Accessing Another’s Email

This entry is part 12 of 20 in the series Gmail Master

This time we take a look at what you need to do if to get access to one of your loved one’s Gmail after they are deceased.

This item has been in the news and fortunately for us, Google has a standard procedure.

You will need to provide Google with the following information in written format. You can send it via fax or postal mail. That information is provided below.

1) Your full name and contact information. Please include a verifiable email address.

2) The Gmail address of the person who passed away.

3) The entire message from the account you are requesting access to. This includes not only the message body, but the full message header. The full header can be obtained by opening the message in Gmail and click on ‘More options,’ then click ‘Show original.’ Copy everything from ‘Delivered- To:’ through the ‘References:’ line.

To obtain headers from other webmail or email providers, please refer to http://www.spamcop.com/help_with_headers/)

4. You will also need to provide a copy of the death certificate of the deceased.
5. and a copy of the document that gives you Power of Attorney over the Gmail account.
6. If you are the parent of the individual, include a copy of the Birth Certificate if the Gmail account owner was under the age of 18. In this case, Power of Attorney is not required.

The postal address to send this to is:

Google Inc.
Attention: Gmail User Support
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Or the Fax number in the US is:

650-644-0358

It takes approximately 30 days for the information to be processed, but if the access is needed sooner, “it is Google’s policy to only provide information pursuant to a valid third party court order or other appropriate legal process.”

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2 Comments

  • Andy says:

    I’ve not listened to the podcast yet, but I’m a bit confused as to how you get access to number 3. Surely that is what you would get once you have accessed the account after they give you details?
    Unless this is an email that you received *from* the account, but then what if they never sent you an email from that account?

  • Chuck Tomasi says:

    You are correct… it’s a message you received FROM that person’s Gmail account. If this is one of your loved ones, hopefully you have been communicating at least infrequently. 😉