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IRA Inheritance - Bank lost proof of beneficiary from, won't release funds / Wells Fargo

Los Angeles, CA |

My father passed away a few months ago and he had named both my sister and I as equal beneficiaries on his $500,000+ IRA; we have a copy of his latest Wells Fargo statement that states this. Wells Fargo has asked the person in charge of my father's estate (not us) to sign off on a "Surviving Child Certification" form but his attorney advised him not to and now he will not do it. Wells Fargo refuses to release any funds until that form is signed. Since they can't find it, we are assuming that Wells Fargo and/or ING (investment company) either misplaced or can't find my fathers original beneficiary designation form. Can we file any kind of claim against Wells Fargo for losing that documentation? We were specifically excluded from my fathers will and this is really all he left us.


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Attorney answers 3


I recommend filing a Petition to Determine Entitlement with the court and get a court order stating the asset belongs to you and your sister. Wells Fargo will comply with a court order. It should be a straightforward Petition and many attorneys will probably work with you on fees and costs to help you get the proceeds from the IRA.


How do you know what the will says? You could file your own petition to probate his estate and then make your claims regarding the Wells Fargo account as a petitioner. You might then be forced to file a separate Will Contest. Has anyone been appointed by the court to administrate his estate? Was there a Trust? Please seeklegal help.


I agree with attorney James. You may need to file a petition re entitlement in the Probate court. At a minimum, you need to immediately retain counsel and assert your interest in the IRA. It is unclear whether this would be a probate matter or an interpleader in civil court initiated by Wells Fargo if they are unable to determine the appropriate beneficiary.

-- Michael

Michael R. Daymude, Attorney at Law
Sherman Oaks Galleria – Comerica Bank Building
15303 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 900
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-3199
(818) 971-9409

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