Email Security with Life Estate Organizer - LEO

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many email accounts do you have?
  • What happens to your email accounts if something happens to you?
  • Can someone access your email accounts after you have passed?

Laws governing email accounts in the United States can vary state by state and by your email account provider. You can be assured your email accounts will be treated differently after you die.

If you have a Life Estate Organizer – LEO account, the documentation contained in your profile can be used to legally access your email accounts after your death by your designated representative. Otherwise, when your executor attempts to access the account, the email provider will exercise their different rules which can be very difficult to deal with. If you do nothing, your account will be left open but then vulnerable to hacking.

Here is the best way to protect your personal data and provide a simpler path for your representative once you are gone.

Granting Access to Your Email Account(s) to a Trusted Individual Through Life Estate Organizer – LEO

Life Estate Organizer - LEO First, sign up for a FREE TRIAL of Life Estate Organizer – LEO.

This doesn’t cost you anything.

  1. Click on FREE TRIAL, enter your ID and Password.
  2. Click on Submit, click on Launch and we are ready to go.
  3. On the upper left-hand side of the page, you will see Profile Scope Selection.
  4. Click on the words Profile Scope Selection, check the block in front of Property, click on Property and another menu will appear.
  5. Check all the blocks down to Other Property,
  6. Click the Submit Button, a menu will appear,
  7. Click on Property, click on Digital Services and click on Email Addresses.

Fill in this information for each email address. Click on ADD ITEM at the bottom of the page to add new addresses. Each address will be designated by the number under the title Email Addresses.

With this information and your permissions, granted by selecting trusted individuals which includes a Digital Trustee (Estate Settlement/Estate trusted individuals section of LEO (See image right), your trusted individuals can make decisions or exercise your instructions with respect to these email accounts.

Below we have listed some of the rules as it relates to certain email providers.


  1. If a person has sensitive work information included in their personal email, they should make provisions in their Life Estate Organizer, Will, Trust or other instructional documents to have an appointed person (Executor, Digital Trustee) to separate those emails for work purposes.
  2. If you pass away, your work email will be handled according to your company’s email policy, if they have one. If you are not familiar with your company’s policy, you should contact Human Resources or your immediate supervisor.
  3. If your work and personal emails are intermixed, you should treat every email as a document that could be handed over to your company and be viewed by others.


  1. Yahoo has a very strict policy regarding email accounts accessed by someone other than the subscriber.
  2. No one has access to your emails when you die.
  3. Your account will remain open forever.
  4. Yahoo will not grant permission to anyone to access a deceased user’s account.
  5. Of course, if the deceased used LEO to grant access to their Yahoo account information: user ID, password, and other information (if required) you would be able to access the account.
  6. Once you gain access you should change the user ID (optional) and Password to the account.
  7. YAHOO does have a process in place to request your loved one’s account be closed, billing suspended, and content be permanently deleted.


With respect to GOOGLE, you have options:

  1. Nothing has to change. Your account can remain open forever.
  2. You can initiate Google’s Inactive Account Manager which allows you to request the deletion of your Google account after a period of inactivity from (3) to (18) months.
  3. You can grant access to your email account for up to (10) individuals.
  4. If you pass away without sharing your Gmail account information your next of kin will be allowed to access your account/emails and/or request the account be deleted. In order to do so, they will have to mail or FAX information below to Google:
    • Gmail address of the deceased.
    • Name of person seeking access, mailing address and email address.
    • Photocopy of government issued ID or driver’s license.
    • Complete copy of an email from the deceased prior to death.
    • Proof of death of the deceased.
    • Documentation you have been lawfully assigned to access the deceased’s email account.
    • Even after providing the above information, a court order might be required.
    • Upon receipt of the above, Google will verify information, approve or disapprove.
  5. Once you gain access you should change the user ID (optional) and Password to the account.

Microsoft (Outlook, MSN, Hotmail, Live, Windows Live)

  1. If an email account is inactive for a period of (1) year, the email account including all information will be deleted from their system and access will be terminated.
  2. Microsoft will not reset the password for the deceased person.
  3. Trusted individuals will be granted access to the deceased’s account by supplying the following information to Microsoft:
      • Email address of the deceased.
      • Name of person seeking access, mailing address and email address.
      • Photocopy of death certificate.
      • Documentation you have been lawfully assigned to access the deceased’s email account, executor, and Digital Trustee appointment documents, power of attorney, etc.
      • Information about the deceased email account holder: First and last name, date of birth, address, city, state, zip code, approximate date the deceased’s account was created, approximate date of the deceased’s last sign-in.


  1. If you have an AOL account, you should have another AOL username listed for the account.
  2. For billing purposes, the deceased gave their name and posted a credit card.
  3. The payment information can be transferred, changed or cancelled through MY Account at as long as you have the deceased’s username, password and know the answer to the account’s security questions.
  4. If the above information is not known, contact Customer Service link.
  5. If required anytime throughout whatever AOL process you are pursuing, you can contact AOL Customer Support Team at 1.800.827.6364.

Other Email Providers

If your email provider is not listed above, their respective website will provide the most current information on this subject.

Next Steps

  1. Please include your email account information in your LEO Profile. By doing this your trusted individuals can avoid an abundance of difficulties.
  2. Consider an executor with computer program experience to resolve these types of issues.
  3. Another consideration to help your executor would be to appoint a Digital Trustee to handle your digital issues. All of this can be accomplished in your LEO account.
  4. Get organized! Have a plan!

Peace of mind will be the result for you and those you leave behind.