TANGENT Postmortem e-mail lets you get the last word
Knight Ridder Newspapers
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Haunting friends and family from beyond the grave just got easier.
LastWishes.com, a Dallas-based Web site, has found there's a lively market for people who want messages distributed upon their death.
Since it was launched last October, the site has drawn more than 10,000 customers who've paid initial fees of at least $39.99 and agreed to annual fees from now till doomsday, all to get in the last word by text, photos and videos for their loved (and maybe not-so-loved) ones.
"It's an amazingly simple idea," said Simon Schurmer, the company's co-founder.
Customers can leave all sorts of information for their survivors, such as details on life insurance policies, passwords for computer applications and personal messages, Schurmer said.
Schurmer and his business partner, Jonathan Yeo, came up with the idea when a friend died two years ago. With the friend in Texas and the family in England, tying up loose ends became difficult.
"We didn't have his insurance," Schurmer said. "We didn't know his banks or anything, and we thought this would be a great idea."
LastWishes.com isn't the first site to promise the living the ability to commune with their loved ones. At least three similar sites, including MyLastEmail.com and FinalThoughts.com, have folded.
Schurmer said that won't happen to LastWishes because the site is so cheap to maintain that it is self-sufficient.
While the business is proving successful, Schurmer and Yeo aren't ready to give up their day jobs as computer consultants.
The site basically runs itself, Schurmer said, and work only needs to be done when a customer logs out of this world -- which hasn't happened yet.
On the Web: www.lastwishes.com.