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Vanguard screwed up half step up in basis

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  • Vanguard screwed up half step up in basis

    Right after I praised their customer service in a separate thread. Today I checked my account to complete my BDR (so separate reason for going online), saw they converted my joint account to a single account (ok, that part good). Saw they posted half the lots as purchase dates of my wife's death (still good), but... they left the original cost basis as the new cost basis (that's not how half step up works). I had to email them with an article explaining what they did wrong, but shouldn't they know this already? Perhaps bc my wife kept her last name, but the death certificate that I had to send in clearly states she was married to me at the TOD. I'll see after their response if it will require a phone call and long wait to fix.

  • #2
    Yeah, I’m not impressed with VG estate/life change department. When my father died my mother should have gotten a full step up since they reside in a community property state. She only got half the step up in their VG account. Called VG and they said they’d check into it. Meanwhile their Fidelity account did it right. Eventually just transferred VG account to Fidelity and explained the step-up error. They asked for the last VG statement prior to death and corrected the error upon transfer. Never heard back from VG.


    • #3
      Frustrating, I'm sure. I empathize. In the process of settling my second estate in three years. Institutions only respond as well as the individual handling the issue. I have several times encountered bank account managers that were flat out wrong on how the accounts had to be handled. Patience is the order of the day. Obviously well worth getting this right with Vanguard.


      • #4
        First, really sorry to hear about your wife. I knew she was sick but did not knows she passed. Really really sorry man. Will keep you in my prayers. I cannot imagine and I am truly sorry.

        As for vanguard........yes, I am losing my patience with them. At some point I might just switch everything to some other company with low cost index funds who will give me a competent human to deal with that knows me and cares about my satisfaction.

        I had this briefly with vanguard. Had a flagship guy named Tom out in Arizona who I could set up appointments with and discuss stuff and ask stuff. I got this service for free because I had like 3M invested or something.

        Then they changed it. No more Tom. No more intelligent life to interact with.

        Just call the 1800 number and sit on hold.

        Then we will torture you with people who know less about personal finance than you do and certainly less than people on this forum who are really smart.

        I hate it because I really liked the whole Bogle story, the whole Boglehead revolution, the idea of "costs matter" and "stay the course" but they truly suck and when they screw stuff up and have silly stuff like solo 401k does not allow Roth conversions or take rollovers for no real good reason and customer service sucks then it really makes me want to just walk away.


        • #5
          I am really sorry to hear about your wife . Every time I saw your post , I used to think about her . Our prayers for you and family .


          • #6
            Thank you all on this thread and others who reached out as I let it be known that my wife died. She suffered with cancer way too long and way too young. It sucks no way around it but at least she is finally pain free and I was there for her final conscious and unconscious moments.

            But dealing with the financial institutions and NJ's stupid forms after her death has been an additional nightmare at times. I could only imagine if the roles were reversed how my wife would've navigated this because I am the "financial" person in our relationship. She would've known to contact vanguard but no chance she would've picked up their mistake. And that's what makes it more frustrating.


            • #7
              I decided to call again today- 5 minutes to connect with a representative, looked into it, told me that the final cost basis should be updated in a few days. Either they do it in two separate steps, or they screwed up and are now fixing it. Annoying, but at least it will be fixed.