How to access email account when someone dies

Emails today are a treasure trove of information. With the digital trend going paperless, important documents such as bank statements, bills, invoices, accounts are no longer sent to your letterbox but to your email. Often an executor of your estate administration may not have full and updated knowledge of your estate and the executor will have to rely on records and documents that they can find to compile an accurate inventory of all your assets (and liabilities). 

However, it is not an easy straightforward process for your executor to gain access to your email to find out more information about your estate. Different email providers have different "Terms of Service" and processes. The limitation of rights is consistent across all email providers, which allows the legal representative of the decedent to close the account. In terms of gaining access to contents of the account, only Microsoft will provide assistance if the legal next-of-kin successfully pass the verification process, and Google will review such requests if the requestor has the appropriate US Court Order. 

Email Providers Access rights Contact
  • Close account of the deceased user
  • Obtain data from the deceased user account (require US court order, review on a case-by-case basis)
  • No password released or other login details
Submit a request through Google Help form
(Yahoo Mail)
  • Only to close account of the deceased user
  • No information will be released, and the contents will be permanently deleted.

Submit a request by mailing specific documentation to the address:

Concierge Executive Escalations

Yahoo Inc.
5250 NE Elam Young Parkway
Hillsboro, OR 97124


For more info: here

(, Hotmail, Live, MSN email)
  • Close account of the deceased user
  • No password released or transfer ownership of the account.
  • Account contents are released by way of a data DVD which will be shipped to next-of-kin.
  • Require answers to the verification process (up to maximum of 3 attempts to pass the verification process)
  • Email contents deleted after 9 months of inactivity and account delivered after an additional 3 months.

Email to Microsoft Custodian of Records


For more info: here

(iCloud Mail)
  • Only to close account of the deceased user
  • No password released or other login details

Submit a request through Apple support


For more info: here


In addition, many of the email providers have stated in its "Terms of Service" that users are not to share their account information with anyone other than you. Even if you share your account name and password with your designated "digital executor", the email providers have the rights to block and close the account if they find out any unauthorized access.

As you may have noticed, all the email providers require the death certificate and will unlikely entertain any requests due to mental incapacity. Thankfully, Google has provided an avenue for users to appoint and authorize a manager of inactive accounts via Google Inactive Account Manager. This way, your next-of-kin or someone you trust (up to 10 people) will be able to gain access to your Gmail and other Google services if you are unexpectedly unable to use your Google Account, such as in the event of an accident or death.  


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