[Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

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mawvan
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[Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by mawvan » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:30 pm

[Moved into a stand-alone thread from: Customer Service with Vanguard --admin LadyGeek]

I've recommended Vanguard to many people over the years. Until this year, when I've had to use customer service. It's been a nightmre--incorrect information; and incredible, unexplained delay transferring funds out of Vanguard. I've been dealing with my father's account as well as mine for a few years. He died last week, and I needed to look at some historical data to figure out something about the estate. I emailed his advisor and, unfortunately, mentioned that he'd died. I received an email saying i'd received a reply, but I couldn't log in to his account. After a frustrating back and forth with the advisor, she finally told me that I couldn't access his account because he'd died. She'd apparently frozen it, making it impossible for me to even see her answer to my question.

Anyone know good alternatives to Vanguard? I'm not looking forward to a future dealing with this institution.

dbr
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Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by dbr » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:24 pm

As far as I know that is what is supposed to happen when someone dies unless or until you establish yourself as executor of the estate or as a beneficiary TOD/POD or it was a joint account. No other broker is going to be different.

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Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by avoidingdumbmistakes » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:43 pm

mawvan wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:30 pm
After a frustrating back and forth with the advisor, she finally told me that I couldn't access his account because he'd died. She'd apparently frozen it, making it impossible for me to even see her answer to my question.

Anyone know good alternatives to Vanguard? I'm not looking forward to a future dealing with this institution.
Locking or freezing an account upon death is standard. I'm dealing with my mother's estate right now and it's no different. As soon as I notified schwab of her passing they did the same. This is for protection of course. I wouldn't hold anything against VG for freezing the account. Luckily I had some planning time with my mom so I'm joint owner on all her checking and savings accounts or they would have been frozen too.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:47 pm

mawvan, Welcome! I moved your post into a stand-alone thread, as this is standard procedure anywhere you go.

If you have a Power of Attorney, it stopped upon the death of your father.

Contact Vanguard (again) and ask them how to proceed. You'll be passed to someone who specializes in estate matters, not the advisor. They'll guide you on how to handle this.

If you are looking for historical data, consider the basis of his assets (what he paid for them) are the value at time of death. It's called Step-up in basis.
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Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Gill » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:54 pm

dbr wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:24 pm
As far as I know that is what is supposed to happen when someone dies unless or until you establish yourself as executor of the estate or as a beneficiary TOD/POD or it was a joint account. No other broker is going to be different.
Correct. OP has no authority to access information on the account.
Gill

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:07 pm

You can start here if you are a beneficiary or the executor:

https://investor.vanguard.com/inherit/

Anyone know good alternatives to Vanguard? I'm not looking forward to a future dealing with this institution.
There are no good alternatives, no alternatives whatsoever, for someone who thinks that a financial institution will allow them to log into an account held under a deceased person's name.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by nisiprius » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:11 pm

This seems to me to be the kind of situation where you take some deep breaths, brush aside your frustration, and ask someone at Vanguard "please explain to me the simple twenty-step procedure I need to follow," and then just start slogging through, spending yet another $15 for yet another copy of the death certificate with the raised seal and the notarized this and the certified that. This is surely a situation that has occurred before and there is surely a way to deal with it... and it surely is going to involve a ton of mailed paperwork.
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:16 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:11 pm
This seems to me to be the kind of situation where you take some deep breaths, brush aside your frustration, and ask someone at Vanguard "please explain to me the simple twenty-step procedure I need to follow," and then just start slogging through spending yet another $15 for yet another copy of the death certificate with the raised seal and the notarized this and the certified that. This is surely a situation that has occurred before and there is surely a way to deal with it... and it surely is going to involve a ton of mailed paperwork.
And if OP hasn't already gotten a bunch of extras of that "death certificate with the raised seal and the notarized this and the certified that..." she/he might as well get *several* when doing this for Vanguard.

Chances are good that they'll be needed for who-knows-what other accounts.

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Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by bzargarcia » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:17 pm

dbr wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:24 pm
As far as I know that is what is supposed to happen when someone dies unless or until you establish yourself as executor of the estate or as a beneficiary TOD/POD or it was a joint account. No other broker is going to be different.
+1

I've worked at 3 banks. Same rule with all of them. I never understood why people leave usernames and passwords for next of kin. Also, joint account owners don't "share" one log in. If the primary person that manages the finances passes, the other owner will need to create their own log in.
Last edited by bzargarcia on Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by susa » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:07 pm

Question for future reference..

We have signed and notarized a full control-full access among 3 persons to all accounts held individually by each of these 3 persons. That means, VG allows any one of 3 user logons to be used to BOTH see and execute trades, buy, sell, exchange by any of the 3 in any of the 3 persons accounts.

Should 1 of the 3 fall asleep in death, is this full access revoked similar to the OP example ?

If the answer is Yes, what additional step(s) can be taken while all 3 are alive to preserve the status quo ?

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by 123 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:21 pm

susa wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:07 pm
Question for future reference..

We have signed and notarized a full control-full access among 3 persons to all accounts held individually by each of these 3 persons. That means, VG allows any one of 3 user logons to be used to BOTH see and execute trades, buy, sell, exchange by any of the 3 in any of the 3 persons accounts.

Should 1 of the 3 fall asleep in death, is this full access revoked similar to the OP example ?

If the answer is Yes, what additional step(s) can be taken while all 3 are alive to preserve the status quo ?
It is likely that these authorities to trade are based on powers-of-attorney which will each expire with the death of the individual account holder. When the account holder passes away it will be necessary for the beneficiary of the account to contact Vanguard for the necessary steps to obtain access to the account assets. If there is no beneficiary the account would be locked until a probate type action is initiated.

Since these are individual accounts action by one or more joint owners would not be in the cards.
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Rich in Michigan
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Rich in Michigan » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:26 pm

You should be transferred to someone who specializes in estates.

When my son passed two years ago, Vanguard was amazing. They were among the two easiest institutions to deal with. The day after I called I received a Fed-Ex with everything I needed to fill out. I also received a sympathy card from the person I had dealt with.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Big Dog » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:44 pm

When my son passed two years ago, Vanguard was amazing. They were among the two easiest institutions to deal with. The day after I called I received a Fed-Ex with everything I needed to fill out.
Ditto, only it was my step-mom, and I turned down the offer of Fedex for regular mail. But, they did fill out the paperwork for my sister to setup an account with them. (Both my sister and I were listed as PoD/ToD.) Within 48 hours of receiving the death certificate, Vanguard transferred 50% of the assets into my account and 50% into my sister's. They even had the correct basis date.)

Schwab was also pretty easy. The absolute worst was a full-service broker, Neumiller....no medallion, no transfer, no exceptions; "its company policy". Yeah, except my bank does not do medallions. No problem, they say, just open an account with us and we'll certify your signature then and then transfer the funds. Uh, no thanks. Fired off a letter to their General Counsel with a veiled threat. Received a call the next day. Policy over-ridden, transfer completed. Of course, by then the stocks were x-D but that took another 90 days to get the balance....

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by telemark » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:03 pm

susa wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:07 pm
Question for future reference..

We have signed and notarized a full control-full access among 3 persons to all accounts held individually by each of these 3 persons. That means, VG allows any one of 3 user logons to be used to BOTH see and execute trades, buy, sell, exchange by any of the 3 in any of the 3 persons accounts.

Should 1 of the 3 fall asleep in death, is this full access revoked similar to the OP example ?

If the answer is Yes, what additional step(s) can be taken while all 3 are alive to preserve the status quo ?
I have full agent authority (their name for POA) at Vanguard for a family member's account, and while I might be wrong here, I believe the answer is "yes". Best practice is probably to keep the beneficiary designations up to date, and make a habit of downloading copies of the monthly statements.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by b4real » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:18 pm

I was agent with full authority on a close relative’s account. When they passed away a couple of years ago, Vanguard locked the account and put me in touch with their Inheritance Services department. After I provided a death certificate and copy of the trust, Inheritance Services assisted me in setting up the new trust account and my access to it, transferred the monies from the locked account to the new account, and provided a detailed statement of the original account on the day of death. They were excellent to deal with.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:30 pm

b4real wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:18 pm
I was agent with full authority on a close relative’s account. When they passed away a couple of years ago, Vanguard locked the account and put me in touch with their Inheritance Services department. After I provided a death certificate and copy of the trust, Inheritance Services assisted me in setting up the new trust account and my access to it, transferred the monies from the locked account to the new account, and provided a detailed statement of the original account on the day of death. They were excellent to deal with.
My experience last year was identical to this.
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:14 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:30 pm
b4real wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:18 pm
I was agent with full authority on a close relative’s account. When they passed away a couple of years ago, Vanguard locked the account and put me in touch with their Inheritance Services department. After I provided a death certificate and copy of the trust, Inheritance Services assisted me in setting up the new trust account and my access to it, transferred the monies from the locked account to the new account, and provided a detailed statement of the original account on the day of death. They were excellent to deal with.
My experience last year was identical to this.
Yep.

The account either had TOD set up (Transfer on Death, a beneficiary) or it doesn’t. If it does, then the person/people who are supposed to inherit the account need to call Vanguard, and get instructions on how to proceed to get the account transferred.

If the account doesn’t have ToD set up, then once probate is open, the executor of the estate needs to figure out how the account gets distributed, the call Vanguard and get instructions on how to do what needs to be done.

In either case, the account is dead, and a new account or accounts will need to be opened and the assets transferred into it/them.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by TropikThunder » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:21 pm

Gill wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:54 pm
Correct. OP has no authority to access information on the account.
Gill
tadamsmar wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:07 pm
There are no good alternatives, no alternatives whatsoever, for someone who thinks that a financial institution will allow them to log into an account held under a deceased person's name.
We might want to swing a little over to the compassion side of the spectrum and away from the lecture side considering OP's father passed away LAST WEEK. Yes, it's normal for a financial institution to lock the account of a deceased account holder, but perhaps the finger wagging can wait until after OP gets some actionable advice.

OP, condolences on your loss.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Gill » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:28 am

TropikThunder wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:21 pm
Gill wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:54 pm
Correct. OP has no authority to access information on the account.
Gill
tadamsmar wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:07 pm
There are no good alternatives, no alternatives whatsoever, for someone who thinks that a financial institution will allow them to log into an account held under a deceased person's name.
We might want to swing a little over to the compassion side of the spectrum and away from the lecture side considering OP's father passed away LAST WEEK. Yes, it's normal for a financial institution to lock the account of a deceased account holder, but perhaps the finger wagging can wait until after OP gets some actionable advice.

OP, condolences on your loss.
It doesn’t seem I was lecturing, but I have the feeling you now are.
Gill

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by sschoe2 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:16 am

Not legally proper but assuming you and the other beneficiaries and members of the family are on the same page the easiest and least aggravating way to do it.

I learned to be careful who and when to inform when my mom passed as it can create a roadblock and nightmare of bureaucratic paperwork and processes at a time you really don't need the aggravation.

I agree with the chorus that this isn't Vanguard's fault. Any institution would have done the same. It took about 3 months to deal with my mom's portfolio and IRA at RBC and we lucked out and only needed a small estate affidavit and not a full probate (<$100k assets).

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by mouses » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:19 am

I haven't had time to read all the replies.

I was my Mom's executor. It was standard for me to have to supply a death certificate and a copy of usually a subset of pages of her trust and or will showing me as the executor/trustee to get access to her accounts.

As I recall, in another situation, Fidelity was prompt in moving assets from the deceased person's account to the beneficiaries'.

I have heard that financial institutions freeze access to safe deposit boxes when the owner dies. I discussed this with my credit union as my brother and I are co-owners, we both have keys, and I want him to have access. They assured me he would. Maybe he will have to pony up papers anyway, no idea.

Update after having read a previous post, perhaps things were simpler because revocable living trusts existed, so a probate court was not involved mostly.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:20 am

TropikThunder wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:21 pm
Gill wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:54 pm
Correct. OP has no authority to access information on the account.
Gill
tadamsmar wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:07 pm
There are no good alternatives, no alternatives whatsoever, for someone who thinks that a financial institution will allow them to log into an account held under a deceased person's name.
We might want to swing a little over to the compassion side of the spectrum and away from the lecture side considering OP's father passed away LAST WEEK. Yes, it's normal for a financial institution to lock the account of a deceased account holder, but perhaps the finger wagging can wait until after OP gets some actionable advice.

OP, condolences on your loss.
I gave a actionable advice, which you omitted when you quoted me.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:30 am

I added some clarification to my post. Not providing legal advice, and I went back and emphasized that. One child, only heir, and named executor. When MIL passed, FIL got everything via TOD, when he passed, heir got everything via TOD. Didn't move anything besides cash, never move securities.

Again, not legal advice, just tips.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:33 am

susa wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:07 pm
Question for future reference..

We have signed and notarized a full control-full access among 3 persons to all accounts held individually by each of these 3 persons. That means, VG allows any one of 3 user logons to be used to BOTH see and execute trades, buy, sell, exchange by any of the 3 in any of the 3 persons accounts.

Should 1 of the 3 fall asleep in death, is this full access revoked similar to the OP example ?

If the answer is Yes, what additional step(s) can be taken while all 3 are alive to preserve the status quo ?
The answer is Yes.

I terms of additional steps to preserve the status quo, I think you might be able to put an account in the name of a trust so that a trustee could continue to access the account. You might not be able to do this at all brokerage or mutual fund firms. Not sure that you can do this at Vanguard. And, it might have unattractive tax implications.

I have no experience with trusts. I suggest that you look into the matter yourself or consult a lawyer if you want to try to do this. Most people just live with the typical beneficiary distribution process.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:37 am

If you are a beneficiary of a tax-deferred account, be careful how you take possession of the bequest to minimize income taxes.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:39 am

When utilizing a POA, it is very common that there is an explicit or implicit agreement/acknowledgement that the POA remains valid -

It is also, in my experience and knowledge on the institution side of this, that a very, very common misunderstanding (by those holding a POA) is that a POA can be used after the death of the grantor. Some such folks have gotten very upset with me when I decline to honor their requests after the death of the account owner.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by heartwood » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:57 am

mouses wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:19 am


I have heard that financial institutions freeze access to safe deposit boxes when the owner dies. I discussed this with my credit union as my brother and I are co-owners, we both have keys, and I want him to have access. They assured me he would. Maybe he will have to pony up papers anyway, no idea.

Our experience in PA: DW was co-owner of her mother's safe deposit with her own key. Nonetheless the box was frozen at the mother's death. A bank employee had seen the obituary and intervened as DW tried to access the box. After her attorney requested, she was allowed access in the presence of a bank employee to remove the will and inventory what was in the box. Full access was allowed only after filing paperwork at County offices. PA wants to make sure they know the size of the estate for taxes.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:59 am

Isn't putting the will in the safe deposit box a known Catch 22?

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:13 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:59 am
Isn't putting the will in the safe deposit box a known Catch 22?
We keep ours in a safe deposit box. Two of our adult kids (one is the executor) are listed on the lock box signature card at the bank as having access.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:17 am

tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:13 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:59 am
Isn't putting the will in the safe deposit box a known Catch 22?
We keep ours in a safe deposit box. Two of our adult kids (one is the executor) are listed on the lock box signature card at the bank as having access.
See Heartwood's post above. Apparently it can happen.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:28 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:19 am
Post edited to remove any reference to "legal", and to add cautionary notes.
There are also issues related to beneficiaries.

I suggest you just delete the post, it is all bad advice.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by mptfan » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:32 am

tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:28 am
I suggest you just delete the post, it is all bad advice.
I agree. When you offer "tips," it's implied that the information being provided is good advice, or at the very least, legally valid advice. Your "tips" are neither and should be deleted. I'm sure you had good intentions, and I'm sure you did not realize the implications of what you were saying and you did not know enough to realize that, but it's bad advice nonetheless.
Last edited by mptfan on Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by msk » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:34 am

DW keeps her will in the freezer... location most likely to survive a house fire if you do not own a fire-proof safe :D

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:17 am
tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:13 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:59 am
Isn't putting the will in the safe deposit box a known Catch 22?
We keep ours in a safe deposit box. Two of our adult kids (one is the executor) are listed on the lock box signature card at the bank as having access.
See Heartwood's post above. Apparently it can happen.
Thanks for the tip. I looked up my state's ruled (NC). Access is permitted supervised by a bank clerk, but the copy of the will in the box will be filed with the courts by the bank clerk. We have other copies of the will. I guess having them file the official copy could be a good thing or a hassle depending on how you look at it.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by heartwood » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:40 am

tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:13 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:59 am
Isn't putting the will in the safe deposit box a known Catch 22?
We keep ours in a safe deposit box. Two of our adult kids (one is the executor) are listed on the lock box signature card at the bank as having access.
See my post a few or so above. My wife was a listed co-owner of the box, had her own key, her own signature card. The day after her mother's death, she was refused access until the attorney intervened since the bank employee had seen the obit. (Small town in PA; everyone knows everyone else.) There was a copy of the will in the box, but we had other copies. I recall that after the will was filed (couple of days?) and a county legal form provided, she had access to the box but only in the presence of a bank employee who copied/listed anything that was removed. I recall that the attorney then prepared a box inventory for valuations. At least in PA a few years ago, the State wanted to make sure they knew the size of the estate, including anything in the co-owned box. You might check your local bank's protocols and/or consider what you're keeping in the box, especially regards elderly or at risk relatives, who might gift to family members before passing.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:42 am

mptfan wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:32 am
tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:28 am
I suggest you just delete the post, it is all bad advice.
I agree. When you offer "tips," it's implied that the information being provided is good advice, or at the very least, legally valid advice. Your "tips" are neither and should be deleted. I'm sure you had good intentions, and I'm sure you did not realize the implications of what you were saying and you did not know enough to realize that, but it's bad advice nonetheless.
Here's a tip. Prepare for the money to be frozen for a while and then be dispersed to the beneficiaries.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:49 am

heartwood wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:40 am
tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:13 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:59 am
Isn't putting the will in the safe deposit box a known Catch 22?
We keep ours in a safe deposit box. Two of our adult kids (one is the executor) are listed on the lock box signature card at the bank as having access.
See my post a few or so above. My wife was a listed co-owner of the box, had her own key, her own signature card. The day after her mother's death, she was refused access until the attorney intervened since the bank employee had seen the obit. (Small town in PA; everyone knows everyone else.) There was a copy of the will in the box, but we had other copies. I recall that after the will was filed (couple of days?) and a county legal form provided, she had access to the box but only in the presence of a bank employee who copied/listed anything that was removed. I recall that the attorney then prepared a box inventory for valuations. At least in PA a few years ago, the State wanted to make sure they knew the size of the estate, including anything in the co-owned box. You might check your local bank's protocols and/or consider what you're keeping in the box, especially regards elderly or at risk relatives, who might gift to family members before passing.
The PA state web site says you can get the will and burial instructions:
No one is allowed to enter a safe deposit box, not
even a joint owner, except to remove a will and/or
burial instructions, which must be removed in the
presence of a bank employee. The bank employee
must complete PA Form REV-487 (Entry Into A Safe
Deposit Box To Remove A Will Or Cemetery Deed) to
record the entry and mail it to the PA Department of
Revenue. The contents of safe deposit boxes must be
inventoried before they can be removed.
http://www.revenue.pa.gov/FormsandPubli ... ev-584.pdf

Appears to be no significant problem with storing the official will there even in PA.

pshonore
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by pshonore » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:22 am

Sounds to me that if someone wants to make things easier for survivors, they could setup and fund an "estate emergency checking account' with as little or as much cash as they feel necessary in a local bank with a POD/TOD designation to their trusted survivor(s). Of course its critical to make sure the beneficiaries are kept updated as necessary. A copy of the death certificate should enable a quick transfer.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:39 pm

Definitely don't try to access funds in the account. Eventually the custodian will get a copy of the death certificate, and if they note that transactions were made after the DoD, they might contact the authorities. You don't want to get charged with wire fraud or something like that.
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dm200
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:43 pm

One thing that can be done (no charge) is have a duplicate statement sent to another party. That party does not need access or ownership, etc. on ot to the account.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by changingtimes » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:01 pm

Vanguard was great when DH died, and it spanned rolling over his 401k that was with them, changing ownership of multiple jointly held accounts, and so on. Only needed one death certificate.

Some banks didn't even need to have me notify them--I think they get SSNs of the recently deceased.

I had one joint account frozen, a HELOC, but it was easily fixed since we were joint owners.

Not sharing a single logon for any financial accounts that are jointly held was one of the top pieces of advice in a guide I wrote for friends on how to best set themselves up in case of a spouse dies.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Mel Lindauer » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:19 pm

Locked for Moderator review.
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:09 pm

Discussions of dishonest behavior or bypassing the law is totally unacceptable.

A number of posts recommending to delay notification of death to a financial institution in order to execute financial transactions have been removed.

This thread is now unlocked to continue the discussion.
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Thesaints » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:25 pm

I think we can safely state that:
- Accounts custodians must be notified as soon as possible of the owner death, although the law does not quantify a time term, nor specifies who has to communicate the news.
- Accessing the deceased's account, in good or in bad faith, could create problems at a later time in case a heir/creditor felt that access was to his/her disadvantage.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:41 pm

Access to a safe deposit box after the renter's death is regulated by state law. One person's experience may not match another's in a different state. There may be states where one of a pair of joint holders can access the box after the other dies, and some where they can't. I do not know the law in all fifty states.

When dealing with estate matters, as in fact with all matters but estates is the topic at hand, I suggest scrupulously following the law. Accessing a deceased person's non-joint account, as if one were the dead individual, without court permission is fraud everywhere. Taking care of the legal consequences of the death is bad enough on its own.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Thesaints » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:46 pm

Yeah! Always follow the Law; do not rush it.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:51 pm

Thesaints wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:46 pm
Yeah! Always follow the Law; do not rush it.
Pretending to be a person you know has died to access their financial accounts is always fraud, rushed or otherwise, whether or not anybody else knows yet.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Thesaints » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:11 pm

Absolutely!

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:26 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:41 pm
Access to a safe deposit box after the renter's death is regulated by state law. One person's experience may not match another's in a different state. There may be states where one of a pair of joint holders can access the box after the other dies, and some where they can't. I do not know the law in all fifty states.

When dealing with estate matters, as in fact with all matters but estates is the topic at hand, I suggest scrupulously following the law. Accessing a deceased person's non-joint account, as if one were the dead individual, without court permission is fraud everywhere. Taking care of the legal consequences of the death is bad enough on its own.

PJW
Also, one of the ways people access deceased person's accounts is password sharing. Password sharing can void the fraud reimbursement guarantee of mutual fund and brokerage firms that have a guarantee.

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Re: [Vanguard account locked out due to deceased owner]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:41 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:26 pm
...
Also, one of the ways people access deceased person's accounts is password sharing. Password sharing can void the fraud reimbursement guarantee of mutual fund and brokerage firms that have a guarantee.
Thanks for the good additional thought. That's true even without anybody dying.

It's always best to stay within the law and the firm's guidelines, even if it does mean somebody has to memorize, or write down, or use a password manager for, Yet Another Password.

Does one want fraud reimbursement or not? Does one want to handle the legal issues which result from a person having died, or to do that at the same time as mounting a criminal defense against a charge of having committed fraud oneself?

I do not refer to the likelihood of being caught or prosecuted.

PJW

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