Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) Transfer On Death (TOD)

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hudson
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Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Mon May 14, 2018 3:59 pm

Short Version: Transfer on Death application started Feb. 15th; it's almost 3 months later and no transfer.

Longer Version:
There are several beneficiaries; we filed for the transfer around February 15th. We re-filed 3 times to get the paperwork right...caused by careless Wells errors. According to the Wells Fargo Advisors representative, the paperwork for all beneficiaries was good on April 17th; the representative said the distribution should take place in the next week to 10 days. I called back after 10 business days calling the representative and the corporate office and asked for an expedited distribution. Now it's May 14th almost 3 months after the initial filing and 19 business days after we were told our paperwork was OK.
Everybody that I talk to is very nice and helpful. The Wells corporate office people always refer me to the usual representatives; they won't let me talk to the transfer department or to a supervisor.

What do I do? I've called everyone at Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo Advisors that I know to call. Is 3 months reasonable?
We had another TOD at a different bank; it paid on the same day that we filed.
Last edited by hudson on Wed May 23, 2018 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

not4me
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by not4me » Tue May 15, 2018 1:12 pm

Don't have a great answer, but maybe this bump will help. I don't know what is typical, but sounds to me you've been way more patient than most would be. Do you have an account with Wells otherwise or even a convenient brick/mortar? If so, I'd go camp there & start with the branch manager. They likely aren't in the direct chain on this, but also don't want a disgruntled (even potential) customer around. What has been the response when you asked for a supervisor before? To me, it may be time to start copying state regulatory folks....Wells has certainly had their share of bad publicity.

Good luck...maybe you're nearer the end than the beginning!

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Tue May 15, 2018 2:19 pm

Thanks not4me!

Every day lately, I've been looking for numbers to call at Wells. Usually, I'll try to call a number that I think is headquarters of Wells. When I say my problem is with WF Advisors, they put me on hold, call my Advisor, and talk with the advisor handling our TOD and give a status. I don't get a supervisor or someone in the transfer department who can help me. The advisor only advises patience and wait another week to 10 days. We are now on the 4th cycle of this.

Yesterday I found a Wells webpage titled: "How to Contact the Board of Directors" https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/corpor ... e/contact/
Today I got a call from a woman who said that she was from the Board of Directors, and she was my "compliance officer." She told me specifically why my TOD case had not been transferred and what would need to happen next; that was news to me. I told her that these hitches would come up repeatedly and we wouldn't hear anything for 10-20 days. She said that she would stay with my case and keep me up to date.

My Vanguard "transfer helping person" told me that this transfer is the longest he's seen. He used his company to company number and conferenced me into a Wells Transfer Department phone conference. We couldn't get an answer or make any progress.

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 16, 2018 3:41 am

Note: not a lot of replies, but there have been 306 views...maybe someone influential from Wells who wants to serve the customer will read and help? Isn't it all about serving the customer?

Here's my email to the Wells Fargo Board of Directors:

My ____ passed away on _____; We applied for the transfer on _____ I told (our advisor) that I did not like owning equities and wanted to sell immediately and convert to cash. Now it's May 16th and there is no transfer. THAT's THREE MONTHS.

It took 10 days before (my advisor) knew that he/she was going to do the transfer; she thought that (her/his boss) was going to do it. (Our Advisor) had to do the transfer forms 3 times due to Wells Fargo errors. My brother took one look at the form, pulled out a calculator and found multiple errors in the forms. It was also wrong the next time; simple math errors...take the number of stocks and divide by 5. Each time it took 10 days to send the forms out and get them back. (Our Advisor) called on April 17th and said the forms were all OK and the transfer should take place in 7-10 days. That was almost a month ago. I asked (Our advisor and her/his boss) for an expedited transfer since this had gone on so long. That was almost ONE MONTH AGO.

I do not get a call back from (Our advisor and her/his boss) unless I call the bank headquarters in San Francisco. I've asked to speak to the transfer department or a supervisor but have been turned down. (multiple times)

Yesterday, I called and left messages for a return call with no result. I called Wells Fargo Advisors yesterday and talked with someone who promised a call....but none came.

I've spoken with (board of directors compliance officer) who said that she would call back on Thursday. I understand from the compliance officer that there is some kind of hitch with the transfer about fractional shares and that we have to decide something. None of us has been contacted about this hitch. Does this mean another 10 days until something can be mailed out? I want to be contacted immediately about this; IF A SIGNED FORM IS REQUIRED, I REQUEST ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION OR OVERNIGHT MAIL....preferably by phone. I can expedite phone calls to the other beneficiaries. We could do a conference call.

It doesn't seem like anyone is working on this issue. How long do these issues sit on somebody's desk until action is taken? Is this a corporate culture problem? Does someone get a bonus for letting TOD's just sit for months? Is there incompetence? Are folks overworked? Do people just not care? Are advisors intimidated by me calling and asking for updates and speed? What does it take? How many calls do I have to make? I feel like I'm just getting brushed aside?

We have worked with ______ who paid their TOD on the same day. We also had complex dealings with ____, ____, ____ and others...all resolved weeks ago. _____ was very difficult to deal with until they found us another agent...then the problem went away.

I request an advisor or someone who can take the bull by the horns and get this done. Something is wrong here. (Our advisor and her/his boss) don't seem to care. They seem nice enough with the "lip service" but the results are ponderously slow. I don't feel like I the customer am being served. Again, I request someone who will expedite this issue and communicate with the beneficiaries with the progress. Since it has been THREE MONTHS, the updates should be daily.

It seems like this issue is just sitting; I request your help. The tone of this email is frustration...not anger.

I promise to speak nicely on the phone to anyone and everyone.

NOTE 2: I've learned that in dealing with many companies as a beneficiary that it helps to call, call, and call to check on progress. I've found that If you don't call, your paperwork can just be sitting there waiting for an answer that you can give over the phone or with a quick email or letter. Once you talk with someone good....save their name and number. If an agent or customer service person isn't helpful ask for a replacement.

livesoft
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by livesoft » Wed May 16, 2018 5:05 am

I'm one of the viewers of this thread. I would not be surprised if there have been a lot fo employees leaving Wells Fargo, so that your issue simply falls to the next person who is new and doesn't know what to do. I would not be surprised if the "advisor" is looking for a new job, too.

You did not state why the 3-way phone call got nowhere. Why did it get nowhere? You could do a 4-way phone call with the compliance person.

Basically from this side of the internet it looks like no one wants to take responsibility.

As for your e-mail, I could see it was way too long, so I didn't even read it myself. It did not state in the FIRST sentence what you wanted, so I simply ignored it. If your phone conversations are like that e-mail, you will get nowhere, too.
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hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 16, 2018 5:13 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:05 am
I'm one of the viewers of this thread. I would not be surprised if there have been a lot fo employees leaving Wells Fargo, so that your issue simply falls to the next person who is new and doesn't know what to do. I would not be surprised if the "advisor" is looking for a new job, too.

You did not state why the 3-way phone call got nowhere. Why did it get nowhere? You could do a 4-way phone call with the compliance person.

Basically from this side of the internet it looks like no one wants to take responsibility.

As for your e-mail, I could see it was way too long, so I didn't even read it myself. It did not state in the FIRST sentence what you wanted, so I simply ignored it. If your phone conversations are like that e-mail, you will get nowhere, too.
Thanks Livesoft!
I will revise, shorten, and resend.

The compliance person didn't put me into the phone call. He/She wants to work on it and call me back on Thursday. The only person who answers his/her phone is the compliance person.

The same advisor and assistant have worked with other family members for years and have been well respected by some....so same people are "handling" the TOD.

I've tried repeatedly to talk to a supervisor with WF Advisors; My Vanguard transfer-helper-person has repeatedly asked to talk to a supervisor in the transfer department...no dice. They say, you can only talk to your advisor or his/her assistant. I need someone to tell me what's going on ....good news or bad...put me in my place...I'll help....but don't leave me in the dark or I'll assume bad stuff and start complaining to the BBB/SEC, president's office...board of directors...anyone that could help.
Last edited by hudson on Wed May 16, 2018 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

livesoft
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by livesoft » Wed May 16, 2018 5:20 am

hudson wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:13 am
The same 2 advisors have worked with other family members for years and have been well respected by some....so same people are "handling" the TOD.
Can you get other family members to intervene and threaten to move their money? The threat to move may not bother an advisor who is leaving Wells Fargo. They could even ask their clients to follow them and bring their money to the advisor at the new job.
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hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 16, 2018 5:24 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:20 am
hudson wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:13 am
The same 2 advisors have worked with other family members for years and have been well respected by some....so same people are "handling" the TOD.
Can you get other family members to intervene and threaten to move their money? The threat to move may not bother an advisor who is leaving Wells Fargo. They could even ask their clients to follow them and bring their money to the advisor at the new job.
Thanks again! I will call them and make that request today.

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 16, 2018 6:37 am

not4me wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 1:12 pm
To me, it may be time to start copying state regulatory folks....Wells has certainly had their share of bad publicity.
Good luck...maybe you're nearer the end than the beginning!
My state doesn't regulate Wells Fargo Advisors...I'm thinking the SEC

Securities and Exchange Commission
https://www.sec.gov/complaint/select.shtml

hudson
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TOD in progress

Post by hudson » Wed May 16, 2018 10:22 am

The compliance officer from the WF Board of directors called and said that my transfer was under way; I should see the transfer in 4-5 days. It is an ACATS transfer. There were 565 views...maybe that helped....but the compliance officer seemed to be a very experienced and competent person.

ACATS transfer info: http://www.finra.org/investors/understa ... er-process

The moral of the story....If you are a business, government agency, or school and someone asks to talk to a supervisor, let it happen...let it happen at the lowest possible level. Why should someone have to go searching for the President's office phone number or the Board of Directors contact information?

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Thu May 17, 2018 2:00 pm

The compliance officer from the board of directors called and said that now it was a NON-ACATS transfer and that it would take longer.

Non-ACATS transfers:

https://ibkr.info/article/2173

hudson
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If I had to do it all over again or good practices for applying for a TOD

Post by hudson » Sat May 19, 2018 9:34 am

If I was going to start over I would follow my Vanguard Transfer Person's coaching:

He said "put everything in an account at the same brokerage as the TOD account owner."
I would contact the other beneficiaries and request that they do the same. It would be helpful to get 100% agreement. If not, be ready for the glitches. In my case every glitch cost me 10 days.
That would insure that there were no questions about fractional shares.
The sending brokerage won't balk because the account at the receiving brokerage doesn't have the exact same name.
There would be no questions about whether the receiving brokerage would accept the transfer.
Most of the little glitches would be gone.
My Vanguard coach said that once you get an account in your name, Vanguard can transfer it quick.

I think Livesoft said that you should always initiate transfers from the receiving brokerage; the sending brokerage may forget you. He could be on to something.

Other things that I would request:
If possible, secure electronic emails for communication and document transfer. Wells Fargo Advisors had this and used it on request...very nice!
If that wasn't possible, I would request overnight mail, priority mail, or the equivalent with tracking. I would offer to pay. All companies that I dealt with used regular mail with no tracking numbers. Some companies used an internal service to do the mailing...a very bad practice. I would want the person handling my account to use something fast with tracking....especially if the brokerage had made mistakes and the process was extended.

If you are assigned a person who is mistake prone and slow, ask for a change. I could not make that happen no matter who I called and talked to at the lower levels. I could never talk to a supervisor. I started shooting for the President's office and the board of directors; in my case, it was difficult to find the contact information. I probably should have written letters. A brokerage had a Facebook page; I used the private message and got a promising response; put that on hold because I got got help from a board of directors communication. An SEC complaint is online and easy; they respond quickly. The Better Business Bureau is a little harder; they make you jump through a hoop or two...but not bad. If none of the above worked, I was going to visit both of the local branches and see who would listen.
Last edited by hudson on Sat May 19, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by livesoft » Sat May 19, 2018 9:41 am

When my mom died, the executor did exactly what you noticed should be done: Move deceased assets to heir assets at same financial institution. Then each heir can deal with their own account at that financial institution.
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hudson
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Question: What if beneficiaries don't cooperate?

Post by hudson » Sat May 19, 2018 12:47 pm

Question:

The Wells Advisor told me that they wouldn't do the TOD until they had transfer forms from all beneficiaries.
That wasn't a problem in our case except for the long mailing times for two of us.
Is that normal?
What if the beneficiaries aren't cooperative or very slow. My Vanguard transfer-helper thought that that was crazy.

bsteiner
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by bsteiner » Sat May 19, 2018 12:51 pm

It would have been simpler without the transfer on death designation. With a death certificate and a court certificate evidencing their appointment, the executors could have collected the assets.

Alan S.
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Re: Question: What if beneficiaries don't cooperate?

Post by Alan S. » Sat May 19, 2018 4:05 pm

hudson wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:47 pm
Question:

The Wells Advisor told me that they wouldn't do the TOD until they had transfer forms from all beneficiaries.
That wasn't a problem in our case except for the long mailing times for two of us.
Is that normal?
What if the beneficiaries aren't cooperative or very slow. My Vanguard transfer-helper thought that that was crazy.
Yes, IRA custodians occasionally have been done to ask for coordinated forms from all beneficiaries before they will create separate inherited accounts. Legally, unless this is stated in their agreement, they are bluffing and will back off if the beneficiary insists. In a broader sense, the more beneficiaries there are, the more likely they will not get along, will procrastinate, or otherwise slow down the process.

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Sat May 19, 2018 4:29 pm

bsteiner wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:51 pm
It would have been simpler without the transfer on death designation. With a death certificate and a court certificate evidencing their appointment, the executors could have collected the assets.
Thanks bsteiner! I will consider that in my own planning! TODs are nice to avoid probate; I didn't know about the drawbacks until now. It's probably a good idea to work with a qualified attorney to set up a good plan. TODs might be great; but could be pain. When I first talked to the Vanguard transfer guy, he said that it was always difficult dealing with transfers.

hudson
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Re: Question: What if beneficiaries don't cooperate?

Post by hudson » Sat May 19, 2018 4:37 pm

Alan S. wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:05 pm
hudson wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:47 pm
Question:

The Wells Advisor told me that they wouldn't do the TOD until they had transfer forms from all beneficiaries.
That wasn't a problem in our case except for the long mailing times for two of us.
Is that normal?
What if the beneficiaries aren't cooperative or very slow. My Vanguard transfer-helper thought that that was crazy.
Yes, IRA custodians occasionally have been done to ask for coordinated forms from all beneficiaries before they will create separate inherited accounts. Legally, unless this is stated in their agreement, they are bluffing and will back off if the beneficiary insists. In a broader sense, the more beneficiaries there are, the more likely they will not get along, will procrastinate, or otherwise slow down the process.
Alan S,
The WFA turned down or ignored all my initial polite requests for speed. How do you present it to them so that they'll back off. Do you get an attorney to call? I called multiple times asking for a supervisor; they always put me right back to the same WFA. (Wells Advisor). I realize that my situation is probably solved, but how should the next Boglehead proceed? I know that one is tempted to scream into the phone or get a sign saying THE BROKERAGE IS VERY BAD and march into a branch office demanding to talk to the manager. Sometimes those stunts are effective; but I'm sure there's an easier more effective way.

hudson
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am

Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Sat May 19, 2018 5:06 pm

bsteiner wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:51 pm
It would have been simpler without the transfer on death designation. With a death certificate and a court certificate evidencing their appointment, the executors could have collected the assets.

Thanks bsteiner! I will consider that in my own planning! TODs are nice to avoid probate; I didn't know about the drawbacks until now. It's probably a good idea to work with a qualified attorney to set up a good plan. TODs might be great; but could be pain. When I first talked to the Vanguard transfer guy, he said that it was always difficult dealing with transfers. He was correct
Last edited by hudson on Wed May 23, 2018 8:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

bsteiner
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by bsteiner » Sat May 19, 2018 5:57 pm

hudson wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:29 pm
bsteiner wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:51 pm
It would have been simpler without the transfer on death designation. With a death certificate and a court certificate evidencing their appointment, the executors could have collected the assets.
Thanks bsteiner! I will consider that in my own planning! TODs are nice to avoid probate; I didn't know about the drawbacks until now. It's probably a good idea to work with a qualified attorney to set up a good plan. TODs might be great; but could be pain. When I first talked to the Vanguard transfer guy, he said that it was always difficult dealing with transfers.
In most cases, in most states, probating a Will is not particularly difficult, expensive or burdensome, and as illustrated here, trying to avoid it often creates more problems than it solves.

If you're in California where probating a Will is difficult or Delaware where it's expensive, or if there's some other reason for it, a revocable trust is usually a better workaround.

There are, of course, exceptions. For example, someone with a modest size estate and only one beneficiary could safely name that person as beneficiary of his/her accounts.

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 23, 2018 6:34 am

bsteiner wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:57 pm
hudson wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:29 pm
bsteiner wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:51 pm
It would have been simpler without the transfer on death designation. With a death certificate and a court certificate evidencing their appointment, the executors could have collected the assets.
Thanks bsteiner! I will consider that in my own planning! TODs are nice to avoid probate; I didn't know about the drawbacks until now. It's probably a good idea to work with a qualified attorney to set up a good plan. TODs might be great; but could be pain. When I first talked to the Vanguard transfer guy, he said that it was always difficult dealing with transfers.
In most cases, in most states, probating a Will is not particularly difficult, expensive or burdensome, and as illustrated here, trying to avoid it often creates more problems than it solves.

If you're in California where probating a Will is difficult or Delaware where it's expensive, or if there's some other reason for it, a revocable trust is usually a better workaround.

There are, of course, exceptions. For example, someone with a modest size estate and only one beneficiary could safely name that person as beneficiary of his/her accounts.
It's great to have Bogleheads like you who share their experience/expertise! It pays to read these discussions and make or adjust plans as needed.

hudson
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Transfer Took Place But With Errors

Post by hudson » Wed May 23, 2018 7:56 am

A 70% transfer; 30% did not come by mistake....human error...not a normal transfer error.
The helping person assigned by the board of directors called and asked me how it went and then took action to get the remaining 30%. This person is first class and does good work.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed May 23, 2018 8:20 am

Our transfer from WF went very fast, because we did it in 2 steps. First, all the parties, who all lived in the same area, signed paperwork agreeing to the way the assets were split and mailed it in (there were some CDs and GNMA bonds that were difficult to split so they were allocated among the beneficiaries.) Then, once each party had the individual account set up we moved our account quickly. Well, there was the issue of getting a Medallion Signature Guarantee, but that's another story.

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 23, 2018 8:23 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:20 am
Our transfer from WF went very fast, because we did it in 2 steps. First, all the parties, who all lived in the same area, signed paperwork agreeing to the way the assets were split and mailed it in (there were some CDs and GNMA bonds that were difficult to split so they were allocated among the beneficiaries.) Then, once each party had the individual account set up we moved our account quickly. Well, there was the issue of getting a Medallion Signature Guarantee, but that's another story.
Thanks NotWhoYouThink!
It sounds like WFA did a great job and you had a great advisor! I've learned the hard way that the key is setting up an individual account at WFA. Then you can keep it there or transfer if you want. I know 2 people who love WFA and plan to stay for the long haul.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed May 23, 2018 8:55 am

No, we had a terrible Advisor. He is a liar and a cheat and he put our relative into some terrible funds. He actively tried to prevent us from getting the MSG. But the beneficiaries were listed on the account, and he did what he was required to do. It did require the beneficiaries to cooperate and sign some papers in a timely manner.

hudson
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Re: Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) Transfer On Death (TOD)

Post by hudson » Wed May 23, 2018 9:21 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:55 am
No, we had a terrible Advisor. He is a liar and a cheat and he put our relative into some terrible funds. He actively tried to prevent us from getting the MSG. But the beneficiaries were listed on the account, and he did what he was required to do. It did require the beneficiaries to cooperate and sign some papers in a timely manner.
WFA didn't require a Medallion Sig. Guarantee...just a notary stamp. For other transfers, it was required; we got the Medallion SG at a local credit union. The credit union person asked a few more questions for the MSG than for a notary stamp; I was in and out in 10 minutes.

hudson
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Transfer Still Incomplete...Questions

Post by hudson » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:37 am

Update from OP
Two of us are now mostly OK; three are incomplete including two long term WFA customers; why not??; WFA said all 5 transfer requests OK on April 17th....It's June 21st.

The cash position in the original TOD account has grown. Who gets that?

I called the representative from the WF Board that we've been dealing with and asked....

Transfers have had multiple errors; can we get someone to review transfers before sending?(Does quality assurance exist at WFA?)

Can we have the account audited? (because of multiple errors)

Can we each get a summary "Fair Share Report"?

Can we each get a "Zero Balance Report" certifying that the original TOD account is clear.

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