I kind of agree with apple on this. If he wanted his wife etc to have access then he would have given her the password. What happens if there is something on that device that he never wanted her to ever see. Now that he has gone he can not explain anything that might be on that device.
I'm in the same boat. As far as I'm concerned my phone and it's data is mine. If I want someone else to have access, then I'll give it to them. I have numerous back ups online, but they're still mine. I say this to people I know when I suggest a full reset of a device and they reply, oh I can't, I have stuff on there. What if you drop it in the loo, or lose it? All that data is gone.
I worked for a bank awhile back and it was similar, we'd have couples come in, and mainly with older couples, only the male was the account holder. The wife would come in to do something and you'd have to explain, this is not your account, we can't do anything. It's just one of those things people don't like to discuss, but it makes it extremely awkward should something happen to the account holder.