Monday, April 1, 2013

Email Accounts - Legislation Needs to Change

Were you aware that if a family member dies, you will not be allowed to get into their email account unless you happen to know the password?  According to Yahoo, the law states that the email account belongs only to the registered user and they can't give access to anyone else, even with a copy of a death certificate.

This law does not make sense to me.  If a close family member uses email a lot, and then dies without telling anyone their password, their family is left in a bad situation.  There could be legitimate email waiting in their account that the family can't address, nor can they contact those senders to advise them of the recipient's passing.

It is my opinion that if the family can produce a copy of  a death certificate, then they should be given a chance to reset the password and clean out the account for themselves.  Most email providers will close the account when notified of a death, but without some type of cleanup and/or notification to any legitimate senders, there is a big gap here.  The family could lose valuable information and/or relationships without access.

For now, please remember to share your email password (and any other important information) with someone that you trust to carry out your wishes if you die.  Otherwise your family could be left with no recourse but to close your account, even if it means losing all of its contents.  Make this part of your estate planning and your family will be better prepared to deal with closing your "online life".

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