How to Close a Wealthfront Account for You or a Deceased Loved One

Updated

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Wealthfront is one of many robo-advisor startups that allow you to combine banking, investing, bill pay, and borrowing into one platform. As convenient as it is to combine all of your investments and banking needs into one location, there might come a day when you need to close accounts such as these. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Unused accounts are prime targets for hackers who will try and access your banking information, investments, and credit/debit cards. Are you unsure where to start? Invest the time it takes to close these accounts toward keeping your finances and the finances of those you love safe.

Tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, closing accounts and other aspects of handling a loved one's 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 Wealthfront Account

There are several accounts you might own on Wealthfront and each has its own requirements for closure. The two most common accounts are cash accounts and investment accounts. Though instructions are similar, follow instructions for each to ensure closure for both accounts.

Closing a cash account

Cash accounts with Wealthfront are similar to checking accounts with your bank. Cash flows to and through the account and you can spend or invest from the lump sum at will. Closure of this account will come with no fees or penalties.

1. Transfer all funds

Before you can close your cash account, all funds must be transferred out of your Wealthfront account and back into your externally-linked account.

To transfer funds, you’ll need to schedule a one-time transfer from Wealthfront to your externally linked account. Once funds clear and there is a $0 balance in your cash account, you can continue with the remaining steps.

2. Withdraw final interest payment

Depending on when you schedule your cash withdrawal, you might have one final withdrawal to make - your interest payment.

Check your account on the first business day of the month after you make your final withdrawal. If an interest payment has been deposited into our account, withdraw it immediately by transferring it to your linked bank account.

3. Contact customer service

Once all cash has been withdrawn, contact customer service and tell them you want to close the account. You can contact one of three ways:

  • Online form without logging in
  • Online form when logged in
  • Customer service phone number 

4. Confirm account closure

If you fill out a form, you’ll be emailed by customer service confirming your request for account closure. Reply to the email and confirm the request. Customer service will then close your account.

If you call, you’ll be able to close the account while you’re talking with a customer service representative.

Closing an investment account

Closing an investment account only requires a few steps to complete the process. While similar to closing a cash account, there are a few important differences to note.

Option 1: Liquidate account and transfer cash

To close an investment account, you need to liquidate the account. One way to accomplish this is to transfer all cash associated with the account to your linked bank account. Make sure there are no pending actions associated with the account before transferring cash to your bank account.

Option 2: Liquidate account and transfer to another institution

If you don’t want to deposit your investment money into a bank account, your other option is to transfer the account out as is to another investment institution that may or may not support the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS). Institutions you can transfer your account to include:

  • ACAT-eligible firms 
  • Non-ACAT-eligible firms
  • Other investment firms offering Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

Confirm account closure

Once your account is liquidated or transferred, the account will automatically close. You’ll still have access to statements and documents for tax purposes, but no further trading will be taking place in your investment account.

Update personal records

Once you’ve closed down applicable accounts, be sure to update personal records so they accurately reflect the current state of your assets and accounts. List accounts that are current, those you’ve closed, and include confirmation numbers for closed accounts.

Updating your records will make it easier for loved ones to assess the state of your digital afterlife when they need to settle affairs.

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How to Close a Deceased Loved One’s Wealthfront Account

As an executor, it will likely be your responsibility to close your loved one’s Wealthfront accounts and any other accounts with financial institutions. If this is the case, follow these steps.

1. Contact Wealthfront customer service

The first step in the process is to contact customer service and let them know of your loved one’s death. Upon notifying Wealthfront, a representative can let you know of any updated requirements for needed documentation.

On your end, you may want to check your loved one’s password manager for passwords and account information if you don’t already have it handy.

2. Gather required paperwork and documentation

Wealthfront staff will need several pieces of paperwork to confirm the death of your loved one and your right to close accounts. At a minimum, you will need the following items.

Certified death certificate

A certified death certificate is required by all financial institutions when closing a deceased relative’s account. You can get a death certificate by contacting the Office of Vital Records in the state where your loved one passed away.

The first copy may cost anywhere between $10-15, with subsequent copies costing less. The expense can be reimbursed to you through the estate.

Proof of your executorship

Only the executor of an estate or court-appointed small estate manager has the authority to close accounts and transfer money. Because of this, you’ll need to prove that you are the executor of your loved one’s estate and that you are closing the account as part of your executor duties.

Proof of executorship includes one of the following:

  • Court-Certified Executorship
  • Personal Representative Documentation
  • Court-provided Letters Testamentary
  • Court-provided Letter of Administration

If your loved one has a small estate that isn’t large enough to go through probate, the courts might offer you a small estate affidavit, instead of executorship documents. This affidavit is equal in credibility to executorship documents and is also accepted by financial institutions.

A valid form of ID

In addition to documents providing your role as executor, you’ll need to provide proof of your identification. Accepted forms of identification include:

  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Valid Passport
  • U.S. Military Identification
  • Permanent Residence Card

3. Write a letter of instruction

A letter of instruction instructs Wealthfront regarding what to do with your loved one’s accounts. In this letter, you should specify you want to liquidate all assets, list their account numbers, and include where liquidated funds should be sent.

4. Mail documentation packet

Mail all required documentation including your letter of instruction to the address that Wealthfront representatives provide.

Ask the post office for a tracking number for the packet and request a signature on the receiving end so you’ll know when the packet has reached Wealthfront.

5. Contact customer service and confirm account closure

Customer service should call or email you to confirm account closure for your loved one. If you don’t hear from Wealthfront after two weeks, contact customer service again and inquire about the packet you sent.

Once Wealthfront has processed the packet and followed the instructions in your letter, funds will be liquidated and the account permanently closed. You will still have access to paperwork and documents for tax purposes.

Closing Investment Accounts

If you or a loved one has financial accounts no longer in use, it’s always smart to consolidate funds and close them out. Keeping track of accounts will prevent unnoticed feeds, late charges, and potential hacker activity.


Sources

  1. “Close your cash account.” Help Center, Wealthfront, 2021. support.wealthfront.com/hc/en-us/articles/360043850672-Close-your-Cash-Account
  2. “How do I close my investment account?” Help Center, Wealthfront, 2021. support.wealthfront.com/hc/en-us/articles/211007363-How-do-I-close-my-investment-account-
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