Internet email service providers often delete accounts if they have been inactive for some time and in some cases recycle account user names which can lead to security issues. However, how do the largest web based email providers respond if you want to access or close the account of someone who has died? Here are the policies of the top four providers.
Does Google provide account log in details to next of kin/family? Due to privacy issues, Google will not provide these under any circumstances.
How about transferring data (such as email/archive/chat history) to next of kin/family?
Google states that ‘in rare cases we may be able to provide the account content to an authorised representative of the deceased user.’
Google places a lot of emphasis on the privacy of the user. The company offers a two stage process for someone wishing to gain access to content from a deceased person’s account requiring the person making the request to identify their relationship with the deceased and provide a death certificate for the deceased. Google warns that this process may take some months.
How about closing the account of someone who has died?
It is possible for certain representatives to do so with a court order to compel Google to deactivate an account (Gmail, G+, blogger, YouTube, etc…). This can be done by contacting Google directly and following these instructions.