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My brother died a few months ago. I requested from Google, via an online form, the email data of my brother. Now they have replied and told that they need a court order from US to proceed further. Their reply contained little information. (I received a unfilled form in PDF.)

I live in India and belong to a lower middle class family. Foreign word means something "non existing" to my family. So we can't go to United States.

How should I further proceed? Is there any online way to sort out things?

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  • Two questions: Did your brother have a will? Do you have explicit legal ownership of the data? In the US, this would most commonly be granted by a probate court, or prior joint ownership, the latter of which doesn't sound like you have. But, according to about 5 minutes of research, in India, probate is apparently run according to religious rules? Or different rules for different religons? – sharur Dec 23 '19 at 5:43
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One alternative would be to identify a U.S. lawyer who practices in the U.S. and hire that lawyer to handle things. The lawyer will probably need a retainer up front to cover the lawyer's fees, which may be as little as fifteen hundred to three thousands dollars depending upon the complexity of the situation. It is rarely necessary for you to be present in person in the U.S. for the lawyer to take action on your behalf.

If the brother died in the U.S., the location where you would want to hire a lawyer would be the state where he died, and the lawyer would be opening up a probate proceeding.

If the brother died in India, the location where you would want to hire a lawyer would be the state where Google's headquarters is located (California), and the lawyer would be opening up either a probate proceeding (if there was were no legal proceedings related to his death in India) or an ancillary probate proceeding (if there was a probate proceeding in India for him).

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You should contact the U.S. State Department via your local U.S. consulate or Embassy. Part of any diplomatic mission will be assisting in legal hurdles for international issues. If you can provide your region and include major cities, it shouldn't be hard to find the nearest U.S. Foreign-Mission to you, and you likely do not need to physically go there for initial service. Most physically large nations will have a few consulates that are scattered throughout the nation, while Embassies typically tend to be in the capital city and provide more services (Consulates will typically have services for general public, including immigration, passport, and legal services. Embassies have these services plus diplomatic services).

Alternatively, both India and the United States are common law jurisdictions and many U.S. tech companies have offices and operations in India (over in the U.S., the Indian Tech Support guy is a sterotype in media, as many tech firms used/have used call centers in India for tech support/ help lines. Google almost certainly has a legal pressence in India that would fall under Indian court systems' jurisidiction and it is a market they would be trying to court favor with (having a 7th of the world's population in the billions, Google is gonna want to go for market dominance in India).

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  • You can find the consulates yourself by searching the website state.gov. – hszmv Nov 22 '19 at 13:43
  • I just checked US Embassy is in New Delhi. Not very far. But US consulates are in South Delhi. Very far from me. I read somewhere that Embassy alao provides services that conaulate does. Going to Embassy would help? – Vikas Nov 22 '19 at 16:20
  • @GeorgeWhite generally embassies that provide consular services have a "consular section" for that purpose. But not all embassies have a consular section. For example, the US mission to the Netherlands handles visa and passport applications only at the consulate general in Amsterdam. These services are not available at the embassy in The Hague. I don't know whether a similar situation exists in India. – phoog Nov 23 '19 at 16:04
  • The U.S. Embassy New Delhi | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India is also the Consulates General in India, with 4 other consulates in in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. – Mark Johnson Dec 17 '20 at 5:22
  • @MarkJohnson the point of your comment is unclear to me. There are four consulates general in India, in the cities you named, but the US Embassy is not among them, because it is an embassy. – phoog Dec 17 '20 at 14:24

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