As I continue to wade through the paperwork that was my late mother's life, one of the things that I never thought to do was check her email account on AOL, which has been steadily filling with crap for the past two months since she passed away.
We searched her desk and found nothing about a password. Since she got her first computer, she has been an AOL user, and I have heard horror stories from people who have tried to cancel the service for deceased loved ones.
I too encountered this on my first call:
ME: My mother used AOL for her email account - she has passed away and I need to access the account. How do we arrange this?
AOL: I'm sorry for your loss. But your mother would need to give you that password.
ME: That would be difficult, she's dead.
AOL: I'm terribly sorry but users passwords are something that we don't keep on file. You would need to speak with her to gain access to that information.
ME: How do I speak with her if she's dead. I would need a Ouija Board or a medium.
AOL: I don't quite understand your point, sir.
It took two more calls before I got connected to a very nice operator who apologized, this time for the people I had spoken with before.
ME: Do you get my frustration?
AOL: I mostly do. Unfortunately, some people will say just about anything to cancel a service. Let me tell you what our procedure is for circumstances like this...
In essence AOL sent me fax, and I sent them copies of the death certificate and the letter appointing me as Executor. So now I wait, and a bit of me feels a bit sad. The contents of the email account will represent the last unexplored "treasure" left to me by my mother. I miss her very much.