Estate Planning 101

Notifying Vanguard Group After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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The passing of a loved one often comes with numerous responsibilities, one of which includes notifying various organizations and service providers. If your loved one had a pension plan with the Vanguard Group, it is vital to inform them promptly to ensure the correct handling of the account and possible survivor benefits.

Who Should Be Notified

The Vanguard Group, one of the world's largest investment companies, should be informed if your loved one had a pension or any investment accounts there. This is to stop any further contributions, prevent potential fraud, and enable the right distribution of assets.

When to Notify

You should inform the Vanguard Group as soon as possible following the death of your loved one. This prompt action can help prevent any complications regarding the pension account.

How to Notify

You can notify the Vanguard Group about a death by calling their customer service line at 1-877-662-7447. You'll need to provide the deceased's account information, including their full name, date of birth, and Social Security number. You will also need a copy of the death certificate, which you can mail to Vanguard.

What to Expect After Notification

After the Vanguard Group has been notified, they will provide guidance on next steps. This may include the closure of the account, transfer of assets to named beneficiaries, or conversion to a survivor benefit plan, depending on the specifics of the pension plan.

Tips for Notification

When notifying the Vanguard Group, keep a record of all interactions. This includes dates and times of phone calls, the names of representatives you speak with, and any reference numbers for your call. If mailing in the death certificate, consider using tracked shipping for peace of mind.

Conclusion

Informing the Vanguard Group of a loved one's death is a key step in managing their financial affairs after their passing. By taking this step promptly and effectively, you can ensure the proper handling of their pension account.

FAQ

Q: Can I notify Vanguard online?
A: Currently, Vanguard requires notification of a death by phone or mail. There is no online process for this notification.

Q: What if there are multiple beneficiaries on the pension account?
A: Vanguard will typically distribute assets according to the deceased's designated beneficiary instructions. If there are multiple beneficiaries, the assets will be divided as specified in those instructions.

Q: What happens if there's no named beneficiary on the pension account?
A: If there's no named beneficiary, Vanguard will distribute the assets according to its standard policy, which usually means assets go to the deceased's estate. It's best to consult with a legal advisor in this situation.