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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is PartingWishes.com?

PartingWishes.com is operated by PartingWishes Inc., a privately held corporation based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, providing services which span the globe.  We are an independent organization, not tied to a funeral home or law firm.  We provide services which make use of the ultimate convenience of the Internet and the latest in secure encryption technologies.  The company was formed out of the need to create a simple, convenient approach to funeral pre-arrangement and estate planning.  It is accessible anytime, anywhere and without pretense or industry jargon.

Our mandate is to allow people to document, maintain and communicate their parting wishes in a very easy, convenient, private, secure and cost-effective manner, without the need to pay for the high expenses of a lawyer. This includes U.S., Canadian and international legal documents such as wills (Last Will and Testament), power of attorney, living wills, funeral plans, online memorials, last messages, medical health care directives, estate planning and other advance directives.

But we go far beyond any do-it-yourself kit or online repository of legal forms and documents. If you wish, all of your legal documents can be stored and maintained by you online, in a completely private and secure manner. This will ensure that you can keep it updated to reflect any changes in your financial or family situation .

More information regarding the Executive Team can be found on the About Us page.

Why should I become a member?

Membership allows you to document your funeral wishes, create your Last Will and Testament and specify other "advance directives".  By becoming a member you will receive information and guidance for some issues that you may not have given much consideration.  You can then store your instructions on our secure server, make unlimited amendments and updates, and have them unlocked by a trusted friend or loved one when they are needed.

What makes PartingWishes.com different from other web sites and do-it-yourself kits?

For an informative and eye-opening comparison of the MyWill™ service to do-it-yourself legal will kits, read about it here

Quite frankly, there is no comparison.  First of all, there is no single web site or do-it-yourself kit that offers the full range of services that we provide here at PartingWishes.comWe have evaluated many existing do-it-yourself kits and web-based services, including several of the most popular American legal do-it-yourself kits and Canadian legal do-it-yourself kits. We were shocked by the poor quality, limited instructions, and low value for money that many of these do-it-yourself kits provide consumers.  We have designed all of our services to be of the best quality available today.  Furthermore, our membership pricing model also allows us to provide you with the most value for your money at prices that are unprecedented in the legal and funeral planning industries.

Incredible value for money.  Our wizards, help and information are also designed to be the best on the market and are kept up-to-date on an ongoing basis. 

In addition, all of our services provide you with complete instructions and answer your questions in everyday language, free of legal industry jargon.  We have developed our services based on the requirements of the public, not dictated by the legal profession.

Furthermore, our unique approach allows you to make use of the ultimate convenience of the Internet to create your legal documents and complete your services at your own pace, online, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and to make changes online at any time free of charge

By storing your information online, it also becomes easy to locate and access by your designated friends or family members when the time is right.  For example, if you are hospitalized and unable to communicate, it is important that your family and doctor have access to your health care directives.  And when you pass away it is important for your family members to have timely access to your funeral wishes.

Combined with this is a strong focus on protecting the privacy and security of your information.  We use industry standard encryption algorithms for storing all of your private information, and the design of this web site ensures that the contents of your information are made available to the specific people designated by yourself, and only at the appropriate time.

If you wish, we can even inform you by email about any changes in legislation which may have occurred in your jurisdiction that may require changes to your legal documents.  Or we can send you simple email reminders, no more than once a year, to remind you to consider updating your legal documents if any significant changes have occurred in your life. 

Other web sites and do-it-yourself kits simply do not compare.  Also, take a look at the news article warning about the use of do-it-yourself will kits.

What is a "Keyholder®"?

A "Keyholder®" is someone that you decide to trust with the power to unlock your wishes when the time is right.  Each Keyholder® is assigned a private, secure, randomly-generated "Keyholder® ID" which they will use to login and access your wishes when it is eventually required.  In particular, a Keyholder® is expected to login only after you have passed away or have become mentally incapacitated.

You can designate up to 20 different Keyholders® and you can even specify, for each Keyholder®, what specific information they can unlock, such as your health care directives, funeral wishes, or your Will.  Security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized premature access to your wishes are also available and are fully configurable by you.  More information is provided to members in the MyKeyholders™ service.

There is simply no other company that provides such a complete and convenient service to their customers.

What services do you offer?

See our Services page for more information about all of the services we offer.

Do the services you provide cost anything?

At the present time, we are giving away a Bronze membership free of charge to all new members.  With a Bronze membership, you can document your funeral wishes using the MyFuneral™ service, prepare final messages using the MyMessages™ service, create online memorials with the MyMemorials™ service, specify your security preferences using the MySecurity™ service, and identify your personal Keyholders® using the MyKeyholders™ service.  All for free, with unlimited updates for 1 year.

We do charge a small fee for some of the other services to cover our expenses, including the MyWalletCards™ service. Beyond this we offer additional membership packages for a small fee that give you access to the premium services.  The complete pricing structure is available on our Prices page.

How can you offer these services for free?

Our costs involved in offering the free services (such as MyFuneral™, MyMessages™ and MyMemorials™) are covered by our members who purchase or upgrade to higher membership packages.  We are confident that once you have used some of our free services you will be convinced of the superior quality and value we provide and that you will want to upgrade to a higher membership package in order to make use of premium services such as MyWill™, MyExpatWill™, MyPowerOfAttorney™, MyLivingWill™, MyLifeLocker™ and MyLife™.

Due to our membership pricing structure, all of our premium services are offered at very low prices, unparalleled in the industry.  We are confident that you will find them to be an amazing value, plus the added convenience of having all of your services available to you 24 hours a day over the Internet from any web browser in the world.  The complete pricing structure is available on our Prices page.

Can anybody use your services?

Documenting your funeral wishes with the MyFuneral™ service simply allows you to state your preferences for the way you would like your body to be treated after you have passed away.  It also tells people the kind of ceremony you would like, and the kinds of expenses that you feel should be incurred.  Anybody is free to express their own funeral wishes.  There is no restriction on age, religion, location or health.  Similarly, anyone can prepare final messages using the MyMessages™ service, or create an online memorial using the MyLife™ or MyMemorials™ services. Anyone can also use the MyLifeLocker™ service to store their personal information.

The legal services we offer, such as MyWill™, MyExpatWill™, MyPowerOfAttorney™ and MyLivingWill™ can also be used by anybody, however there may be some restrictions on the legality of these documents based on local laws.  For example, in most areas a minor cannot create a legal Will.  We would recommend in some cases that you have your documents verified by a practicing lawyer in your region.  More details about this are available in the help text of the specific service.

Why should I trust PartingWishes.com with my personal information?

All of your information stored at PartingWishes.com is private, safe and secure.  Your information is so highly encrypted that nobody has access to this information other than yourself and your trusted Keyholders® using their randomly generated personal key.  Even the owners and administrators of PartingWishes.com are not able to access your private information due to the software design and encryption methods used.

Note, however, that some services require temporary decryption of a member's documents as part of the operation of providing that service.  For example, if the member wants to have their Will reviewed by one of our legal professionals, or wants to have their documents printed and mailed to them, then the software will automatically decrypt these documents as part of the member's instructions to have these services performed.

How secure is it?

This web site uses state-of-the-art digital encryption and security technologies to protect your privacy and security.  All data passing from your computer to this web site is authenticated and encrypted using 128-bit "SSL encryption".  This is the most advanced level of encryption available today, and it means that any information sent from your computer is scrambled in a way which makes it completely unintelligible if intercepted.  When you are on a secure section within the web site (i.e. after you have logged in as a member), a padlock will appear on your web browser.  This is your assurance that the encryption is in place and that you are communicating across a secure link.

Furthermore, this web site uses an industry standard high security streaming-encryption algorithm known as "RSA" to encrypt all of your information before it is stored online.  RSA is a public-key cryptosystem developed by MIT professors Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman. To give you a feeling for the level of security provided by this encryption, it has been estimated that with the most efficient algorithms known to date, it would take a computer operating at 1 million instructions per second over 300 quintillion years (that's 3 with 20 zeros behind it!) to break the encryption. That's several trillion times longer than the age of the Earth.

Can my information get destroyed or lost?

All of our data is securely stored in a highly encrypted format on database servers in the USA. To protect against catastrophic data loss, daily backups are performed on each of our servers to locations in Canada and the U.S. Hence, if any one of our servers experienced technical difficulties, the data would not be at risk.

Furthermore, physical protection of our primary systems includes:

  • Fire detection and fire suppression systems with dry pipe pre-action sprinkler systems
  • N + 1 redundant power supplies, providing dual power feeds and backup batteries, water coolant systems and generators
  • N + 1 redundant climate control, providing primary and backup chiller units, cooling towers, and water storage
  • Local network operations center (NOC) for monitoring all data center operations
  • 24x7 monitoring and support of network connection and server availability
  • 24x7 uniformed guard service with interior and exterior closed-circuit television surveillance
  • Electronic access at all data center entrances, including biometric hand scanners
  • Electronic key management systems and individually keyed cabinets

As you can see, we take the security and privacy of all of our member information very seriously.

What if I am not satisfied with my purchased membership?

We are proud to offer a 30-day, no questions asked, 100% money back guarantee on all paid memberships.  If after joining as a member you do not feel that you have received valuable information and value for your money, we will gladly refund the cost of your membership.

Even though all of my information is stored online, can I still print it or save it on my PC?

We keep your information stored on a secure server for a number of reasons.  First of all, it allows you to make unlimited modifications and updates to this information without having to rewrite it each time.  It also allows your wishes to be centrally located, accessible at any time from anywhere in the world via the Internet, after you have passed away.  In addition, we keep your information completely safe and secure.  It will not get lost, and only the people that you authorize to have access to your information (your "Keyholders®") will ever be able to access it.  Finally, by keeping your details with PartingWishes.com, you will ensure that your wishes and requests are made available to the people who need them, at the right time.

You are, however, still able to print all of your personal information for your own records if you wish.  If you have a safe place in your home that a loved one knows about, you can place your parting wishes there after you have printed them from this web site.

How will people know what my Parting Wishes are?

As soon as you have created your parting wishes, you will be able to specify your trusted "Keyholders®".  Keyholders® are those people whom you decide to trust with the power to unlock your wishes when the time is right.    These people will be told of their responsibilities and given a randomly generated secure key.  You will also have the option of sending them a plastic wallet card with their secure key printed on it.

It is important that you choose Keyholders® who are sufficiently close to you that they will know when they need to access your parting wishes.  Once they are given access to your information, they will be able to view and print your parting wishes.

How will you make sure that my "Keyholders®" don't get to my information prematurely?

Your first line of defence is to select your Keyholders® wisely.  Most likely, you will choose members of your family or close friends whom you trust to protect your privacy.  You will not want to choose someone who might be so curious about your wishes that they would be tempted to access them before they are needed.  However, even in this case, there are security measures in place that will alert you to unauthorized access if you so desire.

In particular, any one of your Keyholders® is able to request access to your information simply by logging in at PartingWishes.com as a Keyholder® using the randomly generated secure key that you communicated to them.  As soon as they login or request to unlock any of your information, you will be sent an email explaining which Keyholder® is attempting to access your information.  As a member, you can configure a time period for each of your services which provides you with a window when you can deny access to this information.  If you do not deny access to the Keyholder®, then your information will be unlocked for that Keyholder® and they can view and print your parting wishes.

In addition, you can even specify for each of your Keyholders® which specific information they have the power to unlock.

Do you accept personal checks or money orders?

Yes, we accept all major credit cards, as well as personal checks or money orders.  If you are making a purchase, you will be provided with further instructions regarding your options.

Is my credit card information safe?

Absolutely.  Your credit card information is only used for purchases and it is never stored by us. Furthermore, all credit card purchases are through a secure gateway which protects all of your transactions by powerful Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption technology and Private Communication Technology (PCT) security standards supported by Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and other popular browsers. SSL encrypts your credit card number, name, address, and telephone number before they travel over the Internet, and this information is never stored, nor is it recorded by the secure site. This makes doing business over the Internet as secure as purchasing by telephone or handing your credit card to a waiter in a restaurant.

Are my wishes legally binding?

The funeral wishes you specify using the MyFuneral™ service does not produce a legal document.  It simply expresses your desires for how you would like your body to be handled, the style of ceremony you would like, and other related preferences.  There is no legal requirement for your Keyholder® or for your family to observe and respect these wishes.  However, in practice the expression of your parting wishes is of great help to your next of kin and to your funeral arranger.  In most cases surviving family members and friends will attempt to grant such documented wishes wherever possible.

According to current laws in most jurisdictions, your Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney documents must be signed and witnessed in order for them to be admissible in a court of law.  More information about this and the instructions for doing so are provided to our members.

However, "electronic signature" laws are moving rapidly and we are closely monitoring these laws to support the future electronic notarization of documents, or even the electronic signature of legal documents such as your Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney.  It is only a matter of time before this becomes standard practice in the preparation of legal documents.

In the meantime, although the unsigned versions of your documents stored online at this web site are not legal documents, if you wish you can allow one or more of your designated Keyholders® to have access to the documents that you have created here at PartingWishes.com.  This could be important if your legally signed copies cannot be located (for example, if they burned in a house fire).  In this situation, your PartingWishes.com copies of your originally constructed documents can still provide some guidance to a loving family, as they can understand how you have documented your wishes.

Do I need a lawyer?

There is no requirement to use the services of a lawyer or notary public to prepare your own legal Last Will and Testament. The law that defines the legality of a Will is written specifically for each Province, State and Country, but in summary the law requires that the Will is written on a piece of paper and signed in the presence of two witnesses who cannot be beneficiaries to the Will. Lawyers can certainly help you to prepare your Will, but everybody has a legal right to write their own Will. If you create a document using our service, it must be printed, signed and witnessed according to our instructions, and then it becomes a legal Last Will and Testament.

Do you offer legal advice?

PartingWishes.com is not a legal firm.  We do not offer legal advice.  If your situation is complex, or you have any questions regarding your funeral service, estate planning, Will, Living Will or Power of Attorney, we strongly recommend that you talk to a practicing lawyer in your area.

Does it matter which country I live in?

Most of our services here at PartingWishes.com are completely international.  They can be used by anyone in any country in the world. 

Services such as MyFuneral™, MyMessages™, MyLife™, MyLifeLocker™ and MyMemorials™ do not create legal documents and make no assumptions about your country of residence. 

In the US, Canada, England and Wales, we have worked extensively to ensure that the legal documents created by the MyWill™, MyExpatWill™ and MyLivingWill™ services are up to date with the laws in all of the states in the United States and the provinces in Canada, including: Alabama, Alaska, Alberta, Arizona, Arkansas, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Rhode Island, Saskatchewan, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Yukon Territory.  Hence, these services can be used to generate legal documents in any state in the United States with the exception of Louisiana, and any Canadian province with the exception of Quebec, and in England and Wales in the United Kingdom. If you are in Quebec, you can consider downloading a Quebec Will Kit from QuebecWillKit.ca.

Furthermore, the MyPowerOfAttorney™ service is available for all States in the United States except Louisiana, and for all Provinces in Canada except Quebec. In the UK, power of attorney forms are provided free of charge by the government.

Note that even in unsupported areas, there is value in stepping through the wizards provided in these services in preparation for a consultation with an attorney.  It is strongly recommended that residents outside of the above supported states/provinces/countries seek legal advice even after completing the wizards. Local laws in these unsupported areas have not been considered in the structure of the legal documents.

If you have any doubts about the legal standing of any documents in your jurisdiction, feel free to seek legal counsel in your area to have your documents reviewed.

Will I end up on a mailing list?

If you choose, you can receive occasional email updates from us regarding any new services that become available, special offers available only to our members, or any other information that we feel might be of interest to our members.  These will likely be sent out once every few months.  You can of course choose not to receive any emails and we will not send you any information unless requested to do so.

We absolutely do not share member information with any other organization.  We have no affiliate companies, partners or interests in any other organizations.  You will not receive any other mailings based on a membership at this web site.

In accordance with our very strict privacy policies here at PartingWishes.com, we will never send any postal mail or email to any of your Keyholders® outside of your wishes, nor will we ever attempt to contact any of your Keyholders® in any way.  Furthermore, we will not resell, trade, lease or rent to third parties any personally identifiable information about you or about any of your designated Keyholders®.

What will happen if PartingWishes.com goes out of business?

PartingWishes.com has funding set aside to support the cost of hosting member information for a number of years into the future based on today's prices.  This money is used as an insurance policy to ensure that even if PartingWishes.com ceases to accept new members, that existing member information will still be maintained.  At today's prices (which we anticipate to fall) even if PartingWishes.com received no additional revenue, hosting of member data is secured for another 25 years.  Our intention is to increase this fund to support ongoing costs for a minimum of 100 years, which is well beyond the advance directive needs of any of our members.

Nevertheless, if for whatever reason you believe that PartingWishes.com will cease to exist in the future, you can still make full use of our services by viewing and printing your documents and storing them in a safe place.  When they are needed, assuming that your loved ones know where to look, they can still access your documentation.  If used in this way, our pricing structure still makes the creation of these documents very cost effective for all of our members, with no dependency on the PartingWishes.com web site.  But PartingWishes.com has every intention of being here to stay!

What if I decide I no longer want to use PartingWishes.com?

When logged in as a member, there is a link on the member home page which allows you to delete your entire membership. Clicking on this link will result in the permanent deletion of your entire account, including all of your member information, and any documents or files you have created.

Why are my changes not being reflected when I view them online?

If you make changes to a document or memorial, but you can only see an "old" version when you view it online, this is because you have "caching" enabled in your web browser.  In certain circumstances, this causes your browser to access a temporary "cached" version from your hard drive instead of retrieving the latest one from our web server.  If you are using Internet Explorer, you should clear your cache by selecting Tools > Internet Options > Temporary Internet Files > Delete Files.  If you are using a different web browser, check your browser's documentation for instructions on how to clear the cache.

How do I get the 40% discount for my spouse/partner?

You will have been provided with a Reference Code in your order confirmation email. If you no longer have this email or did not receive it (likely due to spam blocking software), you can obtain your Reference Code by logging in and clicking on the link at the top of your member home page that says "Your spouse/partner discount (40% off any membership) is still available".  When your spouse/partner steps through the checkout process, copy and paste this code into the “Reference Code” box and the 40% discount will be automatically applied. 

Note that each membership is separate --- each person must join separately and create their own account.

When I try to login I get a "Page not accessible" error, or get stuck on a "Leaving so soon?" page

This is an occasional problem caused by our use of session cookies. It most commonly occurs when multiple browser windows are open and you log out of one window. It can also occur when two people with different accounts are sharing the same computer. The resolution is to close all browser windows between sessions. Then re-open the browser and login. If this does not resolve the problem, then please contact us.

I am trying to upload a picture to a memorial and it keeps saying I need more space

If you try to add a picture downloaded directly from a digital camera it is likely to be extremely large. You should try to reduce the size of the picture so that the dimensions are about 450 x 300 pixels and save it in "jpg" format. Usually, this will reduce the size from 2 Megabytes to about 60 Kilobytes (about 30 times smaller). If you are not sure how to do this, email the picture to us, and we can do it for you.

How do I renew my membership?

To renew your membership, you should login to your account by going to http://www.partingwishes.com/ and clicking on the "Member Login" button located at the top-right corner of the page. Enter your UserID and the Password you selected when you created your account. Once you have logged in, click on the MyAccount™ service and then select an option to add additional years to your membership from the drop down list of upgrade options. From here you can step through the payment process.

I have paid. How do I now access my Will?

First, you should check to see that you have an account with us.  You may have received confirmation of this in an email from PartingWishes.com.  If you have a User ID and Password, then you can log into the site by clicking here.  Once you have logged in, scroll down to click on the MyWill™ service, and from here you can click on "View your Will" or "Download and Print your Will (PDF file)".  If you have paid and do not have a User ID or Password, contact us by sending an email to support@partingwishes.com, and we can set up an account for you.

Can you send me a Will Kit?

We do not mail out Will kits.  We believe that blank forms are a bad idea and usually lead to legal problems.  There used to be a kit advertised widely on television and radio but this was heavily criticized and is no longer available.  We have developed a truly interactive service that generates a custom document based on your answers to a series of questions.  This document can then be printed, signed and witnessed to become your legal Will.  You can also store this document online and make updates to reflect changes in your personal or financial situation.  Each time an update is made, the document must be printed, signed and witnessed and the previous document should be destroyed.

Who can serve as witnesses to the signing of my Will?

You need two witnesses to the signing of your Will. A witness cannot be a beneficiary of the Will, they cannot be the spouse of a beneficiary (at the time of signing), they cannot be a minor, and, like the "testator" (you), they must be of sound mind. Friends and co-workers can serve as witnesses, provided that they are not a beneficiary in your Will. Furthermore, there is no requirement to have a lawyer or notary sign your Will to make it legal.

What if I have more questions or I need help using the PartingWishes.com services?

Simply send us an email at support@partingwishes.com.  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.