How to handle deceased clients' assets in organization accounts

How to handle deceased clients' assets in organization accounts

An organization is an incorporated or non-incorporated legal entity with one or more authorized individuals. Organizations may also have non-authorized control persons who do not wish to act on the Schwab account.

This article provides instructions for handling deceased clients' assets for a probated estate when the deceased client is the sole beneficial owner of the organization. For a corporate organization, generally, the ownership interest of the deceased sole shareholder will pass through their estate to the corporation's heirs and you should open an estate account. In some cases, it may not be necessary to open an estate account because the corporation will continue in existence while the estate is being probated.

When a deceased authorized individual is the sole agent, the account is restricted. 

For a deceased client in a non-probated estate, see How to handle deceased clients' assets.

To handle deceased clients' assets in organization accounts, you will need the following:

All accounts
  • Your firm name and master account number
  • The Schwab account number, account registration, and role of the deceased on each account
  • Letters of Testamentary Tooltip
    • Unexpired or dated within 12 months of the issue date and have a valid court seal or stamp
    • If estate has more than one executor, court documents should state each executor may act independently on the brokerage account
  • Adobe® Reader® or Adobe Acrobat® 7.0 or higher (download the latest version on the Adobe website)
In addition to the information above, the following information may be required:
Organization's beneficial owner is deceased (Corporation – sole owner, single member LLC, sole proprietorship; Non-Incorporated Association – sole owner)
  • A completed Affidavit of Domicile form with the designation Tooltip of estate-authorized representative is no longer required for standard estate processing, but may be required for some scenarios
  • A completed Account Application (Schwab One® Personal Accounts)
  • A completed Inheritance tax waiver form if required by deceased's state of residence
  • Letter of authorization Tooltip (LOA) from the executor with disclosure of asset distribution and closure instructions, if applicable

Follow the steps below when the organization's sole beneficial owner is deceased.

  1. Go to the forms library and select the forms below on Schwab Advisor Center®.
    • Account Application (Schwab One® Personal Accounts)
  2. Complete all applicable sections, ensuring all additional features the client requested are added.
  3. Collect all required additional information and non-Schwab documentation.
  4. Print the forms and obtain signatures from each executor.
  5. Send the signed forms, Letters Testamentary, inheritance tax waiver (if required) and disbursement instructions LOA (if applicable) to your Schwab service team via Schwab Advisor Center service request.

If only one of multiple officers is deceased, the surviving officers retain authority to act on behalf of the corporation. See How to make changes to organization accounts to replace the deceased officer.

Once you have submitted the required documentation:

  • Schwab reviews and processes the information.
  • If you have questions about handling a deceased client's assets in an organization account, call your Schwab service team.

To select a form, go to the Forms library on Schwab Advisor Center. 

Form: Account Application (Schwab One® Personal Accounts)Resource: Inheritance tax waiver

Do I still have power of attorney over the accounts of the deceased?
It depends on whether or not the account has multiple owners. If the account is a Sole Proprietorship, then the advisor's Withdrawal power financial advisor (WPFA) withdrawal power financial advisor - custody (WPFA-C) Tooltip , or limited power financial advisor Tooltip terminates upon the death of the account owner. If the account has multiple owners, then the advisor's withdrawal power financial advisor or limited power financial advisor would not terminate upon the death of one account owner.

If the deceased has more than one account, do I need multiple copies of required documents?
No. Schwab requires only one document (excludes documents with disbursement instructions) per deceased, regardless of the number of accounts held. This would apply to the Certified death certificate Tooltip , Letters Testamentary Tooltip , etc.