MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Former Morristown residents Kirsten Hotchkiss and her father, Steve Hotchkiss, recently launched an online business venture called My Life’s Message, LLC, to help individuals and families with legacy planning and other end-of-life preparations.
The company is a website (www.mylifesmessage.com) that enables individuals to record how they want their lives to be celebrated, and to share their legacy with their families. In addition, the site enables families to easily contact the friends and colleagues of the user to communicate the news of his or her death.
"This idea came about because news of death in this day and age is hard to get if you are not part of the immediate community," said Kirsten. "A few years back, my dad mentioned that his friends were starting to pass away, and he regretted that he didn't hear about it until well after the service had been held. When we researched how the news is distributed, we realized that Facebook postings only reach friends of the survivors and obituaries are only published locally, so it's really hard to track down that information. Even though the information is ubiquitous, if it's not directed to you, you don't know to go look for it."
With My Life's Message, however, the client logs the names and email addresses of the people in one’s life, and, when the time comes, their survivors can send a single notice to everyone who would have wanted to know.
"My Life's Message also addresses the emotional side of estate planning," Steve explained. "We prompt the users to record information related to dozens of topics, ranging from how they want their life to be celebrated to the pre-planning and preparations they may have done, as well as what final wishes they have, what directions they want to leave behind, and, most importantly, what favorite memories they want to pass along to their descendants."
Finally, the website has a Records Roadmap that provides a way for clients to guide their families to their important information, including their digital estate, without having to input confidential financial information or passwords.
“We wanted people to feel secure using this website, and knowing that they were helping their families at the same time,” Kirsten adds. “Talking about death is not easy, but we think that My Life's Message is an easy way to start the conversation, and a wonderful gift to give to one's family. We hope that people will find it valuable.”