End of life planning goes online

A Victoria-based company has developed an Internet-based tool to help people privately plan their own funeral, detail last wishes and instructions, and even send e-mails to loved ones after they depart from this life.

Private Matters says its process is straightforward: when a member’s death is confirmed, the firm uses a special security routine that allows a member’s stored information to be automatically released electronically to the people chosen to receive it.

The service includes a Choices & Wishes document — the tool guides the user step by step on how to produce it. This document allows members to store information such as detailed bequests, directions on where documents are kept, information on financial affairs, what should happen to a beloved family pet, and other specifics. Members can also leave private e-mail messages to be delivered at any time up to a year following their death.

The Choices & Wishes document can also be turned into a supplement to a legal will and can be updated at any time for no extra cost and without visiting a lawyer. Copies can be printed and stored at any time.

The cost to join is a US$70 one-time fee, plus there is a US$12 annual renewal fee to cover the professional maintenance and secure storage of information.

Also, for a one-time fee of US$20, anyone can use privatematters.com to create a dedicated online Memorial Page to remember family, friends or someone else they wish to recognize. Visitors to these Memorial Pages can leave tributes that include pictures, audio and video clips. Users can add, edit and review their plans at their leisure from any Internet connected computer.

Web site: www.privatematters.com.

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