Email and Online Accounts

Email Accounts

You may need to obtain the account data, or close the email account of a dead person. Whatever your reason, handling the email of a deceased person can be surprisingly involved. For example, in submitting requests regarding a dead user's account, Google requires that you obtain a court order.  

Fiduciary Access to Digital Accounts

 A number of states are adopting legislation to provide more certain access to a digital accounts, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Accounts Act.  However, the federal government has yet to adopt a unified regime for regulating succession of online accounts for deceased persons.  Because of this, it may be necessary to obtain court letters, court orders, or a small estate affidavit to access the account

Online Accounts

You may need to get a refund from the account of a deceased person, close the account to stop service payments, or preserve the account for some purpose.  Some online companies, like Facebook and Google, provide account succession tools.  The account user can name other people who also have rights of access to the account.  

For example, Facebook allows you choose in advance how your account will be handled after you have passed away. Through your Settings option, you can now tell Facebook to either memorialize your account or delete it should you pass away.

If you choose to memorialize your account, then Facebook will freeze it. This means that no one can log into your account. Your profile and all its content, however, will remain viewable to your friends and family should they ever decide to visit it and remember you. Additionally, you can choose a setting that allows your friends to share memories and continue to post on your profile after you’ve passed.

Should you so choose, you can additionally set what is called a “legacy contact” to help manage your profile after your page has been memorialized. A legacy contact is someone you choose who will be able to post on your Timeline, update your profile picture, and respond to friend requests on your behalf. They will act as themself and under their own name when in this role, only accessing your page as an admin. Furthermore, your legacy contact will not be able to log into your account, change your old posts or images, view your private messages, or delete your friends.

If you choose to delete your account, then it will be permanently deleted when you pass away. Someone must first notify Facebook that you have passed away. Afterwards, your profile will be deleted and no one will be able to see it again.