E*TRADE Financial (ETFCD)
5 stars based on
Many people prepare for the inevitability of death by creating etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will or trusts, spelling out instructions about medical care through advance directives, and naming beneficiaries on retirement accounts such as k s and IRAs.
Sometimes overlooked in estate management is the transfer of securities that are in a non-retirement brokerage account, aspects of which can be planned ahead of time. We also provide tips for making the transfer process as efficient and trouble-free as possible for account holders and also for heirs and beneficiaries. Advance planning can go a long way toward making a transition of assets easier upon death.
If you have an account with a brokerage firm, these tips can help ensure a smooth transition. The type of account you own at the time of death dictates how assets are transferred and the documents required in doing so.
Here are some common types of brokerage accounts:. A trusts and estates lawyer, together with your brokerage firm, can explain the etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will available to you in your state as well as the differences and pros and cons of account ownership rights of survivorship.
This area is governed by state law, and state laws can differ. So if you move, or if you have more than one home in multiple states, be sure to update your legal documents accordingly. A clear designation of one or more beneficiaries greatly facilitates the transfer of brokerage assets at the time of death. Like the POD Payable on Death mechanism available for bank accounts, TOD can etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will used for individual brokerage accounts and non-retirement accounts, such as mutual funds held outside a retirement plan.
Your brokerage firm can tell you which accounts are eligible. With a TOD, you keep control of the brokerage account assets during your lifetime. After you die, ownership is passed to the named beneficiaries. You can change beneficiaries or cancel your TOD throughout the life of your account, usually by filling out the documents a firm requires to make changes or revoke the TOD.
Once you die, your designated beneficiaries cannot be changed. A TOD generally allows you to avoid probate with respect to your account holdings. Probate is the state court review and disposition of an estate prior to the distribution of property to heirs.
Probate can take time and cost money. In contrast, a TOD is a straightforward way to transfer individual non-retirement brokerage holdings to someone else, often without a etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will. A Transfer on Death controls who inherits your assets when you die. It supersedes a will or trust. For example, if your will states that brokerage assets are to be divided equally between two children, but your TOD designates only one child as the beneficiary—that child alone will receive the assets, and is not obligated to share them.
Also, the way your account is titled typically changes once you make a TOD designation. While a TOD generally allows an account to avoid probate, depending on etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will size of your overall estate, estate taxes may apply on the assets in your account. Individual Retirement Accounts Beneficiary designations are frequently used in retirement plans, including Individual Retirement Accounts IRAs to determine who is entitled to account assets.
If you have more than one IRA, you generally will need to select a beneficiary for each account, and any changes you make will apply to that account only. While a k and other retirement plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of ERISA protect the surviving etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will right to a death benefit unless they elect otherwise, no such spousal rights exist with an IRA.
Upon the death of an account holder, specific procedures vary, but brokerage firms tend to follow a fairly similar process of transitioning accounts to heirs and beneficiaries. Many firms have trained staff and resources to help heirs and beneficiaries address brokerage account estate matters.
Once a firm has been notified of the death of an account holder, the firm will request a variety of etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will. These generally include some or all of the following, in whatever format the firm requires:.
Required documents differ depending on the account type at death. For example, different documents are required depending on whether the deceased had a single or joint account, whether one or both account holders are deceased, and whether the account is a trust account and the trustee or grantor has died.
Talk to your firm about your specific circumstances to get clarity on what documents the firm will need. Firms may reject the documents they receive because they are not signed in the appropriate capacity Executor, Survivor, Trusteethey etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will been completed incorrectly for example, by transposing certificate numbersinformation on the document has etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will altered, or because documents are outdated or missing etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will appropriate court seal.
Once the necessary documents are received, a new account is typically set up for the beneficiary or estate, at which time securities registered in the name of the deceased person will be transferred. Generally, no account activity buying, selling, transfer of the account to another firm can occur until legal authority is established and the new account is opened.
As with any new account, the process will include filling out a new account application that will require the beneficiary to provide some information about herself or himself and make certain decisions about the account.
Brokers use this information for several purposes, including learning about the new account owner and her financial needs, and meeting legal and regulatory obligations. If you are a beneficiary opening a new account, check out these FINRA tips about what to expect etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will you open a brokerage account. Especially etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will this is your first time working with an investment professional, but even if not, take time to:.
If you are an heir or beneficiary to brokerage account assets, these tips can help the ownership transition process go smoothly:. Not every brokerage account transfer situation is trouble-free. If problems occur, you have options. If you are unable to resolve your matter through these channels, you may file a complaint with FINRA. Advance Preparation Can Smooth the Transition: Tips for Account Holders Advance planning can go a long way toward making a transition of assets easier upon death.
Keep family members informed. Have frank and open discussions with family members about your brokerage account holdings and beneficiaries. If you are the primary decision maker of a joint account, share details of the account.
All account holders should know what investments are in their brokerage account and why these investments have been selected. Hold onto account statements and trade confirmations. Something as basic as putting account information in a safe and logical place can help heirs and beneficiaries quickly locate firm contact information and notify the firm upon death. These tips can help you keep track of your investments. Work with your brokerage firm. Brokerage firms often offer services to account holders and their beneficiaries to discuss assets, last wishes, and aspects of the transfer process on death including Transfer on Death plans discussed below.
Designate etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will with care. Designating a beneficiary can be very helpful, as discussed further below—but remember that a Transfer on Death Plan or other beneficiary document supersedes your will.
Ask your firm who they have recorded as a beneficiary for each of your accounts, and make any changes necessary to conform to etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will will or estate plan. To avoid problems, you should coordinate the beneficiary for your brokerage account with your overall estate plan.
Should you ever transfer an account to another firm, double-check with the firm that any beneficiary designations also transfer. The account transfer process is a good opportunity to confirm your beneficiary designation is in accordance etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will your wishes. Here are some common types of brokerage accounts: Individual or single account. This is an account for one person.
Assets transfer to one or more heirs or designated beneficiaries according to specifications in your will or in other transfer documents. There are different types of joint accounts including: Each party has equal right to the account's assets.
Tenants in the Entirety. This type of joint ownership is similar to JTWROS, except that it is available only to married couples in certain states. You may leave your portion of the account to your beneficiary. The surviving account holder does not have a legal right of survivorship to your portion of the account, but does have access to his or etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will portion of the account after your death.
Probate is the state court review and disposition of an estate prior to the distribution of property.
During that process, the surviving account owner will generally be able to access at least his or her share of the assets in the account. A trust allows a third party trustee to hold assets etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will behalf of one or more beneficiaries. Trusts can set specific terms in which assets pass to beneficiaries for example, passing assets to a child when he graduates from collegeand trustees are required to manage the account according to the investment specifications of the trust.
Assets transfer according to the terms of the trust, and generally avoid probate. It is important to provide your brokerage firm with a copy of the trust document, which can help smooth the transfer of assets. These generally include some or all of the following, in whatever format the firm requires: Court Letter of Appointment, which names the executor current in its date and with a visible or original court seal. State tax inheritance waiver if applicable.
For accounts held in trust, the Trustee certification showing successor trustee. For joint accounts, a Letter of Authorization signed by the surviving tenant if the assets are moving anywhere other than his or her own account. New Accounts and Account Activity During Transition Once the necessary documents are received, a new account is typically set up for the beneficiary or estate, at which time securities registered in the name of the deceased person will be transferred.
Especially if this is your first time working with an investment professional, but even if not, take time to: Get to know your broker and firm. Find out how the account is managed: These tips can help ensure a productive relationship with your investment professional.
Understand the investments in the account. Review account statements carefully. This will help you understand assets in the account. Tips for Heirs and Beneficiaries If you etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will an heir or beneficiary to brokerage account assets, these tips can help the ownership transition etrade brokerage account beneficiary vs will go smoothly: Provide all required documents, in the format and manner stated by the firm.
Know what you own. Upon taking ownership of the assets, take time to understand your investment holdings and determine whether they are right for you. In particular, learn about the risks of each investment, if there are any restrictions on when you can sell the investment liquidity risk and any fees associated with the investment.
FINRA offers information about investment products and key investment concepts.