wells fargo’s new slogan: “we have no clue what we’re doing”
if you’ve ever inherited money, you might know that inherited IRA accounts come with a ton of potential pitfalls that can cost you a huge amount in taxes. i spent the better part of two weeks reading up about them, trying to figure out what i needed to do to avoid having my entire inheritance taxed as ordinary income.
since i was under a time constraint (the current custodian of my aunt’s pension gave me 30 days to process a rollover, otherwise it would have been paid out as a full payout to me), i decided to walk into a wells fargo branch locally (my issues are with BOTH branches in pottsville, PA) and explain the situation to them. i had already researched it, and found through their website that they did in fact offer inherited IRA accounts (that was a major problem, also…not every bank or financial institution does).
i figured, there’s no way they could possibly mess this up…even if they didn’t know how to do this, they’re a major US bank with branches in nearly (if not entirely) every state in the country. surely, they’d at least be able to direct me to the right person to talk to if they didn’t know how to set it up. apparently, i was dead wrong.
the banker at the local branch called his corporate HQ to figure out what to do. they walked him through the process, and we filled out some forms. i signed and had notarized the form to have the current custodian transfer the money into my shiny new wells fargo inherited IRA account. he said the new account should be set up in 3-5 days, and the money transferred from the old custodian shortly thereafter. problem solved.
except, it wasn’t. not by a long shot. when i hadn’t heard anything a week and a half later about what was going on, i decided to call wells fargo’s 800 number. after being transferred around several times to several different areas, they finally found my new account somehow. i don’t remember if they found it through my SSN, or my mortgage (which, after this debacle, unfortunately is still with wells fargo). they said they could see that the forms were received by their processing department and were being processed. yes, this was 10 days later. still being processed, after i was told the account would be set up and ready to go in 3-5 days. i called again the following monday. still being processed…now we’re 14+ days after i filled out the paperwork.
fast-forward ANOTHER WEEK. i speak with wells fargo again, after not hearing anything for yet 10 more days. this time, we’ve got an update. after transferring me all over the place, again, and keeping me on hold for almost an hour, they finally find me in the system. the paperwork has been sent back to the current custodian. it was sent out earlier in the week. they’re waiting on them. i think to myself: “excellent, we might finally be getting somewhere.”
until yesterday, when i called the current custodian to check on the status. “we have no record of any forms being received.” the bankers at the branch where i filled the forms out initially can’t find anything. not under my SSN, not under my aunt’s SSN. they have no idea what’s going on. i have a call into another banker at that branch. i’ll update here when i have a better idea what’s going on.
as of right now, we’re at 32 days since i filled out the forms at the branch on good friday. THIRTY-TWO. after i was told the account would be set up and ready to go in 3-5 days.
to add to this whole story – they also severely bungled my mom’s inherited IRA. both mine and her’s are coming from the same custodian, same pension account. with my mom’s “account” (and i use that term loosely), the branch also has no record of the forms ever being sent anywhere. nothing can be found with either SSN.
i’m very glad i don’t have any banking accounts with wells fargo…but unfortunately, my mortgage is stuck there. if you have any money there, i’d strongly recommend you consider moving it elsewhere as soon as possible. their incompetence knows no bounds…