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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32255
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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As family we are trying to access my passed away brother's

Customer Question

As family we are trying to access my passed away brother's Hotmail account. We have been told by company to get a court order just to make it by law. Could you please tell me what kind of solicitor is needed for such case?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Greater Manchester
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Been in contact with the company and gathered all needed documents
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: That was all
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 16 days ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

Expert:  Joshua replied 16 days ago.

I am sorry to read of the above and please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.

May I confirm if your brother made a will and if so, who has been appointed as executor of that will please?

Expert:  Joshua replied 16 days ago.
Do you have any further information on the above please?
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

I'm following up on the above. Without some further information from you as above, I am limited in what I can say on the matter but in the hope it is helpful nonetheless, I will provide you with the following broad answer. If you are able to kindly provide me with the above further information or if you have any further questions generally, I will be delighted to expand on the following - please just reply back to me in this case:

Notwithstanding the above, in general terms under the administration of estates act, an executor appointed under a will or administrator appointed under letters of administration have legal authority in respect of your brothers assets which would include digital assets such as email accounts and so on. As such, if a grant of probate or letters of administration have been obtained in respect of your brother's estate, in principle this can be used as legal authority for the purpose of accessing your brother's account. The data protection act does not apply in relation to deceased persons despite what is commonly believed by customer service advisers

However, many service providers are not based within the U.K.'s jurisdiction and as such, different rules may apply in relation to the email account in question and it may be that the service provider will decline to provide access based on UK law and may either refuse to do so at all or impose additional requirements as a condition of doing so.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hello Joshua, I apologise on the late reply. I will try to explain you the situation and hopefully it you would end up with enough information.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
My brother has passed away unexpectedly without leaving behind any will or a formal letter of any kind in regards ***** ***** email or other stuff. Since he was the oldest in our family he was in control of saving and keeping our memories including files and family stuff locked on cloud storage and local encrypted hard disks which can only be accessed by the email we trying to get. As family we demand to get the account for such purposes in first place.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
My first move was visiting contacting Microsoft and they did guide me properly and told me its very easy case just get the court order. I do have all necessary documents including death certificate, family book, my British passport, my brother's Id's to proof the relation etc.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Theae documents were only asked by the company to provide, I hope you got the full picture of the situation and I would be very pleased with your assistance.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The company is located in Dublin outside of UK but the order must come from UK's courts for them to give us the access.
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

thank you. As above, it is likely that letters of administration will need to be obtained in relation to your brother's estate. This is a court order specifying the person with legal authority to deal with your brothers affairs. The person or persons with priority in respect of applying for letters of administration would be determined by the noncontentious probate rules:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1987/2024/article/22/made

letters of administration can be applied for the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate/apply-for-probate

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Am sorry for but could you please rephrase what you have explained in simpler manner because I don't understand much of legal terms and terminologies? I understood that our case falls under the noncontentious probate and we need a court order for that and the link you attached to "apply for letters of administration" what is that for and we still need a solicitor in this case right?
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

certainly. I expend above something that somebody will need to apply for letters off administration in respect of your brother's estate (probate). This person will either be your brother's spouse if they were married or if they were not, his parents or otherwise, one or more of his siblings.

Having obtained probate ( letters of administration) that  person(s) should have legal authority to seek access to his email account as well as of course deal with his assets generally

Expert:  Joshua replied 14 days ago.

I hope the above is of some assistance but if you have any further questions, please revert to me.

Expert:  Joshua replied 14 days ago.

I trust the above was of assistance and that you do not have any follow up questions for now. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Expert:  Joshua replied 14 days ago.

I hope I was able to answer your question. If you would like to ask me another question in the future, you can add me as a favourite Expert. You'll have the option to do that on your "My Questions" page if you choose to rate our interaction or you can request me by name if you wish. Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer and see you again in the future I hope.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Good evening Mr Joshua, after applying and obtaining the probate what would be my next move in this case? Am still wondering if I need a laywer for this case and if so what kind of solicitor I should be hiring? I have been told someone speclised in digital law but unsure.
Expert:  Joshua replied 13 days ago.

I am not sure you would need a solicitor. Having obtained the grant of probate as above it would be a case of contacting the account provider you wish to access and providing an office copy of the grant of probate you have obtained. Providing you are named on the grant of probate they should then deal with you as the legal administrator and provide access.