Question:  I want to access the email account for my deceased loved one.  How do I do this?

Answer:  In many cases, you can contact the email provider and provide them some information demonstrating that you should have access to the account.

During the difficult time after a loved one passes, it is easy to forget about some of the small things, like accessing your loved one's email account.  In a perfect world, your loved one would have left their email information and password in a safe place for you to find, perhaps even with their estate plan.  However, people often overlook small details like these when preparing their estate plan.

If you cannot locate your loved one's email password, you can likely gain access by contacting the email provider.  The email provider is whoever is listed after the @ symbol in the email address.  Most email providers will turn over email account information to the deceased's next of kin with sufficient proof.

  • Google's Gmail requests a death certificate, a document giving you power of attorney over the person's affairs and the full header of an email sent to you by the deceased's account.  You will also have to provide your name, address, email address and a copy of your photo identification as well as the deceased's email address.  For more information see:
  • Microsoft's Hotmail also requires a death certificate, a document giving your power of attorney or showing that you are the personal representative (executor) of the deceased's estate.  You will also need to provide the deceased's email address, first and last name, date of birth, the city, state and zip the person gave when they created the account, approximately when the account was created and last accessed, and your shipping address.  Hotmail will mail you a DVD with all of the contacts and emails stored in the account.  For more information see:
  • Yahoo won't grant access to anyone without a court order.  So, if your loved one uses a Yahoo account, they must leave their password or you will not be able to access their account without a court order.