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Domain owned by someone that's dead

How to retrieve a domain that I "sorta" own

   
2:36 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)



Several years ago, I built a website for a family member, and registered the domain in his name with me as every other contact. It was registered with Network Solutions.

Since that time, the registered owner has passed away.

We would like to update the registered name with his son's name, or better yet, transfer it to a less expensive registrar. But no one knows his username or password, and the email address for the account is no longer active.

The domain that held his email address is now owned by a domain squatter that's not willing to help, unless we buy the domain for $10,000.

NetSol can only help me if I fax them a photo ID and swear that I'm the owner, which obviously isn't accurate.

Any other ideas on how to transfer the domain?
3:41 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



if I fax them a photo ID and swear that I'm the owner, which obviously isn't accurate.

It isn't accurate for you. But if the original owner's estate has been through probate-- details obviously depending on your jurisdiction-- then it's perfectly truthful for his heir. Why doesn't he do it? No law against you hovering over his shoulder telling him what to type ;)

Once the new ownership is established, you can do anything you like with it.
3:28 pm on Feb 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Your solution may involve proof of probate, death certificates, letters testamentary, lawyer letters, etc.

What is the domain worth? Why bother if the person you built the site for is deceased? Solutions depend of what's at risk, usually assets of some value.

Did the domain expire? If so, did it expire before anyone on your side acted, so that the "squatting" isn't tantamount to a theft?

If the domain expired and was dropped then the existance of the email address becomes a red herring.
11:25 pm on Feb 1, 2014 (gmt 0)



What is the domain worth? Why bother if the person you built the site for is deceased? Solutions depend of what's at risk, usually assets of some value.


Interesting questions. I haven't really considered the value of the domain.

I can say that it's a quality domain (not too short, but easy to read and remember), about 18 years old, and when the site went down had a PR5 rating, so it does have significant resell value; probably in the $2,500 range. I don't think the son intended to resell it, though.

The business was a brick-and-mortar manufacturing plant and retail store for 50 years or more, with an e-commerce store. After the father died, they closed the plant, and later closed store and site. The son had worked for his dad, though, and his email is through the site, so he wants to keep it.

This is where it gets a little irritating. The son is in his 60s and not really savvy, so he's turning to me for help, and is convinced that I'm either taking advantage of him, I'm totally incompetent, or that Network Solutions is stealing from him. His main complaint is that NetSol is so expensive; I could transfer it to my bulk account and renew for $10, but in his eyes, they're holding it hostage.

This rules out a lot of options; we could go the route of an attorney, but spending $1,000 in fees to save $25 is a bit extreme.


Did the domain expire? If so, did it expire before anyone on your side acted, so that the "squatting" isn't tantamount to a theft?


Not really. It did expire at one point, and we logged in to NetSol to renew it while still in the grace period. So technically it expired, but I don't think in the manner that you meant.
 

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