In a predominantly service economy, especially one hedged in with regulations, restrictions and poorly thought out or enforced rules, one is bound to run into trouble from time to time. By trouble, I mean bad service, poor service or even no service from a firm with which you have a business relationship. In the financial industry we all too often experience this type of problem with a number of institutions, particularly banks and custodians.
The persons you generally deal with at these institutions are often ill-trained, unmotivated or even, in the worst cases, deliberate in their refusal to do their jobs which are, after all, to serve their customers. More often than you might think, a customer is told that they cannot do what the law says they can do or an institution requires the customer to jump through all sorts of hoops to get anything done. This can happen with something as simple as an heir taking over a mortgage on the death of the primary debtor or choosing to take distributions from an inherited IRA over the actuarial life expectancy of the original owner. As you may imagine, more complicated situations result in even more difficulty where the institution – through its employees – ignores the law and tries to impose different requirements because that is the institutional preference.
What to do? The good news is, of course, that there are a lot of different banks, credit unions, trust companies and custodians out there. Moving the account to an institution that will follow the law and is willing to work with you is not as difficult as it seems. Any difficulty you experience in making such a change will be well worth it as you go forward with the new institution. Your attorney or financial adviser may be able to suggest an alternative for you when the institution currently holding the account won’t do their job.