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.
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.
There are details for the commonly used email servers.
Password and email unknown — Call 1-800-827-6364
AOL does not appear to allow you to access your loved one’s account content after their death.
Password and email unknown
Otherwise call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273.
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.
You can make a request for a deceased person’s account directly to Google.
Password and email unknown — Make a request for deletion or access to a deceased person’s account directly to GMX.
Password and email unknown — Contact Customer Support at email@example.com.
You need to close your loved ones Microsoft account to permanently close their Outlook email account.
Password and email unknown
You can use this email to request the contents of your loved one’s email.
Password and email unknown — Thunderbird does not provide direct support services, but you can try the Thunderbird Support page.
Password and email unknown — Contact 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 known — Go 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
Password and email known — Login to Zoho Accounts and follow the directions.
Password and email unknown — Send an email to ZOHO to request cancellation of your loved one’s account. Ask if they allow access to their email content.