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Kiwi Entrepreneur Launches “digital Safe” For End-of-life Planning

A Christchurch entrepreneur’s experience with grief has prompted the creation of a new digital tool to help relieve stress for family members after the passing of a loved one.

Melissa Davies, a mechanical engineer turned management consultant, has launched Holdmine, a “digital safe” that enables users to store important personal information, like wills, funeral wishes or even travel plans, and share it with those they trust.

It’s estimated between 40 and 70 percent of Kiwis don’t have a will or current will. Through Holdmine, Davies hopes to raise awareness of the importance of having a plan in place for when the time comes.

Davies says her lightbulb moment came in 2014 – her father had suffered a heart attack and passed away soon after. Aged just 55 years old, the news came as a complete shock to friends and family.

Davies – who was working in Wellington at the time – was named executor of his estate.

“My father and I had never discussed what would happen after he passed. It was always a conversation for another day. You always think you have more time, until one day, you don’t."

Davies says what happened next felt like a full-time job.

“I was grieving, but at the same time I needed to step up for my family. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with – trying to honour this person that I’d admired without them being there to talk me through it. There was a whole lot of loose ends, and tying them up felt impossible at times.”

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Months turned into years and through her pain, Melissa dreamt of creating something to help other families avoid the administrative nightmare that she was going through.

“I realised I wasn’t alone. I’d talk to other people who had lost loved ones and it was like they instantly understood what I was going through.

“It made me realise I could create a product leveraging the power of technology to solve a human problem.”

The concept of Holdmine was born.

"I immediately set to work, but it wasn’t without its challenges. In August 2022 I had a rare form of heart attack which landed me in hospital for several days. It turned out I had a split in my artery. It’s called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD for short, and typically affects healthy women. It came as a complete shock to everyone. I was just 44 years old.”

“It really goes to show the fragility of life. You never know what’s around the corner and that’s why having a plan for when you’re not around anymore is so important.”

Holdmine is fully encrypted giving high levels of security, and ensures users have data sovereignty, so they completely own their own data. The only people who can see their information are those they choose to share it with.

Davies says it’s a common belief that leaving a will is enough, and while that is a great start there is so much more information that would be helpful for family to have on hand after someone passes away.

“Questions like who is their lawyer, do they have an insurance broker, have they organised a pre-paid funeral, how can I cancel their subscriptions? The list goes on.”

“All of that information can be securely stored in Holdmine. And, it’s incredibly user-friendly. You can store heath records, funeral wishes, mortgage documents or even your Netflix streaming password. The options are endless.”

© Scoop Media

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