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Old 08-13-2013, 09:47 PM   #21
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Interesting. What about the brokerages, banks, etc.? Eventually they will learn about a death of an account holder. Are they not then obligated to honor the beneficiary designations?
Yes, as long as someone comes forward with a death certificate and the beneficiary provides proof of identification. They usually don't go looking for the beneficiaries. I should add that'd I'd tell the beneficiary that I named them and the company involved, but you don't need to tell them anything else.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:08 AM   #22
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We have all the #'s of every account (checking, saving, pension, annuity, insurance) I could think of in a drawer, along with lock box information, etc. Contact information for each account is listed. We have pointed the drawer out to our three adult kids and tried to make it as easy as possible for them...and sneaky burglars.

In this morning's state paper, a quote mentioned in the syndicated Money Matters reminded me of this thread:

As Samuel Butler observed, "When you have told anyone you have left him a legacy, the only decent thing to do is to die at once."
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:44 AM   #23
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Interesting. What about the brokerages, banks, etc.? Eventually they will learn about a death of an account holder. Are they not then obligated to honor the beneficiary designations?
How would they eventually learn about the death of an account holder?

SS would be notified to provide the death benefit and to stop paying benefits if you are currently collecting. Most life insurers will then find out when they poll the SS data to determine if they need to pay a death benefit on a life insurance policy (relatively new practice for many life insurers) or stop paying on an annuity.

However, I'm not sure how a brokerage, bank or on my case Vanguard would find out unless someone notifies them. Given the nature of their business, I don't think they routinely poll SS data for deceased customers.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:17 AM   #24
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Have you named them? You may need to do so, give birthdates, addresses, and so on. You can do all that online but you have to take the initiative.
Yes, all of my accounts have named beneficiaries that were added on line. I just took a look at my Vanguard account. All it asks for is name and DOB. No address, phone or SS#. I'm not sure how they would find my beneficiaries if they needed to without this information.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:23 AM   #25
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However, I'm not sure how a brokerage, bank or on my case Vanguard would find out unless someone notifies them. Given the nature of their business, I don't think they routinely poll SS data for deceased customers.
Brokerages should receive red flags such as returned mail, untaken RMDs, etc. Whether they then act upon such hints I do not know.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:46 AM   #26
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Brokerages should receive red flags such as returned mail, untaken RMDs, etc. Whether they then act upon such hints I do not know.
I suspect that for returned mail they would presume that you moved and failed to update your address rather than you died. I'm not sure what they would read into untaken RMDs - perhaps neglect or oversight.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:33 PM   #27
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Brokerages should receive red flags such as returned mail, untaken RMDs, etc. Whether they then act upon such hints I do not know.
I had this happen last yr w/Fidelity. On an inherited IRA, I setup autowithdrawals on the RMD every Dec. 1. I got the notification the RMD was taken and left it alone. In Jan, I went looking for the account transfer deposit and it wasn't there. After investigation, the deposit account wasn't updated when it was closed, so they redeposited the money back into the originating account instead of notifying me! Since the RMD didn't happen in the correct year, I had to file an explanation w/IRS to avoid the penalty. Fidelity apologized for the error and admitted this never should have happened. If I didn't catch this error, Fidelity wouldn't have caught it.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:39 PM   #28
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Yes, all of my accounts have named beneficiaries that were added on line. I just took a look at my Vanguard account. All it asks for is name and DOB. No address, phone or SS#. I'm not sure how they would find my beneficiaries if they needed to without this information.
Well, it may be time to pick up the phone and ask them. Peace of mind is worth the hassle. As a bonus, you could tell us what they say, too!
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