On You and Yours today (BBC R4), was a situation where the mother of 5 boys die from cancer, but had 2 years ago bought an Apple iPad for playing games, and being able to communicate with her sons.
Following her death, the sons (ages not given, but assume late teens/ twenties) are splitting her estate. Some already had their own iPads, but the joint decision was for the eldest son, who had no iPad, to be the new owner.
Trying to update to the most recent version of iOS, they were asked for their mother's Apple ID and password, and knew neither.
After providing Apple with death certificate, etc, etc (which seemed to be the items requested), Apple have come back and said it needs a court order for them to consider it beyond doubt that the sons should be allowed access (because, they claim, it will give access to the Cloud storage and they are concerned about privacy). As their solicitor charges 200 GBP/hour, they have currently given up on this because the cost of getting the iPad usable seems excessive...
BBC asked about it, and Apple won't consider individual cases, still demand a court order. Seems that with their solicitor already acting on Probate, there will be a court document that will eventually allow it.
Moral of the story - for any "silver surfers" (and in all honesty, for all users, just in case of a car accident or some other loss of life), is to have your login details available, perhaps in a sealed envelope, so family can use your Apple iPhone or iPad without Apple causing significant delay and possibly some expenses on top.