Wolfgang Gabler got the idea for his new iOS app, Your last Will, when he was traveling in his home country of Germany a few years back. He stopped at a crossroads and suddenly an accident took place. Two vehicles propelled toward him on his left and right. They crashed just fifteen feet in front of him.
"There was a lot of luck involved," he told Yahoo Tech.
Gabler, a german gaming entrepreneur who has been a New York city resident since 2012, says that’s when he realized he hadn’t left any goodbye messages for his kids or wife behind. He then set out to self-fund the development of an app that would help everyone do the same.
Your Last Will, out today in the App Store, gives you the tools to say goodbye to your loved ones both publicly and privately, and in some cases, even set up an informal will.
After downloading the free app and logging in with an email address, you’ll arrive at a home screen filled with a feed of public wills. These are farewell messages that people have recorded for the world to see. They can be as simple as “Always stay true to your beliefs,” a specific shoutout to your family and friends, or something you always wanted to tell an enemy (an idea offered up in the company’s promotional video, not me).
The clips are then sorted into sections of “Newest,” “Trending,” and “Most Liked.” Other users can “heart” them.
Anyone who downloads the app can submit up to three public wills and one private will for free. Private wills differ in that, after submitting a video, you’ll be issued a QR code that, as the company’s website recommends, you should give to “a trusted confidant who is likely to outlive you.” The beholder can then sign into Your Last Will with the QR code, which will trigger an email with a video link to be sent to your recipients. (You can purchase more public and private wills in $4.99 and $9.99 packages).
Seeing as these messages are your last words, they might contain confessions –– for instance: “I was the one who ate the last packet of Gushers in third grade” –– that you’d prefer to stay locked up while you’re currently alive. So, you’ll be notified anytime a person scans your code, and be given 24 hours to stop its delivery (either while you are alive, or from the grave.)
There’s also a feature within the app that allows you to review whether your video might work as a legally passable will. When you submit it, it’ll be sent to a lawyer familiar with inheritance law in your state, who will then advise you on how likely it’ll hold in court if something unthinkable should occur. Though current US law doesn’t officially mandate the use of videos as a medium for the deceased to assign their belongings, Gabler is confident the tide is shifting. In other words, it can be used as a vague guideline in the cases of unexpected deaths, but if a family contests what you say in a video, you’re likely out of luck.
Though the idea for the app might sound a little dystopian, Gabler says that Your Last Will addresses a real need for people who want to leave final messages and property to their loved ones.
"Life and death are two sides of a medal," Gabler, who is 51, told Yahoo Tech. "People not ever thinking about this are just suppressing this subject."