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.