How to Close an E-mail Account After Someone Dies

Written by Fraser Stewart
Reading time 5 minutes
How to Close an E-mail Account After Someone Dies image

Closing an email account after a loved one has passed away can be a difficult task, but it is important to do so to protect their privacy and security. There are a few different steps that you can take to close an email account, depending on the provider and the circumstances. This article will outline the process for closing an email account after someone has died, including what documentation and information may be required. It is important to note that each email provider has policies and procedures for handling the closure of an account, so it is important to follow their specific guidelines.

General tips for closing an e-mail account after someone passes away

Closing a deceased person's email account can be a complex process. Still, it is important to do so to protect their privacy and security. Here are the steps to follow:

This article will provide all the closing down procedures from the major e-mail services in the UK.

Gmail

For Gmail, navigate to this page to "Submit a request regarding a deceased user's account". Once on this page, choose the "Close the account of a deceased user" radio button. 

You will then need to provide the following information for the person who has died:

You will also have to provide the following information for yourself:

There are other optional fields that can be filled out too, which can help facilitate the close of an account. 

On the request form, there is a question that asks you what the request is referring to: "My request is about the following product(s)". Choosing "Google Account" will delete all associated accounts including YouTube and Google.

Inactive Account Manager

Google enables an account holder to designate an "Inactive Account Manager". This is a trusted contact that allows an account holder to tell Google who should have access to the information, and whether you want your account to be deleted or not. This is a great way for people to plan ahead and make account closure easier for your loved ones after you pass.  

Microsoft

This includes all e-mail addresses associated with Microsoft, including Outlook.com, Live.com, Windowslive.com, Hotmail.com, and MSN.com. 

On their official website, Microsoft note that you do not need to contact them if an individual has died. The account will be closed automatically after two years of inactivity. For any ongoing subscriptions, Microsoft outline that the best way to cancel these if through contacting the individual's back accounts to inform them of a death; this is prevent any ongoing payments from being taken. 

If you have access to the account, you are able to close it down yourself:

Microsoft will delete the account 60 days after you mark an account for closure. You are able to sign-in again before the 60 days to prevent it from being closed, but after this, all of the stored information will be deleted permanently.

If you do not have access to the account's information, Microsoft's "Next of Kin" process can help you with account closure or to recover some of the data held within the account. 

Next of Kin Process

Microsoft's Next of Kin process allows the next of kin of a deceased or incapacitated Hotmail account holder to request the release of the account's contents, including emails and attachments, address book, and Messenger contact list, as well as the closure of the account. The process is initiated by email contacting the Windows Live Custodian of Records. It requires certain documentation and information about the account, including a death certificate or medical certification if the account holder is deceased or incapacitated, proof of kinship or executor status, and a government-issued photo ID. The account contents will be provided on a data DVD shipped to the next of kin. 

This process is currently only available for Hotmail accounts (ending in @hotmail.com, @msn.com, @live.com, @windowslive.com). It does not support other Microsoft products such as SkyDrive, MSN Dial-up, or Xbox Live. The Next of Kin department cannot assist with password resets, account recovery, or other support for personal accounts.

Microsoft require the following documentation to prove that you are the legal next of kin and that the account holder is deceased:

1. If the account holder has passed away, Microsoft require an official death certificate. They are only able to accept an official, government-issued death certificate. 

2. An official document proving that you are the account holder's next of kin, that you have power of attorney, or that you are an executor or benefactor of their estate. Microsoft accept any of the following documents:

To contact Microsoft, please use this e-mail address with the above information included [email protected]

Apple

To request the permanent closure of an Apple ID and the stored data for someone who has passed away, you will need the following:

To begin the request to close a deceased person’s Apple ID, click here.

If you do not have access to their Apple ID information, we recommend starting with Get Support and finding out from their support staff what is required to close the account successfully. 

Legacy Contact

Apple customers are able to add a "Legacy Contact" to their Apple ID. This provides users with a secure and easy way to provide trusted access to their data to someone when they pass away. 

A Legacy Contact requires the unique key (provided when they were added as a Legacy Contact) and a death certificate to begin account closure.

Yahoo!

To close down the account of a Yahoo! user who has passed away, Yahoo! require specific information:

Yahoo! recommend contacting their Customer Care for assistance in this procedure. 

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