Getting Access to Accounts of the Deceased

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Overview

This article lists alternative methods for obtaining access to an account in the unfortunate circumstance that the account owner has passed away.

Information you must obtain to gain access to an account

If an individual has passed away that had a DreamHost account which you must access, please fax, mail, or email the following information:

  1. Your identification verification if you are the estate receiver (e.g., driver license, photo ID card, passport, and so on).
  2. Either the WebID (username), email address, or website name of the individual who passed away that you are trying to access.
  3. A copy of the death certificate of the deceased.
  4. A copy of the document that gives you power of attorney over the DreamHost account or estate receiver of the deceased.
  5. If the Dreamhost account owner was under the age of 18, please send a copy of their birth certificate to verify their age and to verify you are the parent of the individual. In this case, power of attorney is not required.

Mailing the required information

If you will be mailing the above information, please use the following address:

DreamHost Web Hosting Attn: Abuse Team
PMB #257 417 Associated Rd.
Brea, CA 92821 USA
(Please write your account number or email address on the top of all of your forms to easily identify them.)

Emailing the required information

If you will be sending an email with the information described above, please send it to verifications@dreamhost.com. Make sure any attachments are in the following formats:

  • .jpg
  • .png
  • .gif
  • .pdf

Faxing the required information

DreamHost’s fax number is 1-714-671-9098.

FAQs

Q. What if I am not the estate receiver?
You will need to contact the estate receiver so they may provide you with access to the account or handing it over to you. You will need to have them contact DreamHost with the above information.
Q. The deceased and I were partners running this siteperiod. Do I still need to provide the above information to gain access to the account?
No. If you have the login information you can continue to access the account. Once logged in, you will want to change the contact information for the account. If you do not have the account login information but can verify that you have paid for the account or can verify that you own the account, please contact DeamHost support so they can verify this information for you.
Q. The deceased was my web developer and has my website, but I have the domain registration (website name). What can I do?
There are two things you can do. Please note that these are general outlines of possible scenarios:
  1. Contact your web developer's estate receiver. If they have not contacted DreamHost yet to gain access, have them submit the above information. If they do have access to the account, they will need to provide you with access or if they are in the position, they can continue your service. This is up to the estate receiver.
  2. Being that you own your website name, you have control over where to point it. So, you can purchase hosting at another company and point your registration to that new hosting company. If you would like to stay here with DreamHost, you can request to have the domain removed from your web developer's account so that you can add it to your new account that you will sign up for. However, doing so will not provide you with access to the website files as they would be within the deceased's account. In this case, you would need to either gain permission or be given access to the account from the estate receiver. Additionally, if DreamHost is not the current registrar, and you still want to host your website at DreamHost, you will need to provide proof to DreamHost that you are the registrant (domain owner). Contact DreamHost support for further information regarding this.
Q. The deceased was my web developer and has my website files and my domain registration (website name). What can I do?
If the Registration's WHOIS displays your contact information with a verifiable email address, then the registration is yours and you can choose to have it moved to your own new account. . If the WHOIS information does not have your contact information, DreamHost will not be able to release the name to you. At this point, DreamHost will only be able to release the name to the verified estate receiver and you will need to gain access from them.
Q. What if I don't know who the estate receiver is? Or, what if I have the contact information for them but my website is on that account?
While DreamHost cannot endeavor to identify or contact the estate receiver directly, if you contact DreamHost support, they will attempt to contact the account owner using the account's contact email address. While this is not likely to be productive in the case of a deceased account owner, if the estate receiver has already obtained access to the account owner's email account, this could result in DreamHost reaching the estate receiver. If this proves unsuccessful, you can always buy a new name and start over with your website, wait for the name to expire and then become available for public purchase again, or seek legal counsel on how to obtain access to the files.
Q. I have an account here at Dreamhost but would like to take action to ensure in case of an event where I can no longer access my account, I can designate someone else to do so. Does Dreamhost provide this type of feature?
Yes. There are three things you can do (DreamHost offers the the first two options described below):
  1. You can simply add additional email addresses to your "Contact Info" page. Then, if the day comes that they need to access your account, they just need to write in from either of those addresses and ask for account access. In other words, you can add any number of alternate email addresses, one at a time. After you save the address in the second box, DreamHost shows both addresses plus a third "add one here" box.
  2. You can also give special instructions on who is to be given access to your account in case of your death, and then DreamHost will place these instructions on your account’s internal note system (e.g., I would like my sister, Jane Doe [janed25@example.com or 1-555-555-5555] to be given access to my account upon her sending in my Death certificate).
  3. You can also use third party sites that offer this type of service. For example:
    • Legacylocker.com,
    • LegalZoom.com
    • Deathswitch.com