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Postmortem Mailer

Automatic last testament
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This would be service to prompt a user at regular intervals with a message like "Are you dead yet?" If the the user does not respond within a reasonable amount of time, she would be queried a few more times, until the assumption would be made that the user has died unexpectedly.

At this point, a series of prewritten e-mails containing heartfelt texts about how the user feels about everyone involved in her life would be sent out. This could also include links to short audio or video messages. These messages could be easily and frequently updated, or could even serve as a personal diary to those people very close to us.

You'd obviously want to be very paranoid about not sending this out except in case of death, so there should be a way to respond with "No, I'm not dead, and I'm going on vacation for a month, don't ask me again until I get back." There's also the problem of unexpected incapacitation, such as a lengthy hospital stay.

This is conceptually similar to the reading of the last will and testament, but it has the advantage of cutting out the proxy and legal fees associated with updating a will. It also separates the expression of true feelings, unburdened by social recourse, from the more material concerns of who gets uncle Bob's iguana farm.

francois, Jan 24 2001

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       Well, there was my delay.com (now deceased; a couple of autodelaying sites existed), its spin-off "future email address", and you yourself explained the e-mail dead man switch in connection with the Distributed Deceased Database (D3).   

       But I think the idea of encouraging emotional testaments in connection with this is new. (Now, if only it woudn't remind me so much of all those falsely honest confessional interviews in the closets of "reality television" shows...)   

       Maybe one of the best things that could happen to someone who leaves a large number of things scandalously unsaid in their lives would be a catastrophic failure of such a mechanism.
jutta, Jan 24 2001
  

       This would be a good plot device for a detective thriller. "If you are reading this, I am dead. In all likelihood, this means that I was getting close enough to the truth to make the big boys uncomfortable. Details of my investigation follow..."
baf, Jan 24 2001
  

       I've seen the "deadman switch" plot device a few times. The most recent (and the only one I can recall well enough to cite specifically) was in Orson Scott Card's _Shadow of the Hegemon_.
egnor, Jan 24 2001
  

       One other item to add to the chores to be done in case of death would be to have a group of purchases set up to max-out all your credit cards simultaneously with the other postmortem emails. It would be a shame to go to the grave with several hundreds or thousands of dollars in unspent credit going to waste.
printers, Sep 02 2001
  

       "Hey ralph, did you write back to them guys that keep asking if you're dead?"   

       "Oh, I'll get around to it some time."   

       "Well, I just got your last will and testament, and I want a divorce!"   

       "Darn, where's that stupid mailer..."
ye_river_xiv, Jul 09 2006
  
      
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