Estate Planning 101

Notifying Investment Brokers After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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When a loved one passes away, among the various tasks to handle is the notification of investment brokers. This is vital to ensure the proper management of the deceased's investments and to avoid any potential issues down the line.

Who Should Be Notified

Investment brokers are professionals who buy and sell securities on behalf of their clients. If your loved one had investments, it's important to notify their broker or brokerage firm to address the handling of these assets.

When to Notify

You should notify the investment broker as soon as possible after the death. Timely notification can prevent unauthorized transactions and allow for the smooth transition of assets.

How to Notify

You can notify the investment broker by calling them directly, sending an email, or writing a formal letter. You will likely need to provide a copy of the death certificate, and if you are the executor of the estate, proof of your legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased.

What to Expect After Notification

Upon notification, the investment broker will typically freeze the account to prevent any transactions until the estate is settled. They will guide you through the process of transferring or liquidating the investments as per the deceased's will or as dictated by state law if there is no will. If the deceased had joint investments, the broker would explain the process for transferring these to the surviving owner.

Tips for Notification

Before notifying the investment broker, ensure you have all the necessary documents, including a copy of the death certificate and legal paperwork, to prove your authority to manage the deceased's assets. It's also beneficial to have a clear understanding of the deceased's investment portfolio.

Conclusion

Notifying the investment broker after a loved one's death ensures the proper management of the deceased's assets. Although it's a task that comes at a difficult time, understanding the process can make it a little easier to navigate.

FAQ

Q: Can I manage the investments myself after notifying the broker?
A: If you're the executor of the estate, you'll be responsible for managing the deceased's investments until they're distributed according to the will or state law. However, managing investments can be complex, so you might consider seeking professional advice.

Q: What if the deceased had investments with multiple brokers?
A: You'll need to notify each broker individually. Each may have different processes for handling the death of a client.

Q: What happens if the deceased's investments lose value after their death?
A: As the executor, you're not personally responsible for any loss in value. The value of the investments will be based on their worth at the time of death for estate tax purposes.