Eagle wrote:I. Plan of action:
1. Call each company to find out how each investment is set up.
I will need to contact Fidelity and Vanguard to ask them more questions. It seems the first thing I should’ve done is seen how the accounts were set up. As far as I know there is no trust. My wife’s father managed all this (investments specifically) for her before we were married. Perhaps I need to pick his brain.
2. Change the name on the accounts to reflect wife’s current married name. (A)
3. Research the "perks" that each investment firm offers to see if anything appeals to us. Look into Fidelity, Vanguard, & T. Rowe Price.
4. Look at either transfer of funds or consolidating into one open account
If closing the accounts determine whether to do it via a) Check b) Electronically (B) & (C)
We honestly don’t want to pay anything extra. The reason why I’m a little stuck on this physical check issue is we may want to invest a portion of the money into different types of investments such as bonds, CD’s, etc. I cashed out an investment via check with Edward Jones a few years back and it worked just fine.
I guess that was a risky thing to do?
The trouble is, checks can be stolen or intercepted in many different ways. They can be "washed" for example. It is probably a small risk but not zero. It's generally a bad idea to send a large check through the mail. If you do a direct transfer between financial institutions it will go by Fedwire very safely.
Honestly, I think you will have problems if you get a check because it will be made out to your wife only and might be difficult to deposit in a joint account. But it really depends on a lot. I actually can't understand why you would not want to do a direct transfer.
You best bet would be to transfer directly to V F or TRP and then have them send you a check for anything you want to put in CDs or whatever.
Eagle wrote:II. Questions to ask UBS, F, V:
1. How is the account set up? Will there be any fees associated with closing the account?
2. Is this an UGMA account?
3. Would we qualify for an Admiral Account with Vanguard?
4. Is there a "transfer concierge" that is available to help us?
Anything that I missed and should ask?
That's a good start. But you might talk to each company and go with the one most willing to give you the help you need. They are there to help you, answer your questions, and explain anything you don't understand. Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions.
DoingHomework wrote: Is there some place that has a UTA and a date after it? Does Tim Jones' name appear as TTEE?
What is a UTA? What is TTEE?
If the account is a trust then the registration will be something like "The Minnie Mouse Revocable Trust UTA DTD 5/12/1987 Tom Jones TTEE, FBO Erika Smith" which means it is a revocable trust called the "Minnie Mouse Trust" Under Terms Agreed (UTA) Dated (DTD) 5/12/1987. The Trustee (TTEE) is Tom Jones who runs the trust for the benefit of (FBO) Erika Smith who is the beneficiary. I might not have that 100% precisely right but that is the general idea (maybe bpqui will correct). The point is, if you see a registration like that then it is a trust and the company will have on file a certificate of trust existence and authority that it uses to verify that the person trying to make a change actually has the authority.
With a custodial account established for a minor under the UGMA, the rules are prescribed by law so they only need to confirm that the minor is over the age of majority, so it is simpler.
It is also possible that the money is simply in your wife's name and is not even a custodial account at all. Or it could actually be a joint account with her uncle in which case you will need his signature to remove him (and the removal might constitute a taxable gift). You can recognize a joint tenancy registration usually by the abbreviation JT or JTRS on the registration
You are going to run into another minor issue but I want to explain what is happening in case you do.
The money right now is in your wife's maiden name. It is money she had before the marriage. You are not legally entitled to it and the financial firms have a fiduciary obligation to protect her from you:
They will likely require that the account first be put in her name only and converted to an individual account rather than a custodial account. She will need to sign her maiden name to do that.
Then they will let here change the name on the account by showing a marriage license and probably filling out a form on which she signs her maiden name and married name. They might also require an affidavit swearing that Erika Smith and Erika Jones are one and the same person. That affidavit will probably only have to be notarized, possibly with witnesses.
After that they will likely have her transfer the money into a NEW joint account.
Each of these steps may or may not require new paperwork. We have done this a few times in our going on 25 years together and the steps always vary with company. My wife actually still has stuff in her maiden name because one company was such a pain about making a change that we just gave up because it didn't really matter.
I recall Vanguard being particular obtuse about something when we set up a living trust about 5 years ago and they screwed up the same paperwork 3 times. But I don't remember exactly what the issue was. But as others have said, any company can do this.
In my experience, this whole process can go very fast or glacially slow. You have to be a little bit patient and do exactly as you are told. They should give you clear instructions. But in your case you are actually trying to do several different things - removing a custodian, creating a new individual account, creating a new joint account, and transferring to a new firm so you should not be surprised if they want to do it all serially and it takes some time and there might be some confusion along the way. Blame the lawyers!