If the security is so good that they need Apple to unlock it then they can easily prove that it's their mom's device because the active account on the device is her mom.
I can't even parse this sentence. How did YOU get modded up? If you're trying to say "it should be obvious that the device belonged to the dead lady because it's the dead lady's account that is attached to the device," that doesn't follow at all because the family has yet to prove the account belongs to the dead lady either! That's the entire issue here - Apple just wants proof from the probate court that both the device and the account belonged to the lady.
No, locking someone's device without their consent is a bug. It shouldn't happen, and Apple is in the wrong for engineering a system which locks the device automatically without the owners's consent.
It's pretty simple. And yes, I know that it seemed like a good idea at the time to the idiot engineer who came up with this "solution". Lots of ideas seem good until the flaws are discovered.
What is all this garbage? It was locked with the owner's consent. The owner unfortunately did not think to leave the keys with her bequest.
For some concrete data: http://emailclientmarketshare....
44% of all email is read through one of Apple's mail clients - 36% on their mobile devices alone. I'd say Apple definitely made some contributions to the ubiquity of email connectivity in the past decade or so.