Choosing to close down or request content from an email account is a personal choice and may not be something you feel you can do straight away. If and when this time comes, there are various steps to take and documentation you’ll need to provide.
Each email provider has its own policy when it comes to deactivating an account. Here we look at the top five free email services with information and advice on who to contact at this difficult time.
AOL Mail (American Online)
There is no set policy available when it comes to closing down an AOL email or transferring an account, so the best thing to do is contact the email support team.
Apple iCloud (Mac.com, Me.com)
According to Apple’s Terms of Service, you will not be able to receive any usernames or passwords and all content in an account will be deleted once it is deactivated.
Unfortunately, the process of exactly how to do this isn’t all that clear, so the first step should be to contact Apple Support on 0844 209 0611 or 0800 107 6285.
There is also an online support service available at www.apple.com/support/icloud/contact where you can arrange for someone to give you a call.
Google will only allow immediate family members or legal representatives to close online accounts and ‘in certain circumstances may provide content from a deceased user’s account’.
To deactivate a Gmail account you need to start by providing the following information:
- Your full name
- Your email address
- Full name of the child
- Gmail address, Google or YouTube account of the child
- Date of death
- Your relationship to the child (immediate family or legal representative/executor)
- Which product your request is about: Google Account (all products), Blogger, Google+ or other (you’ll need to provide the URL of these pages)
- A scanned copy of ID (driver’s license or government-issued ID)
- A scanned copy of the death certificate (if this or your ID is not in English, you will need to provide a certified English translation)
Microsoft: Hotmail, Outlook, Live, Windows Live, MSN
Microsoft will not provide you with or change the password to an account, or transfer ownership. However, the content will be transferred to a DVD, which will be sent to you in the post. To request the release of content and to close an account you will need to email the Microsoft Custodian of Records on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are asked to include the following information:
- Your first and last name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- The full name of the person who has died
- Your knowledge of the Outlook.com accounts that belong to your child.
You will then hear from the team and may be asked to send further documentation in, such as a death certificate.
Yahoo will not provide passwords or access to accounts or any of the content in it, but it will close or suspend services and delete any content permanently. You have to provide the following information in order for this to be carried out:
- A letter containing your request and the Yahoo ID of your child (this is name before @yahoo.co.uk).
- A copy of a document to prove you are a parent, legal guardian, personal representative or executor of the estate.
- A copy of the death certificate.
Reviewed October 2015, next planned review 2016.