A Charles Schwab brokerage account is for investors of all experience levels. With no account minimums and an easy-to-use platform, it’s simple to use this trading platform no matter your goals. However, there might come a time when you need to permanently close a Charles Schwab brokerage account.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Close Your Own Charles Schwab Account
- How to Close a Deceased Loved One's Charles Schwab Account
Whether you’re closing your own account as a way to delete your online presence or you’re completing executor duties for a loved one, you want to handle this process carefully. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to invest the money elsewhere or simply handle the affairs of a deceased relative—you always want to make sure you’re closing brokerage accounts properly.
How do you manage and close your Charles Schwab brokerage account? Keep reading for our step-by-step guide depending on your situation.
Tip: If you are in the situation in which your loved one has passed away, the other aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
How to Close Your Own Charles Schwab Account
There are primarily two ways to close your account with Charles Schwab. You can either transfer to another brokerage, or you can delete your account outright.
The main benefit of transferring is that it’s usually easier, and your new broker will usually pay the closing fee on your behalf. They might also help you make arrangements to complete the transfer. However, you can always close your account outright without transferring.
Before you begin with either of the two processes, make sure you understand your goals. If you’re hoping to work with a new broker, it’s likely best to go through them. Otherwise, feel free to close your account however makes the most sense for you.
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Transfer Step 1: Talk to your new broker
The first step if you plan to transfer your brokerage account is to talk to your next broker. Ask what their individual process is, and explain any assets you hope to move.
They’ll likely have a few next steps to take depending on who you’re transferring to, so it’s always best to consult with them first.
Transfer Step 2: Get a copy of your history
It’s important to note that your new broker will have your full transaction history. This is a legally required part of the process. Still, it’s a good idea to secure a copy of your full transaction history yourself.
To do this through Charles Schwab, navigate to your “Account” tab within the platform. From there, click “History” and explore a file.
Transfer Step 3: Authorize the transfer
The easiest way to transfer between brokers is to simply let your new broker handle this process. This is a highly specialized process, and it can be tricky if you’re not familiar with what you’re doing.
Your new broker can initiate the transfer from Charles Schwab on your behalf. To do this, you’ll need to sign an authorization. From there, they’ll contact your old broker and speed up the process.
Transfer Step 4: Wait for finalization
During the transfer process, you might have to wait a bit to access your investments and accounts. The fastest transfers are liquid cash, and if you have existing investments these will take longer.
Stay patient, and talk to your new broker about when you should expect to have access to your accounts. Once complete, keep an eye out for any close-out fees. Most brokers will cover this cost, but your new one might not depending on your agreement.
If you’d rather close your Charles Schwab brokerage account yourself, and you don’t plan to transfer any investments, follow these alternative steps.
Closure Step 1: Provide notice
You always have the right to terminate your account with Charles Schwab. However, you’re required to give formal notice. You can do this at any of the following places:
- In-person at a local branch
- Contacting customer support online
- Calling support at 866-855-9102
Closure Step 2: Complete the forms
When you’ve reached customer support in-person, online, or over the phone, request for the account to be closed. You’ll then be provided closure forms to complete. This is how you formally give notice.
Complete the forms and submit them using the representative’s instructions. Be sure to keep a copy of your completed forms for your records.
Closure Step 3: Pay fees and penalties
When you close your account with Charles Schwab, there’s what’s known as a termination fee. This should be around $50, but you might owe additional tax penalties as well.
Once your account is closed, you’ll receive a check for the amount in your Charles Schwab account. This money might also be electronically deposited into your bank depending on what you request. Verify all fees once you’ve received your payment.
How to Close a Deceased Loved One’s Charles Schwab Account
Closing a loved one’s accounts after his or her death is an important way to protect their digital afterlife. Unfortunately, there are many people who target accounts of the deceased, particularly bank accounts, and this creates a world of trouble.
Luckily, Charles Schwab has a specific division for helping loved ones manage accounts of the deceased. Follow these steps below to close a deceased loved one’s Charles Schwab brokerage account.
Step 1: Gather documents
Unfortunately, you cannot close a loved one’s Charles Schwab account through their login. That means if you have access to their account via a password manager, this won’t be enough to begin the process.
That being said, you should still gather key documents and information to send to their account services. You should gather:
- Their name (maiden name and married name)
- Social security number
- Executor documents
- Bank account documents
- Investment account documents
- Death certificate
From there, move to the next step.
Step 2: Contact the Schwab Estate Distribution Group
Charles Schwab hopes to make the estate management process as easy as possible, especially for surviving relatives. If a loved one passes, you can notify Schwab by contacting their Estate Distribution Group at 888-297-0244.
This team of specialists is there to guide you through the rest of the process. They begin by restricting the account, and they’ll assist in transferring the ownership of the account to the executor of the estate.
Step 3: Provide supporting documents
Finally, follow any additional steps given by the Estate Distribution Group. They will typically ask for documentation proving your loved one’s death as well as identification that you’re equipped to act as their financial executor.
Be sure to keep copies of any account information, updates, and so on. These are an important part of someone’s financial legacy.
Protect Your Investment Accounts
Whether you’re hoping to close your own investment account or a loved one’s accounts, it’s important to know what steps to take next. Whenever you’re handling finances or investments, you should tread carefully to avoid fees, delays, and complications.
With Charles Schwab, the process of closing a brokerage account is relatively simple. The best course of action is to contact their customer support team. As long as you’re mindful of the process, you can keep your estate and your legacy protected.
- “Losing a Loved One.” Charles Schwab Help: Family Loss. Schwab.com.