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Vancouver website lets users plan their final wishes after death

Service lets users choose everything from how they want to be remembered on social media to who they would like to take care of their pet after they die.

Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Final Wish, launched a website last week that lets people store their final wishes for their loved ones after death.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Final Wish, launched a website last week that lets people store their final wishes for their loved ones after death.

A six-day hospital stay was all it took for Andrew Smith to start contemplating his own mortality.

The Vancouver resident, originally from Halifax, needed to have a toe removed after a cancer scare. Sitting in his hospital bed, Smith, who had also recently lost a loved one, realized how ill prepared he was should his death came sooner than anticipated.

Did his family know if he wanted to be buried or cremated? What kind of music did he want played at his funeral? What should happen to his Facebook account?

“I just wanted to make sure that I had that stuff written down,” Smith told Metro. “And then I thought, there’s a lot of people in the same situation as me and if I can create a website to help people out, that would be great.”

Now six years later, Smith recently launched Final Wish, a secure website that lets users store information about their final wishes.

The service lets users choose everything from how they want to be remembered on social media to who they would like to take care of their pet after their passing. They can even prepare slideshows with their favourite photos and music to be played at a memorial service. Upon death, the information can be accessed by up to five pre-selected confidants.

Final Wish isn’t meant to replace a will. The information stored on the website isn’t legally binding, Smith said, adding that he recommends people still get a will.

“This is more for the softer stuff,” he said. “We’re just trying to help relieve that stress, let people grieve at their own point of time and just provide a place for people to be prepared.”

He said many people who told him that they faced a difficult experience planning a funeral for a loved one said they wished the service existed earlier.

Although the website launched only a week ago, Smith said the feedback already has been overwhelmingly positive with 75 people signing up so far.

Signing up and creating a profile with a list of final wishes is free on Final Wish, while extra features like slideshows, photo galleries and autobiographies can be uploaded and stored for $25 a year.

More features are also still being developed for a “platinum” package, he said.

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