Identify accounts to close

Manage Accounts

It’s important to know how many accounts a deceased person owned at the time they passed away to prevent fraud or further unnecessary charges.

Identify all physical and digital accounts you’ll need to close by looking in typical places, such as credit card or bank statements, recent mail, emails, and paper files.

It can take some time to discover all of the deceased’s accounts, and not all the information may be available through a physical search.

Set aside some time to look through recent computer files and to talk to friends and family to learn more about whether other accounts existed.

At this early stage, the goal is to determine the number and type of accounts held by the deceased.

Some of those accounts might be inaccessible or require some short-term management and maintenance, which will be addressed later.

Common accounts include:

  • Social media accounts
  • Email accounts
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Digital subscriptions
  • Physical subscriptions

Helpful Tips


  1. See if you can access their accounts through their phone, computer or tablet
  2. Check for dedicated account apps on their phone as well as on the web browsers on their phone, computer or tablet
  3. If you have access to their computer, phone or tablet, look for scanned or uploaded documents in places like Dropbox or Google Drive
  4. If you don’t have access to their email account contact the email service provider to see about getting access
  5. Look for any paper files, including recently received mail and stored files
  6. If you have access to the deceased’s wallet, look for any membership or account cards

Follow the procedures set out by the email service provider.

Links to the most common email providers' procedures for gaining access to an email account are provided below. Submit a request to the email service provider with any required supporting documentation.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Yahoo’s terms of service prohibit them allowing access/giving passwords to a deceased person’s account.

Personal Considerations


Do you have access to the deceased's email?


Look for service subscriptions and account access information in their inbox.

Identify recurring payments and make a note of the account number and the billing amount.

If the deceased has many saved emails, use search terms to find evidence of accounts.

Use terms such as:

  • Renewal
  • Receipt
  • Payment confirmation
  • Subscription
  • Account
  • Payment
  • Password change

If the deceased’s password was saved on their computer, you should be able to access their email account from there.

If their email is not accessible via a desktop or laptop login, most people add their most important email address to their phone.

Look for an email app on their phone or look for notifications of received emails to open that app.

Find and forward relevant emails about accounts to another address in case the phone service is terminated or the email login access expires.

Spend some time hunting down any other online accounts by following these steps:

  • If the deceased had a Google/Gmail account, click on “My Account” and then “Security.” This will show all websites to which Google Single Sign On has access to.
  • If the deceased had an Apple account, go to their Apple ID, click “Security”, then “Sign in with Apple” then “Manage apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used their Facebook account to access other websites, go to “Settings” and then “apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used one or more email accounts, search for the terms “account verification” and “verify”
  • Check for browser-based saved accounts.

Create a list of all accounts you find, along with any important details, and whether or not you have access to them.


Research the required process for requesting access to someone’s email account.

Most email service providers have specified steps you can take to get access to these email accounts.

In order to request access to a deceased person’s email account, submit a written request to the email service provider with any required documentation to support the access request.

You may have to rely on paper records as well as recently received mail to track down the deceased's accounts.


If you have access to the deceased’s email:

Look for service subscriptions and account access information in their inbox.

Identify recurring payments and make a note of the account number and the billing amount.

If the deceased has many saved emails, use search terms to find evidence of accounts.

Use terms such as:

  • Renewal
  • Receipt
  • Payment confirmation
  • Subscription
  • Account
  • Payment
  • Password change

If the deceased’s password was saved on their computer, you should be able to access their email account from there.

If their email is not accessible via a desktop or laptop login, most people add their most important email address to their phone.

Look for an email app on their phone or look for notifications of received emails to open that app.

Find and forward relevant emails about accounts to another address in case the phone service is terminated or the email login access expires.

Spend some time hunting down any other online accounts by following these steps:

  • If the deceased had a Google/Gmail account, click on “My Account” and then “Security.” This will show all websites to which Google Single Sign On has access to.
  • If the deceased had an Apple account, go to their Apple ID, click “Security”, then “Sign in with Apple” then “Manage apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used their Facebook account to access other websites, go to “Settings” and then “apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used one or more email accounts, search for the terms “account verification” and “verify”
  • Check for browser-based saved accounts.

Create a list of all accounts you find, along with any important details, and whether or not you have access to them.

If you cannot access the deceased person’s email account,:

Research the required process for requesting access to someone’s email account.

Most email service providers have specified steps you can take to get access to these email accounts.

In order to request access to a deceased person’s email account, submit a written request to the email service provider with any required documentation to support the access request.

You may have to rely on paper records as well as recently received mail to track down the deceased's accounts.


Did the deceased have paper records?


Review all paper records as well as recently received mail.

Look for bank statements, general account statements, and privacy statements (which can tell you that an account exists with that company, even if you can’t yet find account numbers).

Check mailboxes, physical offices, and P.O. boxes for any other materials, especially if the deceased also owned a business with a separate mailing address.


Attempt to review all online and computer-based materials.

In lieu of paper records, many people use digital storage options such as Google Suite, Microsoft Sharepoint, EverNote, or Dropbox.

Look for these accounts stored in a password provider or the deceased’s search history.

A general search for online accounts is a good starting point, but most people have online accounts they’ve forgotten about or inactive ones.

Spend some time hunting down any other online accounts by following these steps:

  • If the deceased had a Google/Gmail account, click on “My Account” and then “Security.” This will show all websites to which Google Single Sign On has access to.
  • If the deceased had an Apple account, go to their Apple ID, click “Security”, then “Sign in with Apple” then “Manage apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used their Facebook account to access other websites, go to “Settings” and then “apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used one or more email accounts, search for the terms “account verification” and “verify”
  • Check for browser-based saved accounts

Create a list of all these accounts, any important details, and whether or not you have access to them.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Record this information in a spreadsheet or other document so you can update it over time, especially if you do close these accounts.


If the deceased had paper records:

Review all paper records as well as recently received mail.

Look for bank statements, general account statements, and privacy statements (which can tell you that an account exists with that company, even if you can’t yet find account numbers).

Check mailboxes, physical offices, and P.O. boxes for any other materials, especially if the deceased also owned a business with a separate mailing address.

If the deceased did not have paper records,:

Attempt to review all online and computer-based materials.

In lieu of paper records, many people use digital storage options such as Google Suite, Microsoft Sharepoint, EverNote, or Dropbox.

Look for these accounts stored in a password provider or the deceased’s search history.

A general search for online accounts is a good starting point, but most people have online accounts they’ve forgotten about or inactive ones.

Spend some time hunting down any other online accounts by following these steps:

  • If the deceased had a Google/Gmail account, click on “My Account” and then “Security.” This will show all websites to which Google Single Sign On has access to.
  • If the deceased had an Apple account, go to their Apple ID, click “Security”, then “Sign in with Apple” then “Manage apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used their Facebook account to access other websites, go to “Settings” and then “apps & websites”
  • If the deceased used one or more email accounts, search for the terms “account verification” and “verify”
  • Check for browser-based saved accounts

Create a list of all these accounts, any important details, and whether or not you have access to them.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Record this information in a spreadsheet or other document so you can update it over time, especially if you do close these accounts.


Manage Accounts