The actual process for closing a Merrill Lynch account is straightforward, although you may face closure fees. Certain types of accounts, such as individual retirement accounts, may require additional paperwork and processing before you can close them.
To close your Merrill Lynch account, your first step will be to contact an authority at the firm. Typically, this will be your broker. However, if you're dissatisfied with your broker, you can also close your account by talking to the branch manager or an operations manager. You can call any of these individuals at the phone number listed on your monthly statement or posted on the company website. You can also visit the branch in person. Ask your broker, or whomever you contact, what you need to do to close your account.
Regular Investment Accounts
If you have a regular investment account and simply want a check mailed to you, you usually won't have to complete any additional paperwork. However, some branches may ask you to mail in a signed letter so they have a record for their files. If you want to transfer cash or investments to another firm, you'll have to complete a transfer form. The transfer form is necessary to indicate where you want your assets sent.
If you have a retirement plan such as an IRA, you'll have to complete an IRA distribution form to close your account and withdraw your assets. Money in an IRA has never been taxed, so you'll have to indicate whether you want any taxes withheld if you request a check. To avoid taxes and penalties, it's usually best to request a direct rollover to another financial institution. As with a regular investment account, you'll need to indicate that on your IRA transfer form if you're sending your assets elsewhere.
Fees & Costs
For any type of account closure, expect to pay a fee to Merrill Lynch. Some receiving brokers, however, will reimburse you for the fee if you transfer your account to them. If you're liquidating the assets in your account, you'll usually have to pay a commission on any trades you make as well. Cash distributions from an IRA that are sent to you, rather than to another firm, will be fully taxable. You'll also typically owe a 10 percent penalty if you're under age 59 1/2.