Email Accounts

Providing an email or webmail address seems to be necessary for everything and the vast majority of people have at least one of these accounts.

  • An Email account is a software application you install onto your computer to manage, send, and receive mail. Although Email interacts with a remote server that transfers correspondence, the messages are stored on your computer. Email services include GMX Mail, Mailfence, ProtonMail, Trustify, and Zoho.
  • A Webmail account is a form of email, but you can only access and manage it from the internet. Webmail exists primarily on the cloud, you manage it from your internet browser, and no messages are stored on your computer. Webmail providers include AOL, Gmail, iCloud Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail.
  • In a practical sense there is no difference between them and the term Email will be used for the rest of the section.

Email is used for everything from personal communications, business, notifications from multiple sources, access to multimedia, and billing. After a loved one’s death, email can be used to gather important information about them that can help you manage their affairs.

Once you have acquired all relevant information, you will need to discontinue their individual accounts so others will not be able to access it.

Although it’s almost always in the Terms of Service of every email platform to never share email account information with anyone, hopefully your loved one shared it with at least one friend or family member so this information is available to manage and delete their email account after they die. It could have been given before your loved one’s death or included in a digital estate plan that is only available after their death. 

When you know your loved one’s password and username or email you must login to their account to begin the process.

If they didn’t want to share their user or account name and password and you weren’t able to access the account, you will need to go through the necessary channels to close an account. Some companies like Google and Microsoft outline their policies well. Apple’s iCloud is known to be difficult for grieving families to gain access.

Before you delete any email service, make sure you have looked through their emails for necessary information on all the accounts that notified your loved one by email. 

  • Although you may come across something upsetting, you don’t want to miss important messages about their finances and/or estate that may have otherwise come after the account was closed.
  • If you don’t have the email, password, or credentials to access the account, this will take communicating with the platform and providing proof of your identity and your loved one’s death.
  • In some cases you may need a court order to do so.

There are details for the commonly used email servers.

AOL Mail

Password and email known

Password and email unknown Call 800-827-6364

AOL does not appear to allow you to access your loved one’s account content after their death.

Apple iCloud Mail

Password and email known

  • All Apple accounts including iCloud Mail can be managed from a single location using their Apple ID.
  • Deleting an Apple ID is permanent and could take up to seven days. Apple will attempt to verify that your loved one is asking for the account to be deleted and it may be necessary to use the password and email unknown method.

Password and email unknown

Otherwise call Apple Support at 800-275-2273.

To access the content of your loved one’s account you must obtain a court order that names you as the rightful inheritor of their loved one’s personal information. Once you have the court order with this information, or if you need additional help, contact Apple Support.


Password and email known

Password and email unknown

  • If you were named as the Inactive Account Manager you can delete the account if your loved one stipulated that their account be deleted after their death.

You can make a request for a deceased person’s account directly to Google.

GMX Mail

Password and email known

Password and email unknownMake a request for deletion or access to a deceased person’s account directly to GMX.


Password and email known

Password and email unknownContact Customer Support at

Microsoft Outlook and Hotmail

You need to close your loved ones Microsoft account to permanently close their Outlook email account.

Password and email known

Password and email unknown

  • You can close any account that pays for the Microsoft subscription or you can wait and Microsoft will delete an account if no one logs into it for 24 months. 
  • You can call Customer Service at 800-642-7676 or 800-892-5234 (Text Telephone) or Contact the Windows Live Custodian of Records by emailing to initiate the process.

You can use this email to request the contents of your loved one’s email.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Password and email known

Password and email unknownThunderbird does not provide direct support services, but you can try the Thunderbird Support page.


Password and email known

Password and email unknownContact the Support Team by filling out the Support Form and requesting them to delete the account and to ask if access to the content is possible.


Password and username/email knownGo to the Yahoo Delete My Account page and enter their username or email. Then, follow the prompts to deactivate your account.

Password and username/email unknown

  • If an account is unused, it will be closed by Yahoo after approximately four months of inactivity.
  • You can try writing a letter to Yahoo! containing your request and stating your loved ones Yahoo ID.


Password and email knownLogin to Zoho Accounts and follow the directions.

Password and email unknownSend an email to ZOHO to request cancellation of your loved one’s account. Ask if they allow access to their email content.