Along with offering our sincere sympathies to you during this difficult time, we are committed to making it easy to understand the transfer of your spouse’s account.
We follow these steps when transferring ownership of an account:
Step 1: Obtain the death certificate
Before we can begin a transfer, we need a copy of the official death certificate. It’s important to send it right away so that we can safeguard the assets while the estate is settled.
You can get copies of the death certificate from the funeral home or the local county records office. If you have a TD Ameritrade account, you can upload the certificate using our secure Message Center. You can also send it by fax or regular mail.
Step 2: Verify the beneficiaries
An account owner assigns a beneficiary to specify who receives the account after their death. (A beneficiary named on an account takes precedence over one named in a will.) An account owner may:
- Name the spouse as sole beneficiary
- Have a son, daughter, another person, or an organization as the beneficiary
- List multiple beneficiaries
If the account owner didn’t name any beneficiaries, the account becomes the property of the estate. The probate court appoints an executor to settle the financial affairs of the deceased’s estate. See the Executor section for estate transfer details.
Once we have the death certificate and the account owner’s Social Security or account number, we can determine whether or not there are beneficiaries named on the account.
(For definitions, see the “Common terms” section of this page.)
Step 3: Decide on any transfer details
We will transfer ownership of the account assets to your TD Ameritrade account if you’re the account beneficiary. If you don’t already have a TD Ameritrade account in your name, you’ll have to open one to receive the account assets. In most cases, this should be the same type of account that your spouse had.
After the account transfer, you have complete control of the assets. We are here to help you carry out your plans.
Step 4: Complete the transfer
We’ll transfer the assets and notify you when the transfer is completed. The timeframes will vary with the type of account and the details of each situation. We will inform you about the estimated timeframe for the transfer.
We’re ready to help you. Resolving estate matters can be difficult and complicated. Our trained estate specialists can explain what’s needed in your situation and answer any questions. Speak with a specialist by calling 800-858-0387 and selecting option 1, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET.