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Lost A Loved One: How To Close Online Accounts?

Libby R. from Colorado writes:

My Mother passed away two years ago and I thought I had closed out her MSN acct. Two weeks ago I received spam email from that account. When I went into her MSN account, it automatically made me change over to the Outlook acct. I deleted all of the email that had been received, deleted all of her contacts, then attempted to permanently close the account through the profile section. I got a pop up saying I had to do something in the MSN account, but I don’t see where I can do anything. How do I close this account permanently?? Thanks


My condolences on your loss. A common difficulty after such a sad situation is trying to close down accounts that belonged to the recently departed.

To close the Microsoft account

  1. Go to the Microsoft account overview [1] webpage, and then sign in with your Microsoft account.
  2. Click Close account.
  3. Verify that the correct Microsoft account appears, type your password, and then click Next.
  4. Click deactivate the Hotmail account.
  5. Click Close account.

To close only the Outlook.com or Hotmail account

The Outlook.com or Hotmail account will become inactive if no one signs in for more than 270 days or within the first 10 days after signing up for the account. After an account becomes inactive, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted, and incoming messages are sent back to the sender as undeliverable. If you want to close the account right away:            

  1. Visit the close account  [2] webpage.
  2. Follow the instructions, and then click Close account to close the account.

Other Providers/Services

If you run into a situation where you cannot access the person’s account or can’t find instructions online to close the account, you can always contact customer service for the provider. Most companies have policies and procedures set up to help with this difficult situation. Keep in mind though, they may require some form of verification or documentation from the executor of the estate to verify that the account holder is deceased in order to prevent fraudulent closures of people’s accounts without their permission.