Estate Planning 101

Notifying Vanguard After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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The loss of a loved one is a challenging time, filled with numerous responsibilities, including notifying various organizations about the death. If the deceased had an annuity with Vanguard or any investments, Vanguard should be informed as soon as possible to make the necessary arrangements and possibly transfer the annuity to the designated beneficiary.

Who Should Be Notified

Vanguard, as the deceased's annuity provider, should be notified. An annuity is a financial product that pays out income and is often used as part of a retirement strategy. Vanguard is one of the world's largest investment companies, providing a wide range of financial products, including annuities.

When to Notify

You should notify Vanguard as soon as possible following the death. This will allow them to stop any further annuity payments, which might otherwise lead to overpayments that would need to be returned, and to start the process of transferring the annuity to the beneficiary, if applicable.

How to Notify

To report a death to Vanguard, you can call their customer service line at 1-800-528-4999. Be prepared to provide the deceased's name, date of birth, and Social Security number. You'll likely also need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate.

What to Expect After Notification

After the notification, Vanguard will guide you through the necessary steps. If the deceased had named a beneficiary for the annuity, Vanguard will assist in transferring the annuity. If no beneficiary was named, the annuity may become part of the deceased's estate and be handled accordingly.

Tips for Notification

Keep a record of all communication with Vanguard, including dates and details of phone calls. Having this information on hand can be useful if there are any discrepancies or issues in the future. If there's a designated beneficiary, make sure they're involved in the process as well.

Conclusion

Informing Vanguard about the death of a loved one with an annuity is an important step in managing their financial affairs following their passing. By understanding the process and promptly notifying Vanguard, you can ensure the smooth handling of the annuity.

FAQ

Q: Can I notify Vanguard of a death online?
A: Currently, Vanguard requires you to call their customer service line to report a death.

Q: What if the annuity has multiple beneficiaries?
A: Vanguard will assist in dividing the annuity among the beneficiaries according to the deceased's instructions or the terms of the annuity contract.

Q: What happens if there's no named beneficiary for the annuity?
A: In this case, the annuity typically becomes part of the deceased's estate and will be handled as per the terms of their will or state law if there's no will.