A new service designed to send emails out to your loved (or loathed) ones after you die went live this week.
Mylastemail.com enables subscribers to set up a series of final messages online which it promises will be forwarded only when they are dead.
Members can leave "love messages, words of appreciation and encouragement" to those they care about after their demise. Three-year membership of the service costs $9.99.
A final letter could do much the same job but putting the service on the Web makes it easier to make those final messages as up-to-date as possible.
So how do the people behind the service know if someone is dead? If those last emails get sent out early it’s possible to imagine them causing all sorts of problems.
Karen Peach, from LifeTouch, the company behind mylastemail.com, explained that the service includes "stringent security checks" to make sure last email are not sent out prematurely.
As part of the Mylastemail registration process, subscribers are asked to print off a LifeTouch Guarantees document and to keep this in a secure place where it can be found when a user passes away.
"The instructions on this (official looking) document are for the person who will be handling your affairs once you've passed away. They are requested to return the LifeTouch document, together with a certified copy of the deceased's Death Certificate, to LifeTouch," Peach told The Register
When this document is received by further checks are carried out to make sure the documents match a registered person's details. Only at this stage will emails be 'released' from the system, and a LifeTouch email is sent to the recipients informing them that there is a Mylastemail for them to pick up from a secure server when they are ready. The email is held on LifeTouch's secure server for 12 months.
"At no time can the administration staff access the emails, or the email addresses," Peach added.
Mylastemail.com reminds us of the service allowing dying people to videotape advice to their loved ones seen in the film Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, starring the ever-dependable Andy Garcia.
Peach admits she hasn't seen the film but adds that LifeTouch is looking at "adding services such as attaching video MPEGs and voice messaging for the next stage of mylastemail".
Which is nice.
Boat drinks, anyone? ®