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IRA beneficiary subject to probate ruling?
Old 05-12-2011, 10:53 AM   #1
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IRA beneficiary subject to probate ruling?

Someone recently passed away. She left IRAs with the beneficiaries clearly identified, but the account is with a “financial advisor” at a national back. The executor sent him death certificates and has requested he establish IRA beneficiary accounts but the FA refuses to act until he receives probate court formal designation of the executor as such. Is this necessary or typical (in Illinois)? For a taxable account, of course, but I assumed that an IRA custodian only needed the death and beneficiary paperwork to process the IRAs.

In advance, I appreciate responses and insights.

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Old 05-12-2011, 02:27 PM   #2
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Speaking from my own experience as an executrix, I was required to get a document called a letter testamentary issued by the register of wills at my courthouse in addition to a death certificate to transact business at most financial institutions. It attested to the fact that I was indeed the authorized executrix.
I found the big bank I dealt with to be the worst in terms of delay and continued requests for more documentation as their centralized legal department had to rule on every request to do anything at all. I still use this bank but I swear I will have only about 36 cents left in my account (by design) when I exit this life.
I have transfer on death on all of my non-qualified accounts and also a named beneficiary (and contingent beneficiaries) on all of my qualified accounts.

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Old 05-12-2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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Two possiblities...

He did not send letters of testimentary to the bank... a death certificate by itself is not enough since he is making the request to transfer... who knows for sure that HE is the right person to make the request....

The second is that the beneficiarys are not identified at the bank... you did not say if there was a designation made are the IRA account level or if it is in the will... again, if the bank does not have any paperwork, then they want all relevent documents to procede... that includes court papers..

Now, if the beneficiaries were on the form that the bank provided and the bank had it in their possession prior to death... I would say that the beneficiaries could contact the bank and just show the death certificate and be done with it.... no need to involve the executor... or the court...
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:05 PM   #4
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My mother just passed away and she had put much in a trust, but not everything. My sister was the Co-trustee, however, I am the personal representative. So my sister is taking care of the things in the trust and I will have to take care of all other things.

She contacted the bank and they would not even speak with her until she told them that the beneficiaries were listed on the account. The told her that they would send forms to fill out. This was over a month ago and we have yet to receive them. They are requiring a death certificate so far but nothing else. We will see.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:30 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. The beneficiaries are clearly identified on each IRA account. I'm going to prepare a letter each can send directly to the bank so the accounts can be opened without further delay. We'll see what happens.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:31 AM   #6
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When DW's dad passed away last year, she was given a dozen certified copies of a "short certificate" issued by the probate court at the time the will was filed. This certificate showed that she was appointed as executrix. The two mutual fund companies where dad's IRA's were held required that the short certificates be provided along with the forms to create the beneficiary IRA accounts.

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