Apple officials demand widow get court order to obtain Apple ID password after husband's death

CANADA -- It is an issue that is becoming more commonplace after a loved one passes away. Who owns what we create online once we die? The tech giant Apple is demanding a Canadian widow get a court order in order to obtain her late husband's password.

Peggy Bush had a lot to deal with after her husband passed away. The 72-year-old didn't think the most complicated thing would be getting a password.

"I could get pensions, I could get benefits, I could get all kinds of things. But from Apple, I couldn't even get a silly little password? It just seemed like nonsense," Bush said.

The couple had an iPad and an Apple computer. Bush didn't know the Apple ID password.

"It just never crossed my mind," Bush said.

When her card game stopped working, she needed that password.

"I just called Apple and said 'what do we do about this' -- thinking it would be a fairly simple thing to take care of," Donna Bush, Peggy Bush's daughter said.

Peggy Bush and her daughter sent Apple the serial numbers, her husband's will, and a notarized death certificate -- and after several phone calls, they finally got an answer.

"You need a court order. You need to go to court to do that. 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 Bush said.

After Go Public contacted Apple, officials with the tech giant called Donna Bush and said there was a misunderstanding -- offering help without a court order.

Apple officials won't talk about the company's policy.

Estate lawyer Daniel Nelson specializes in what's called digital assets.

"It's definitely going to become a bigger issue. More and more people are transferring their lives online and it's going to become a greater and greater proportion of one's estate," Nelson said.

We mostly own what we do online -- but access is controlled by providers -- like Apple. Some advice -- wills should include how to deal with digital assets and where to find passwords -- but not the passwords themselves.