By Cox Media Group National Content Desk
British Columbia, Canada — Peggy Bush never would’ve imagined a password would cause her so much grief after the death of the husband.
The 72-year-old Canadian woman shared an Apple computer and an iPad with her husband, but she didn’t know the password to the devices. Her husband had always logged onto them.
“I just had the iPad,” she told CBC. “I didn’t touch his computer (because) it was too confusing to me. I didn’t realize he had a specific password (that) I should have known about. It just never crossed my mind.”
Bush realized that she didn’t know the password to the Apple account when a game she was playing on one of the devices alerted her that she had to log in again. Bush’s daughter called the company to explain the situation, expecting a simple solution. Instead, the family was told the company needed more official paperwork.
“I could get pensions, I could get benefits, I could get all kinds of things,” Bush said. “But from Apple I couldn’t even get a silly little password? It just seemed (like) nonsense.”
Bush’s daughter, Donna Bush, called Apple multiple times and provided the company with copies of her father’s will and a notarized death certificate. Still, the mother and daughter were unable to obtain the password. Donna was told she would need a court order.
“You need to go to court to do that,” Donna said she was told. “I was just completely flummoxed. I said that was ridiculous. All I want to do is download a card game for my mother on the iPad. I don’t want to have to go to court in order to do that.”
Donna wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook detailing the situation and why she thought it was unfair that her mother should have to obtain a court order, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Months passed by with no resolution. Peggy Bush bought a new computer – one that wasn’t Apple brand.
When Apple was finally contacted by media outlets about the issue, the company reached out to the Bushes, calling the situation a “misunderstanding” and offered to help the family solve the problem.
“We’d really like Apple to develop a policy that is far more understanding of what people go through, especially at this very difficult time in our family’s life, having just lost my dad,” Donna Bush said.
The company hasn’t provided a comment regarding customers trying to retrieve digital information of deceased family members.
“More and more people are transferring their lives online, and it’s going to become a greater and greater proportion of one’s estate,” said Daniel Nelson, a Toronto estate lawyer who specializes in digital assets.