Monday, April 19, 2010

Well, that was unproductive

After a little over 2 years, I am finally tackling some of the financial aspects stemming from James' death that I did not have to immediately deal with. A couple of these things involve his credit union. I took 3/29 off and met with the financial advisor. I was actually supposed to meet with the financial advisor that James had set up the accounts with several months ago but the day after I made the appointment, they called back to tell me he no longer worked there and they finally have a new one in place.

There were three separate issues to be dealt with: his accounts, a small investment account and Section 529 college savings plans for his nephew and nieces. When I was there on the 29th, the member accounts person (who decided to muddle through the process of setting up a new account and transferring a deceased person's account balances to the new account instead of calling the person who knew how to do it) was able to get an account setup for me. I'm pretty sure the paperwork is wrong. I needed an account, however, because a new application from the credit union is needed to transfer the investment account to me. At this meeting, we were also able to get the paperwork started to transfer ownership of the 529 plans to me. I had to fill out an application and transfer form for each plan, but I was able to bring that home to do it at my convenience, which of course was not convenient to do until this past weekend when I realized I should probably get that done.

We found out that I needed to fill out a beneficiary claim form for the investment account and they couldn't fax or e-mail that to the financial advisor, but they could snail mail it to me. So we set up an appointment for today, I took my 529 plan "homework" and went on my merry way.

When I got there today I set out the 529 plan paperwork and told the financial advisor he needed to sign the front of the change form and fill out part of the application for each one. He laughed and said it was not every day someone sat down in his office and presented paperwork in an organized fashion for him to fill out instead of the other way around. He started to do his part and then we decided to call on the investment account first since we wanted someone to talk us through the specifics of the application and knew how to do the other forms. He said we were in luck because his appointment after me had cancelled so we had more time if we needed it. I told him he may have more time but my appointment (dinner with my widower friend) had not cancelled so he had to have me out of there at 5:15 at the latest.

We got the rep from the investment company on the phone and spent the next hour filling out the 5 forms (I am not exaggerating-and this does not include the beneficiary claim form) needed to open a new account for me and transfer the balance to me. There were a couple of things I thought contradicted what the other rep had told us when I had my first meeting, but I was also kind of in a daze thanks to the sheer volume of paperwork. Between this and the house in California, I am starting to feel bad for how many trees I am responsible for killing.

After we finished the last form, the rep put us on hold. While we were on hold, the financial advisor finished filling out the 529 plan paperwork. It's a good thing we are both organized people by profession as we had various stacks of paperwork all over his desk. At one point, he looked over something from the investment firm and said there was no place for me to sign it. The rep said that was just a disclosure form and he just needed to hand it over to me. So, he made a big show of handing it to me, and I looked down at it and back up at him and said "We don't have a pile for this one." We thought it was funny. The rep had no sense of humor. The rep finally came back online and told us that he had been under one impression when we started the paperwork but the situation was different than what he had been thinking and I wasn't eligible for the investment options we had selected. Translation: those 5 forms we just spent an hour filling out are all wrong.

So now I have to go back again next month so we can fill out the correct paperwork. I have been assured by the financial advisor he knows how to fill out those forms without any assistance from the investment firm. I told him he wasn't the one I was losing faith in. I was annoyed, however, that that was pretty much a complete waste of time and my poor friend got an earful when we got to the restaurant and he innocently made the comment of "So, you're all squared away with the credit union now?" I had also just witnessed a very bizarre accident in which a small truck backed into a car at a stoplight and then waved to the driver of the car she hit and drove off, and then I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the driver behind me was reading the paper-while driving-so in addition to being annoyed, I was a bit frazzled and glad to be in one piece.

Hopefully my next visit will get this all squared away. It is hard to do this but it will also be nice to not having it hanging over my head anymore. And on the plus side, I am now going to be able to get the account set up the way I wanted it in the first place but was told I couldn't do. And the financial advisor is cute and has a great sense of humor so I think I will be able to handle spending another hour in his office. But any more than that and I think I am going to have to insist on dinner.

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