How to Request Access to a Deceased Family Member's Apple Accounts

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In the unfortunate event that a family member dies without sharing passwords or other Apple account information, there’s still a way to get Apple to provide access. Read on for details.

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Thanks for the info. I don’t have need for the information now, but it is something good to know.
Since I’m not immortal, long ago I gave my wife the password data to my 1Password [family] account and likewise I have her password to her account (we have a common vault for information that might be required by the other, like credit cards and other info). And my sons and daughter know also my password.
One obviously has to trust the other person with sensitive data. No other non-bureaucratic solution exists

That was my goal—I sincerely hope no TidBITS readers need this information. Just a little preparation now could save families a great deal of trouble down the road.

If someone has set up a Living Trust instead of a will that would normally go to probate court, I would hope that Apple would accept all the documentation from the Trust, rather than forcing someone to go to court. Avoiding probate court is the whole purpose of a setting up a Trust.

And look what popped up today:

I wonder if Apple’s policies were different in Austria, since it would seem that the policy would have eliminated the problem discussed in the article.

Good information, Adam. I had an experience along these lines that may be helpful to others. I was next-of-kin to someone who died with a small ($100) credit on his iTunes account. I wanted to recover this credit mainly to give it to his sisters (who had probably given him iTunes gift cards in the first place). It took many, many phone calls and emails to Apple support before I even found someone familiar with Apple’s policy in these matters. In this case, Apple requires a copy of the Death Certificate, and a notarized copy of proof of your legal standing as the decedent’s representative, which can take the form of a Small Estate Affidavit or Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property (see which form your state offers). Even then, Apple will not simply transfer the credit from one Apple ID to another. They will insist on closing the deceased’s account entirely, and then they will issue a check for any credit on the account. For various personal reasons, we weren’t ready to close his account yet, so the credit is still there.

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There is some advice about Facebook and other services here:
Digging your own digital grave: how should you manage the data you leave behind?