Inheriting a Vanguard account

We know how hard it can be when you lose someone. It's a difficult time. But know that we're here to make the transfer as seamless as possible.

Helpful information before starting an inheritance transfer online

Phase 1
Before the transfer

In order to complete the process online, you must:

  • Be inheriting an individual account, joint account (registered as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship”), traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP-IRA.
  • Be listed by name as beneficiary on the account.
  • Have the full Social Security number for the person who passed away.
  • Have a digital copy of the death certificate.

Phase 2
Completing the transfer

While completing the transfer, you'll be asked to:

  • Log in (if you're a Vanguard client already) or register for online access (if you're not a Vanguard client already) by creating a username and password.
  • Provide information about the person who passed away. Vanguard will then attempt to verify that the person has passed away using our systems. If we're unable to, we'll ask you to upload a digital copy of the death certificate.


Creating a digital copy of the death certificate

You may be asked to upload an image or a PDF. If you need to create a digital copy, the easiest way is to take a picture of the physical document with your phone, email it to yourself, and then save it to your computer.

Phase 3
After the transfer

Once you've submitted your request, Vanguard will:

  • Freeze the account of the person who passed away to protect it from unauthorized activity.
  • Process your request and notify you once the transfer is completed.

Remember, for anyone inheriting an IRA, you'll generally be required to take a required minimum distribution.

Helpful information based on who you are

I’m a beneficiary and I’d like to learn more

You’ll find out what to expect as the beneficiary inheriting an account.

I’m an executor and I’d like to learn more

You’ll find out what to expect as an executor who’s managing the inheritance process.

Helpful information based on who you are

I’m a beneficiary and I’d like to learn more

You’ll find out what to expect as the beneficiary inheriting an account.

I’m an executor and I’d like to learn more

You’ll find out what to expect as an executor who’s managing the inheritance process.

Helping you, a spouse, through the IRA inheritance process

Should you assume or inherit the IRA? If you’re a spouse, you have to make a choice between these two options.

Get the specifics

Ready to start an inheritance transfer?

or call 877-320-4822

Ready to start an inheritance transfer?

or call 877-320-4822