First, the basic principle regarding acts of worship is that they are Tawqifiy matters (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion). Actually, reciting the Qur'an is purely an act of worship whose reward is only for the person who recites it.
Thus, dedicating the reward of reciting the Qur'an to the dead is not valid (Part No. 2; Page No. 204) according to the soundest of the two opinions of scholars. We have already issued a Fatwa in this regard stating:
Is it permissible to recite Surah Al-Fatihah or any other part of the Qur’an for the deceased on visiting their graves? Does it benefit them?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is authentically reported to have visited graves and recited Du`a's (supplications) for the dead which he taught to his companions and which they learned from him. For example:
As-salamu ‘alaykum (May Allah’s Peace be upon you), dwellers of the abode, from believers and Muslims; and if Allah wills, we shall join you. I beg of Allah safety for us and you.
However, he (peace be upon him) is not authentically reported to have recited a Surah of the Qur’an or any Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) thereof for the dead, even though he visited them often. Had it been permissible, he would have done it and would have taught it to his Companions, seeking the reward, showing mercy towards his Ummah, and fulfilling the obligation of conveying the Message. In fact, The Prophet (peace be upon him) was as Allah described him:
Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allâh, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire); for the believers (he صلى الله عليه وسلم is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.
The fact that he did not do it even though there were reasons why he might have done it indicates that it is not permissible. His Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) knew this fact and thus followed in his footsteps limiting themselves to learning lessons and making Du`a' for the dead on visiting them. Moreover, they are not authentically reported to have recited Qur’an for the dead. (Part No. 2; Page No. 205) Thus, reciting the Qur'an for the dead is Bid`ah (innovation in religion). The Prophet (peace be upon him) is authentically reported to have said:
Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not part of it will have it rejected.
Second, the reward of such charitable acts done for the benefit of the deceased as substantiated by a Shar`y (Islamic legal) evidence, such as Du`a', asking forgiveness for them, charity, Hajj and `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) as well as paying off their debts and making up for missed Sawm (Fast), will be received by them.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.