful that they will be better equipped than our parents were.

ApostleThirteen1 karma

When you were doing the BMG thing, how many people told you to "get a real job"?

I'm sure it wasn't easy. what with Blue Man Group factions in so many cities, but I'm sure you must have gotten that kind of crap.

myclearestate1 karma

Lol. I was never a Blue Man per se, although working with BMG - we were all a bit Blue...

SorakaWithAids1 karma

Do you need a software engineer for anything?

myclearestate3 karma

Send your resume!

misslehead31 karma

Do you deal with living issues as well, such as open bank accounts in someone's name that can't be closed because others hold power over it?

myclearestate1 karma

I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to here but we do help people with estate planning and guide them to ensure things are set up the way they intend including considering how to set up accounts for the benefit of others.

Odd-Philosophy-81151 karma

What is your subway sandwich order?

myclearestate2 karma

Spicy Italian.

dj_underboob1 karma

What can you tell us about the BMG and Cirque lawsuit?

myclearestate1 karma

I am not an employee of CDS or BMG anymore and haven't been for a while. I really can't comment.

robxburninator1 karma

What are your opinions on Blue School and it's break from Blue Man Group?

myclearestate2 karma

I don't have an opinion. Blue School was set up before my time.

ConstableGrey1 karma

If I was so inclined, could I pick a random person out of the phone book and make them my sole inheritor in my will?

myclearestate3 karma

Yes, provided that your state/province does not have rules protecting your spouse or dependents.

GallifreyFNM1 karma

Anything Blue Man would be a dream job for me, so... why give it up to write wills?

myclearestate1 karma

Lol! I left CDS/BMG when the pandemic hit. We founded ClearEstate and we are building an amazing organization. But I get you - nothing compares to BMG!

JSA24221 karma

I own an RIA. Any different versus the company trustandwill?

myclearestate1 karma

Trust & will are an amazing company. Happy to have a direct conversation about whether ClearEstate can support your practice - but I would view ClearEstate more as a digital independent trust than a service to produce estate planning documents.

TelephoneTag21231 karma

What are your thoughts on the unfortunately high prevalence of dementia when dealing with the validity of wills?

myclearestate2 karma

Testamentary capacity can be tough to assess after the fact. With continuing advances in modern medicine, advanced age diseases will continue to be prevalent. Best to be proactive and plan your estate early and carefully when you are feeling well and hopefully avoid the need to make changes later.

Whopper3111 karma

As a former Cirque du Soleil employee myself, why do you think Cirque is currently having issues keeping qualified technicians in the company given that Cirque is the "gold standard" for technical entertainment?

Edit-grammar is hard.

myclearestate1 karma

I can't comment on Cirque's current situation.

deepsea3331 karma

Are you a CFP or CPA or have any accounting credentials? Estate Planning has been a weird space for semi-professionals, (worked in Estate planning decades ago) ans as long as you were compliant it’s not a difficult business operation.

myclearestate2 karma

I would think of ClearEstate as a digital trust, housing many of the fields of expertise required to plan, but more importantly to administer an estate.

deralker1 karma

if you write your own will (i just said i want my favorite sister to get everything and i have no kids or dependents) how do i make sure its known about once i pass?

myclearestate1 karma

I suggest you consider professional guidance. Sometimes writing your own will leaves a bigger mess than having no will at all. You can consider professional guidance but at the least, make sure someone (perhaps your sister) knows where to find your original will and all the information needed for your estate settlement.

Big___TTT0 karma

How are you a tech company? You’re a services company

myclearestate3 karma

We like to call ourselves a tech enabled service ...

Fuck_You_Downvote-1 karma

Would wills be a use case for blockchain?

myclearestate1 karma

For sure. Wills are a great use case for blockchain. In the end a will is a tool to transfer title from one person to a set of beneficiaries ...