How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Phillips Esq. Your Own Question

Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 12740
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
Type Your Consumer Protection Law Question Here...
Phillips Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Vanguard has frozen my 401k account due to a returned letter.

Resolved Question:

Vanguard has frozen my 401k account due to a returned letter. The message on my online account states that my funds turned over to the state as unclaimed property if I do not contact them immediately to change my address, which is very threatening and stress-inducing. I would very much like to change my address and unlock my account.

After long hold times, I was told that I need to mail in a notarized change of address form, which has to be received within 30 days of notarization. This is an onerous request for several reasons:

1) I live overseas,where notarization is expensive ($50) and takes time away from work.
2) The mail system where I live is slow and unreliable - the letter would not likely arrive, and if it did, would not arrive within 30 days.
3) If I use an international courier to mail the letter, that would cost about $100.

I am not clear what additional security is obtained by requiring me to pay $150+ and take time from work just to change the address on my account. I provided security information on the phone, and also when I log in, so why won't they permit me to change my address over the phone or online?

Is there anything else I can do to convince Vanguard to unlock my account? What happens when the funds are turned over to the state? How can I claim the funds then? Will they tell me which state will have my funds? The account was opened for me from overseas by a former employer.

Hope you can advise. Thanks!
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 9 months ago.

Ray :

Hi and welcome to JA.My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will be assisting you today.

Ray :

You certainly may choose to seek an accounting and removal of trustee through the courts.If you are unhappy with your lawyer you may choose to terminate current lawyer and seek a new one.And yes you can seek to be awarded lawyer fees if you prevail in this matter.

Ray :

The trustee may have personal liability as well if you can show loss of funds or other acts here that violate his fiduciary duties to you and the trust.

Ray :

Here is reference to the process of removal and accounting.And claims against the trustee as well.

Ray :

You do have remedies here and you may seek to have court award lawyer fees if you prevail in removing the trustee and related claims.

Ray :

You certainly appear to have some good facts to pursue this and you may want to consider a new lawyer to do so.

Customer:

Hi, are your comments address to me or to someone else?

Ray :

No they are addressed to you and your situation.

Ray :

I am sorry let me opt out here this went to the wrong question.No need for you to do anything another expert will pick this up.Thanks for your patience here sorry for the site problem.

Ray :

Please do not rate and stand by.

Ray :

Thanks again for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Hello: This is PhillipsEsq. I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.




Is there anything else I can do to convince Vanguard to unlock my account?


Response 1: You should ask to speak with a Supervisor to see if you can you use verification of personal information along with the questions that you have answered previously in order to unlock your account.




What happens when the funds are turned over to the state?




Response 2
: You have to contact the State's unclaimed funds department to request the return of your funds. You have to complete certain forms in order to verify your identity and ownership of the funds.




How can I claim the funds then?




Response 3:
See my previous response.




Will they tell me which state will have my funds? The account was opened for me from overseas by a former employer.




Response 4:
Your funds would be turned over to the treasury department of the state where your old address is.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thanks. XXXXX have any legal recourse if they continue to refuse to unlock my account? Would a letter from a lawyer help? Or are they within legal bounds in their refusal to unlock my account? I have made good faith effort to claim my funds - are they within legal bounds to continue to withhold the funds from me and threaten to reclassify the funds as 'unclaimed property'?


 


Response 4 - The old address was an overseas address. I have been living overseas since the inception of the account. So I'm still unclear what state they would assign my funds to. Is there a default state used for overseas addresses?

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Thanks. Do I have any legal recourse if they continue to refuse to unlock my account?

Response 1: You can sue them to force them to unlock the account. However, the lawsuit would be much more expensive that the Notary and mailing fees that you are trying to avoid.

Would a letter from a lawyer help?

Response 2: Not really.

Or are they within legal bounds in their refusal to unlock my account?

Response 3: They are.

I have made good faith effort to claim my funds - are they within legal bounds to continue to withhold the funds from me and threaten to reclassify the funds as 'unclaimed property'?

Response 4: Yes, they are, unfortunately.

Response 4 - The old address was an overseas address. I have been living overseas since the inception of the account. So I'm still unclear what state they would assign my funds to. Is there a default state used for overseas addresses?

Response 5: The funds would be turned over to the Treasury Department of the State where the company is located.

Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Satisfied Customers: 12740
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
Phillips Esq. and 7 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Infolawyer

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5518
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NY/nyclawyer/2012-6-7_22011_photo66139201112041.64x64.jpg Infolawyer's Avatar

    Infolawyer

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5518
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2620
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1711
    20 years experience in consumer advocacy, debt collection violations, contracts, construction
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1415
    16 years legal experience including consumer protection law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1160
    25 years of private practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    1065
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1023
    Attorney with 14 years experience in various consumer protection areas
 
 
 

Related Consumer Protection Law Questions