Ready to close your Fidelity account? You may find that Fidelity no longer meets your needs and it’s time to close your account. Alternatively, you may find yourself needing to close a Fidelity account on behalf of a loved one who has passed away. Here, we’ll break down the steps you should take to make this happen.
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How to Close a Deceased Loved One’s Fidelity Account
People have become more aware of their potential digital afterlife. As a result, many are leaving specific instructions for their next of kin. They might leave a comprehensive list of their accounts and access to a password manager. Even if you don’t have that luxury, Fidelity makes the account closing process relatively straightforward.
Step 1: Notify Fidelity that an account holder has died
Notify Fidelity immediately once an account holder has passed away. You can follow this link to get the ball rolling. It’s not unusual for people to feel overwhelmed immediately after a loved one dies. Fidelity doesn’t expect you to immediately start the closure process. But this will limit activity on the deceased’s accounts and ensure they stay secure until you’re ready to continue the process. For this step, you’ll need the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Social Security number
Step 2: Obtain necessary documentation
All financial entities will require certain documents before distributing any assets. The death certificate is one of them. If a funeral home handled end-of-life services for the deceased, contact the funeral director. They can provide you with certified copies of the death certificate. If there’s no funeral director for you to reach out to, you can contact your state’s vital records office for copies instead.
If you’re serving as the executor for the deceased’s estate, you’ll need another document called a letter of testamentary. A letter of testamentary is a legal document that demonstrates you have the right to make arrangements on behalf of the deceased. If you were named as executor in the deceased’s will, you’ll need to file the will in probate court. Then a judge can issue the letter of testamentary that empowers you to act on the estate’s behalf.
If you’re not the executor but the direct beneficiary, you can skip the letter of testamentary. The death certificate should be sufficient, as Fidelity will have your beneficiary status on file.
Pro tip: Request several certified copies of the death certificate and the letter of testamentary. You’ll need to present them to many different entities besides Fidelity.
Step 3: Re-establish contact with Fidelity
Once you’re ready to proceed, reach out to Fidelity again. You can submit the death certificate online and set up a meeting to speak to a representative. If you’re serving as executor, you can also submit the letter of testamentary at this time.
If you’re a beneficiary, Fidelity will communicate the details of the accounts the deceased held with them. You can get certain types of accounts transferred directly to your bank account without penalty. However, other assets like a retirement account might have unexpected tax repercussions for you. Fidelity can help you figure out the best way to disburse certain accounts. You may also want to bring a trusted financial advisor on board when you consult with Fidelity to ensure you’re receiving funds in the best way.
If you’re performing executor duties, tell Fidelity where the money should go. The best way to do this will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Again, you may want to bring a financial advisor on board if you’re not well-versed in the types of accounts the deceased had.
Generally speaking, Fidelity should be able to disburse funds to the appropriate parties in as little as five to seven days.
How to Close Your Own Fidelity Account
As we outlined above, Fidelity is very open about how to close an account after death. The brokerage is similarly transparent about closing a personal account as well. Here are the steps you should take.
Step 1: Gather needed information
You don’t need much information to close your Fidelity account. There is some information you should have handy, including the following:
- Your address
- Your phone number
- The account numbers for any accounts you want to close
- The last four digits of your Social Security number
This information will confirm your identity when you contact Fidelity.
Step 2: Know where you’d like your funds to go
Many reasons may cause you to close a Fidelity account. Maybe you need to liquidate some funds for a purchase. Perhaps you’re changing your investment strategy. Or perhaps you’ve switched jobs and your new 401(k) is with a different provider. Your reasons for closing your account will determine whether they transfer your funds to another financial services company or release them to you.
Step 3: Contact Fidelity and close your account
There are a few different ways to close your account. The most efficient way is to call Fidelity directly at 1-800-343-3548. You can speak to a representative that will guide you through the process of closing your account.
You can also log into your account online and transfer funds out of your account. Some people think just moving the funds out of the account is sufficient. However, you need to fully close the account. Leaving it open, even with a zero balance, leaves you at risk for fraudulent activity by an unauthorized user. You can send a message through the online chat to initiate the closing process.
Finally, you can visit a Fidelity branch in person. If you go that route, consider calling ahead to set up an appointment. That can make the process go much more quickly.
Closing a Fidelity Account Made Simple
Whether you’re closing your own account or deleting the Fidelity account of a deceased person, Fidelity makes the process relatively easy. Remember at the end of the day that Fidelity is a business. While it’s good that it offers guidance on how to close accounts, you may want to confirm Fidelity’s advice independently. “Trust but verify” is always a good motto.
- “Customer Service: Account features and management.” Fidelity. https://www.fidelity.com/customer-service/account-maintenance/
- “Notify Fidelity of a death.” Fidelity Transition Services. https://digital.fidelity.com/prgw/digital/transitionservices/notify-of-death