How to Permanently Close an E*TRADE Account: 4 Steps

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There’s a thrill to buying low and selling high—using your E*TRADE account to make money from a variety of investment products they offer. E*TRADE is a trading platform that includes options to trade mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and a lot more. They work to keep their fees manageable so people feel free to get involved and make choices about their investments.

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That said, there comes a time when all of us want to move our money elsewhere. We might move it to a different account or spend it on a business venture, a down payment, or whatever else we need.

Other situations can also prompt you to look into closing down investment accounts. There’s the possibility of a friend or family member dying while they still have money invested through E*TRADE. They might not have a named beneficiary on their accounts. It’s important to know what to do in uncertain situations when you’re experiencing grief.

When you’re ready to close an E*TRADE account, we have the answers you need.

Tip: If you are in that situation in which a loved one has passed away and you are left to handle their loose ends, we have a post-loss checklist that will help guide you in making sure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are in good hands.

How to Permanently Close Your E*TRADE Account

Closing your E*TRADE account isn’t particularly easy. After all, E*TRADE would love for you to come back and invest with them again.

That said, here is one way to close out your account. If you have multiple accounts, just follow the process carefully. Make sure you’re using the account number for whichever one you want to close.

Follow these steps to permanently close your E*Trade account:

  • Get your account to a zero balance.
  • Go to Messaging or the pop-up chat feature.
  • Type an Account Services request to close the account.
  • Send the message, and if asked, select a reason.

Get your account to a zero balance

The first step is to get all your money transferred out into a payout or other investments. This might mean rolling over things like 401(k)s or company-related investment products.

Be aware that cashing out certain E*TRADE products may results in fees, so always read that fine print. But closing your account is much easier once all your assets are out of the account.

Go to Messaging or the pop-up chat feature

Both the E*TRADE phone app and the browser-based service have ways to send a message or chat. Open messaging or the live chat feature and click on the account you are hoping to close.

Type an Account Services request to close the account

Once you’re in the messaging or chat section, the option you’ll want from the next drop-down menu is “Account Services.” Type a personal message that states clearly that you wish to close the account. Currently, there isn’t a drop-down menu item that lets you pick account closure in the app, so type your request and phrase it clearly.

If you’re in the browser on a computer, you may see a topics section that offers the option “Close Account.” Pick this one, but just to be sure, mention in the text of the message that you are writing to close your account.

Send the message and, if asked, select a reason

From here, just click send. If you’ve selected the “Close Account” topic, it may ask you for a reason why you’re closing your account. Pick whatever is relevant or select Other if you don’t have a reason you want to share with the company.

Within a few days of your request, you should receive an email confirmation of your account closure or a request for more information. If you get no information within a week, call E*TRADE support to clarify whether your account has been closed.

How to Permanently Close an E*TRADE Account for Someone Who Died

Closing down someone else’s E*TRADE account when they die is a thoughtful way to tidy that person’s digital legacy responsibly. There also may be matters to settle with their estate attorney or other members of the family if there were assets in the E*TRADE account that must be accounted for in a will. The following process focuses primarily on closing an account that has a zero balance.

That said, if you want to request money from the account because you are listed as a beneficiary, you may need to use one of the forms from the forms and applications section of the E*TRADE website. You’ll want to consult an attorney connected to your relative’s estate to know when this needs to happen.

It's important to consider the wishes of the deceased loved one. If they included any instructions for their accounts in their will or estate plan, it's best to follow them. This is also an important reminder to protect your own accounts and digital legacy by making a legal will. Trust & Will is a tool that helps you create a legal online will in minutes. 

Use the log-in information you have, if possible

It’s great if your friend or family member was already using a password manager and gave you access to it. In this case, you can submit a contact message, just like we mentioned earlier.

Send it from their account and confirm the account has been deleted by checking your loved one’s email. Few people make sure to give all their account access to their estate executor, but if they do, it sure makes the process quick and easy.

Contact E*TRADE support

If you don’t have information about the account or have just an account number, visit E*TRADE’s support webpage. They offer live chat options, as well as a phone number and even in-person meetings in branches. In any of these formats, you can explain the situation.

Show evidence that your relative has passed away and that you’re administering the estate, and they can help you file any necessary forms to close the account. They may request information or proof of your loved one’s death, so having a link to the obituary or a copy of the death certificate is a good plan for this stage of the process.

You'll want to take care of these accounts as soon as possible to protect your loved one's identity. It's common to do these tasks soon after the funeral. 

Tip: Host a virtual funeral online with GatheringUs

Closing an E*TRADE Account Successfully

Over time, it’s easy to get small accounts at a variety of different online investment brokers, especially since many of them offer enticing starting offers. When you’ve had enough and are ready to streamline, submit requests to close all your investment accounts with a zero balance. If you’re ready to stop investing online altogether or want to delete yourself from the internet, you’ll have to start somewhere—your E*TRADE account is as good a place as any.

The process of deleting an account, yours or that of a loved one, can put you in a mindset of looking to the future and ironing out the details of what you want. 

Want to learn more about removing accounts and streamlining your digital footprint so that you and your family won’t have more work to do later? Cake has a variety of tools that allow you to start end-of-life planning today.


Sources

  1. “Contact Us.” E*TRADE Support. us.etrade.com/contact-us
  2. “Forms and Applications.” E*TRADE. us.etrade.com/forms-applications

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