Saturday, March 2, 2024

What Happens to E-mail Accounts When You Die?

And what if you’re an artist like me who also keeps large and original digital files of images, video, and research material in your inbox, what happens then? The Atlantic’s Jeff Goldberg has an answer, albeit a bit sad.

If you suspect that you’re going to die soon, I suggest that you print out important correspondence, or share your password with a loved one. If you have a Yahoo e-mail account, no one will be allowed access to it, so your contacts will have to be notified of your death some other way; the company will permanently delete your e-mails when it receives a death certificate. Gmail is a bit more generous. Your legal representative will be allowed access to your account when proof of death is provided. AOL also transfers the e-mail account to your designated representative upon receipt of a death certificate. The new user will have the option of sending out a death notice, or simply deleting the account. Individual companies have different policies, of course.


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