Vanguard is a mess and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. At one time they certainly improved things for investors by driving down ETF/mutual fund fees but as someone who had to deal with them with my father’s inheritance, it was painful.
Like many companies they don’t seem to have any local offices which means everything has to be done via the phone or postal mail. With long wait times which gets more annoying as they transfer you to another office, the hold process starts over again (despite being assured you will be given priority and that they isn’t a current wait time, yeah there was.
I’m not sure but I kind of wonder if every brokerage will require the beneficiary to open a new account and receive the funds and only after that happens, you can receive a distribution (all or some). I think it may be due to accounting issues, potential tax issues.
Yeah it is frustrating since I had zero interest in keeping the money at Vanguard and once, after many, many phone calls, I finally got everything into my name and accounts, I contacted Fidelity and moved it all there.
Unfortunately many companies rely on dated things such as notarized or medallion signature guarantees which can be tough to find. Some places will give the later only after you’ve had a 6 month business relationship with them. Also the medallion guarantee requires you to provide additional info on the account to get the “stamp” and if you are inheriting the account it is often hard to get that info.
For example, TRowePrice statements clearly showed who the beneficiaries were on the account and of course the account balance, etc. My credit union needed all of that info to provide the medallion guarantee. Vanguard doesn’t provide that info on normal statements and trying to get it from them would be painful, thankfully I didn’t need it from them.
I think my biggest breakdown with Vanguard occurred because they insisted on me providing a verbal password that apparently I had set up years ago. Well, I’m sorry but if you haven’t had an active account (i.e., money was removed/transferred to another place) and have $0 with them, it seems like me they should treat you as an entirely new customer. In my case they wouldn’t and my only recourse was to fill out paperwork to remove the security password for phone calls and get it notarized which I did.
But they frustratingly they continued to ask me for the password despite me getting a confirmation that it was removed so I had to continue to argue with them that it was removed. Finally I had to do about 30 pages of forms the old fashioned way, mailed them in and finally got a guy who was helpful and removed the security stuff once he confirmed they had the paperwork.
So no matter how you do things, problems can occur and at times you seem to get stuck in a catch-22 situation where one place wants certain documents but the other place won’t provide them until you give them something else and then throw in long hold times and it can be a mess.
My attorney said this is why sometimes it is best to only deal with real people in local offices but that is rare to find nowadays w/o paying high fees.
Surprisingly the easiest company to deal with was the life insurance. Just had to fill out some forms, scan them, email a death certificate and got the money (not a large amount) within 10 days.
The biggest scam to me was the retirement apartment my parents purchased. They paid a large deposit and on their death the deposit is supposed to be given to the heirs after some repair costs were deducted but while I’m sure it was in the legal documents what happens is:
- They deduct 4 months of rent post death
- The repair costs were extreme in my opinion ($30K) for what I would consider basic painting/carpet replacement in a small apartment.
- They do not give back the money until the EXACT apartment is re-rented to another customer. So it could be a long time before we see a penny from it.
Obviously it is what it is and people need to understand this before signing documents but I honestly doubt my father had a clue as to these details based on limited conversations regarding the apartment.
It certainly makes me uninterested in ever moving into a place like that.
This certainly got off tracked.