How to manage email accounts after death

How to manage email accounts after death

What happens to email accounts after death? How to access an email account after death? How do you close a deceased person’s email account?

This article provides an outline of what happens to our email accounts when we die and how best to deal with our loved ones’ email accounts after they die. 

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In the digital age, it is now a common occurrence for someone to have an email address. Before social media, emails were seen as the original format of instant messaging online and still used vastly now, especially in the professional arenas.

You can learn more about what to do with social media accounts here and how to memorialise each social media platform account here.

You can learn how to close your loved one’s accounts here.

If your loved one had an email account, you will need to manage what happens to this after their death. The process for dealing with the email differs depending on which email service the deceased used:



Microsoft (Hotmail, Live, MSN or Outlook)

How to manage a Gmail account after death

If your loved one had a Gmail account, you will need to complete a form provided by Google to inform them that the person has died and you would like to:

• Close the account

• Submit a request to receive any money on the email account, or

• Obtain data from the account.

With the form, you will also need to provide a copy of the death certificate as proof of death. Once Google has reviewed your request, they will contact you to inform you whether your request has been accepted.

How to manage a Yahoo account after death

You will need to report the deceased’s death to the email service so that the account can be closed.

Anyone can contact Yahoo to report a loved one’s death, but you will need to provide:

• A letter asking to close the account

• The user’s Yahoo ID (this being the first part of their Yahoo email address before “”)

• Copy of the death certificate.

You can either fax, post or email the letter to Yahoo.

How to manage a Microsoft email account after death

You will need to contact Microsoft to close the deceased’s account if they used Hotmail, Live, MSN or Outlook.

Microsoft operate a ‘Next of in’ process, so only family members that are next of kin can request a Microsoft account be closed.

If the request is accepted, Microsoft will post a DVD to the next of kin with access to the deceased’s:

• Emails

• Attachments

• Address book

• Messenger contact list.

Microsoft cannot:

• Provide access to any login, password or email details

• Switch the account ownership to the next of kin

• Change the deceased’s password

• Help with recovering an account or resetting a password.

You will need to email Microsoft to request an account closure. Your email must include:

• An email address on which you are happy to be contacted

• Copy of the official death certificate

• Proof of your ID, if you are not named in the Will

• Your shipping address (for the DVD to be posted)

• The type of computer you use (whether PC or Mac).

You must also include the following details about the deceased:

• Full name

• Email address(es)

• Date of birth

• Country the deceased gave as their home address when they signed up

• The estimated year they opened their account

• The estimated time the account was last accessed (including any suspicious or your own access of the account).

You can fax, email or post the documentation to Microsoft. Microsoft will destroy all documents received as part of the request once they have handled it, so remember to only send copies of any information.

How can we help?

Our team of experts have a wealth of experience in drawing up assisting with various levels of complexity in probate and administrations of estates.

Get started today by speaking with a specialist on 01865 507174 or by emailing us at

Alternatively, we can include your digital legacy in your Will. 

Get started with making your Will online here.

Legal Insights

Confused about getting started? Here is a useful checklist to show you what you need to know, before writing a Will.

Want to know more?

Take a look at our comprehensive Wills guide, where you can find everything you need to know about writing a Will.

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