Wednesday, December 18, 2013
As I have previously discussed in Ajemian v. Yahoo Inc., your heirs may be out of luck accessing your email accounts when you die.
This issue is now arising with increasing frequency and can create huge hassles for heirs. Most state laws provide no guidance on this issue, forcing heirs to sort things out with email providers. Google has perhaps the most enlightening policy, which allows you to designate a beneficiary who will receive your data after you’re gone.
But you shouldn’t count on other sites to be like Google. Consider sharing your passwords with a trusted friend or family member. If your family doesn’t know your password, then they will likely have to resort to guessing your passwords a few hundred times. If unable to crack the code, your heirs may have to resort to legal recourse.
See Deborah L. Jacobs, When Heirs Must Battle for Access to E-mail Accounts, Forbes, Dec. 11, 2013.