Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Web Site Helps You Go on with Life after Death; YOU CAN TIE UP LOOSE ENDS You Can Craft Special Instructions for Loved Ones or Have Letters Mailed to Foes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Web Site Helps You Go on with Life after Death; YOU CAN TIE UP LOOSE ENDS You Can Craft Special Instructions for Loved Ones or Have Letters Mailed to Foes

Article excerpt

Byline: J. ELLIOTT WALKER

If you died today, would your spouse know to turn the sprinklers off in the winter or even how to pay the cable bill online?

Big details like burial sites or cremation plans may be discussed beforehand, but a new Web site called YouDeparted.com has dedicated itself to making sure every little detail is taken care of in case of death.

"I actually sat there and tried to picture my own life ended," said Collin Harris, one of the site's creators. "It's a hard thing to do."

Harris and his son, Nick, came up with the concept for YouDeparted after the elder Harris' father passed away.

"When he died," he said, "there was basically no information."

Harris said he thought about the mess his family would have if he suddenly died, and the idea was born.

The father-and-son combo from Incline Village, Nev., on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, started working on the project in October and launched the site just over a month ago.

Although none of the approximately 1,000 people who have signed up are from the Jacksonville area, the Harris team is confident it will only be a matter of time.

Pamela Brooks is a Juno Beach resident who decided to try the Web site. The senior citizen heard about the site through a friend.

"I just think it's a wonderful idea, especially for people in Florida where there are so many transplanted people and their family is all over the country," she said.

ENSURE LAST WORDS

The concept is simple: Users register and enter information, using either templates provided by YouDeparted or by designing their own. Information ranges from simple entry prompts in the templates like gifts and final wishes to more serious prompts like bank and brokerage accounts, debts owed, and secret accounts. Another feature allows users to create letters, nasty or nice, for an extra fee that can be mailed when they die.

Brooks said she didn't put anything extremely personal on her account besides instructions for what to do when she dies.

The Harrises make it clear, however, that YouDeparted does not replace the services of an attorney. The site cannot make things like wills or trusts and warn if users don't have valid documents when they die, nothing they've put on YouDeparted is legally binding.

Nick Harris said a basic account can take as little as 30 minutes to an hour to create, and "as time goes by you can add more details."

Plans start at $29.95 a year for one gigabyte of storage and work up to $79.95 a year for five gigabytes of storage. Potential users can also use the "mini-plan" free for 90 days to see if they like the system.

When a user registers, he or she identifies recipients for their account. These are people who will receive specified information when the user dies.

Recipients receive an e-mail giving them a user name and password. …

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