Here's the financial picture.
- Wife is 29 and I'm 30.
- We have one child.
- We have no debt. We also do not pay rent or utilities.
- I have a 401k through work with a balance of about $27K.
- We have a little over 7k cash in our E-fund.
- We have about 13k cash between checking, savings purchases, savings baby, savings car repairs, savings medical expenses, savings travel, savings husband school, savings travel, & savings little one college.
- We have not added to the mutual funds in past 6 months as we’re building up our E-fund and E-E-Funds (Other savings).
Church bonds are bonds issued by churches or religious institutions. My grandparents and parents have invested in these with a bit of success over the last few years.
The total mutual fund accounts will be approximately $108K - $43K, $33K, and $32K. The two smaller ones are the ones we don’t have control over at the moment and under family members names. That is before any withdrawals, transfers, etc.
UBS – mutual fund – 43K
Vanguard – mutual fund – 33K
Fidelity – mutual fund – 32K
Ok, I think I'd get away from UBS but it's not an emergency. The other two, Vanguard and Fidelity, are both good. I'm not sure I'd have a preference. What you might want to do is research the "perks" that each offers to see if anything appeals to you. Fidelity I think people like because they can get a free AMEX card or something. You might throw T. Rowe Price in the mix as well because if you moved all those accounts to them they will give you some free financial planning. But, I really don't think you can go wrong with V, F, or TRP so just research each yourself and pick the one that appeals to you most.
4. What is the exact registration of each account? For your privacy let's say your wife is Danielle Duck, her mom is Daisy Duck, and her uncle is Uncle Scrooge. But the other exact details might matter so change as little as you need to. The little initials like JT/JTRS/FBO/UTA etc. could be important.
Her name on the accounts is her maiden name (which we changed to her maiden married name on her social and id) this year – So let’s say her maiden name is Erika Smith. Mom’s name is the same Mary Smith. Uncles name is different Tim Jones.
I'm still confused. Is the account registered as Erika Smith or as Tim Jones FBO Erika Smith. Is there some place that has a UTA and a date after it? Does Time Jones' name appear as TTEE?
This is important information because...
If this is a custodial account under the Uniform Transfers (or Gifts) to Minors Act (UTMA/UGMA) then, as long as your wife has reached the age of majority, which she has if she is 29, then she can control the account without the custodian. She should be able to go to your bank, get a Medallion guarantee from an officer, and send that along with proof of age to UBS/Fidelity/Vanguard, and get the name on the account changed. She might not be able to add you in one step. They might want to put it solely in her name then make it joint in a separate action. But the current company holding the account should be able to help with that. It is also highly unlikely they will transfer it until the name is changed. Transfers usually must be between identically registered accounts only.
If these are trust accounts under a custom trust then you and Vanguard etc will need to look at the trust documents to determine if a name change is authorized. In that case you might need the trustee's signature.
I believe they are all taxable accounts. I know UBS is. The other two I’d have to double check. I assume they are since we claim them each year for our taxes.
It sounds like they are taxable. That means you don't need to worry about penalties and time limits but you will pay capital gains taxes on any gains if you choose to liquidate before transferring.
If you do choose to liquidate, I would definitely NOT suggest having a check mailed to you. Use Fedwire. It will cost you a bit but is far more secure.
Bear in mind also that if a check is issued, it will be in the name of exactly the way the account is registered. If you do not get the names fixed first then the check could be in Tom Jones' name FBO Erika Smith. It could be hard to deposit a check made out that way!
Mr. Jones lives in another city. He would have to drive 3-4 hours to change the account into my wife’s name. He’s willing to do it just is incredibly busy as he is a public servant and cares for my wife’s grandmother. We haven’t actually asked him to switch the account over to her name only yet.
There should be no reason for him to travel. You should be able to take care of the entire transfer by mail. He might need to get a signature guarantee or notarization but that is it. We have done this several times .
Also, see above, if this is an UGMA account and she has reached the age of majority she can probably do this without his involvement although you should inform him as a courtesy if he is the custodian.
A couple of things to consider:
First, we've done transfers as part of our trust administration and our attorney's staff handled it for free. It's the kind of thing paralegals can do in many states. Assuming it is legal for paralegals to process paperwork in Texas, you might consider hiring a paralegal to take care of the paperwork for you. It's just a thought. I don't think you need a lawyer for this but if you don't understand the paper work then paying for a couple of hours of a paralegal's time to explain things or file everything for you might be worth it just to save the headaches.
Second, most fund companies will give you a "transfer concierge" to help you transfer money in as long as it is of a substantial amount. You should qualify with $100k. Now, that won't work with Vanguard or Fidelity since you are already there with part of the money but if you call and say you are thinking of moving elsewhere with $100k+ because they will help you do the move, I bet F or V will offer you help.