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With the first option, someone with the correct permissions to the ex-employee's e-mail account had to have access to it; most of the time you would have to show that person exactly how to get in there, or it is yourself using your own time to simply check e-mail.
With the second option, you send all e-mails back out to the ex-employee, thereby losing any potential gathering of customer wishes and requests that should go to the company. Plus, if the ex-employee is staying anywhere in the same industry, they might or might not be considered a competitor now.
I have been using the "Delivery Options" feature to forward mail to the ex-employee's own manager; this acts as a reminder in some ways. The manager will continue to get e-mail for the ex-employee, and when they feel they are tired of the junk mail or a set length of time has pasted, the account can be removed.
Dig Deeper on Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox Management