How to inherit nonretirement accounts


The documentation we'll need to transfer nonretirement accounts to you will depend on the account type you are inheriting, such as individual, joint, trust, custodian, or organization.

Usually, you won't owe capital gains taxes when you transfer a nonretirement account to your name. But if you eventually sell the inherited asset, you may incur capital gains taxes. The rules are complex and they vary, so we recommend that you consult a qualified tax advisor or attorney about your situation.


Help when you need it

Our associates can answer your questions and help you with transferring accounts. Call 888-237-9045 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.



The following table will help you understand how to transfer ownership of a Vanguard account.

Account type How transfer occurs Documentation you may need*
  • To the beneficiary or heirs.
  • From the account owner to an estate account in the name of the deceased.
  • Certified letters of testamentary or letters of administration dated within 90 days.
  • A notarized small-estate affidavit or court-certified small-estate affidavit.
  • Certified death certificate.
  • To the surviving joint owner.
  • To another account type.
  • If all account owners are deceased, certified letters of testamentary or letters of administration of the executor of the joint owner who passed away most recently.
  • Certified death certificate.
  • In accordance with the terms of the trust document.
  • Certified death certificate or certified letters of testamentary dated within 90 days.
Attorney in fact
Uniform Transfer/Gift to Minor
  • Contact a Vanguard specialist for complete instructions.
  • Varies.

* The documentation needed varies by account type and circumstances. Please call and speak to an associate about your situation.


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