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Issue with our Financial Advisor Company.

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#1
What is the name of your state? GA

TLDR; At a minimum, I'm not sure in which state I need to talk to an attorney about regarding this. Additionally, I'm not really sure what kind of practice I'm looking for an attorney to have.

I apologize ahead of time for the length of the post. Just a lot of details I wanted to make sure were provided to avoid someone asking questions about some piece of the process.

Hello. For the past month or so, I've had an issue with our Financial Advisor Company.

The breakdown is as follows ( all times are eastern time ):

[Nov 13, 2018 - 8:55AM]
- Sent notice that we wished to have funds distributed from our IRA's into our account on Nov 28th. This would result in two large, separate deposits.

[Nov 19, 2018 - 10:06AM]
- Finally got all details confirmed.

[Nov 28, 2018 - 5:19PM]
- Requested confirmation that the funds were sent as we had not yet received them.

[Nov 29, 2018 - 9:45AM]
- Received confirmation that funds were processed, but we had still not received them.

[Nov 30, 2018 - 6:19AM]
- Received one of the deposits, and followed up about the other

[Nov 30, 2018 - 10:50AM]
- Was told that funds were definitely sent from their system and everything should basically be fine, even though at this point it was two days later than requested and we only had half of our funds.

[Nov 30, 2018 - 4:59PM]
- Completed call to national toll-free number of company, who could only tell me that two transfers were sent, but they were able to confirm it was done Nov 29 instead of Nov 28 as requested. They had no additional details ( IE what account numbers they were deposited to ), so I immediately emailed our advisor again. Now, I'm worried that maybe someone stole our other deposit. I can only speak with the local advisor, and they could really be telling me anything.

[Nov 30, 2018 - 5:21PM]
- I conclude a call from our advisor in which they admit there was a "coding" or data entry issue with the second deposit. They're not sure when it's going to be resolved, but they were "working on it". We were expecting our money the morning of the 28th, and now it's the end of the day on the 30th.

I ask for everything I was told over the phone on a letterhead, and was told that couldn't be done because the "legal department wouldn't give approval" to do so at the time. Being that again I'm only able to get information from my single contact, this is all making me sick to my stomach because they could be telling me anything, and deposited the funds into their own account.

We circle back with the sellers of our new home to explain the issue, and like any normal person, they're basically asking for proof, as in Real Estate this is basically the equivalent of "My dog ate my homework" as at the last minute we're saying we're not in possession of cash that we promised we had.

We try and insist on a letter, and are only told that we can give any party in the real estate transaction the advisors number and they would be happy to explain things. The advisor only has a local number to contact them, so nobody would believe what they say. It could be my friend on the other line just saying whatever I needed. Additionally, we couldn't even give anyone a date for when the issue would be resolved, so we were just people stating the bank sent the money to the wrong account, and we can't tell you when we'll have it back, but we promise someone is looking into it. It was a joke.

At this point, the sellers state they are walking away and taking our escrow money. We work diligently over the next day or so to try and get them to stop as we were fairly certain they had a backup offer that came along during our process that may have been better than ours.

Fearing that we might be losing the house, we reached out to our buyer to explain that we wouldn't be closing on Monday, and again we didn't know if/when we would be closing, so we might need to push back the sale of our house. The buyer was needing to get into a house ASAP at that point, and started immediately looking at other vacant homes in the area. Again, our only explanation was that we have funds somewhere, but no one can locate them and the financial advisors admitted they were wrong, but only over the telephone.

We continued to ask for documentation and an ETA on when the funds would be in our account. We were basically at the point where we were going to call the police the next day because we only had a single person at the company telling us some version of the story that they refused to put in any sort of writing.

[Dec 3, 2018 - 1:48PM]
- We finally receive a document on the companies letterhead explaining the issue, and confirming it was their fault. This comes from someone else in the company, and is CC'd to other people in the company, so we at least know now that everything we were told was the truth. We send the document around to all parties, hoping to bring everyone "back to the table". The buyer of our home seems to believe us, but that doesn't matter because we haven't convinced the sellers to sell us the home. They didn't want to hear from us until we had a concrete date.

We work diligently during the next couple of hours to try and explain that it wasn't our issue, that we sent adequate notice to do the withdrawal, and that the pile of issues were all on the advisor companies side.

We are finally able to convince the sellers to sell us the home, and we would figure out a new date to close as our original date was earlier that morning.

Ultimately, by the time we had the concrete date the buyers of our previous home were looking for they had signed a contract on another home. They said they would use our home as a backup if something fell through on inspection, etc.

[Dec 3, 2018 - 2:52PM]
- We finally receive our deposit. At this point, we were faced with choosing between two "evils". The first was to cancel the purchase of our new home that we had spent a great deal of time and money on already in the form of earnest money, inspections, and so on. On top of the fact that we really loved the home. The other was to move forward and start a new search for a buyer for our previous home, or the possibility of our buyer having something fall through and pick up where we left off.

The first option was ~$15,000, and based on a generic tax bracket, the risk of the second would be ~$22,000 in income tax if we couldn't find a buyer in time.

In hindsight, I'm not sure if this is the point where we should have contacted an attorney, but keep in mind I have literally no experience with anything like this. I've never been part of a lawsuit. The idea of having to walk away from the home we love and eat tens of thousands of dollars, that we would have no other option than to try and recoup in a lawsuit didn't seem very optimistic compared to the second approach which possibly allowed for us to get another buyer and walk away from the whole thing without any major losses. So we went with the second route.

So at this point, we had finally received our funds, albeit almost a week after we were supposed to. We had finally got the documentation we requested, but again almost to the point where it was of little use.

[Dec 21, 2018 - 10:13AM]

With the upcoming holidays, it got to a point where even with a cash buyer on our home we would be cutting it so close that it seemed we wouldn't be able to replenish the funds in time and be subject to the income tax on the distributions.

We reached out to the company, and reiterated everything. A response took a while with the holidays, and this morning, January 4th, 2019 at 8:22AM they basically blew us off like the whole thing wasn't that big of an issue, and our remedy would somehow be to work with our CPA on a plan for what seemed like a way to artificially extend a deadline for reimbursement that the IRS is pretty specific about.

I didn't specifically ask for anything, or threaten a lawsuit. Just made a shorter version of everything I provided here, as everyone was already familiar with the process that occurred so far. I had done some research prior to the email to see what options they might even had, and came across an instance almost identical to ours where something similar had happened and the bank in that situation gave a short-term, interest-free loan. Again, I didn't specifically ask for anything, instead just what options might exist to assist us, since we couldn't have been more NOT in the wrong.

In summary, my primary questions are:

1. In which state do I need to talk to an attorney regarding this? I live in GA, the financial company is headquartered in CA, and the office where I believe the issue originated is in SC.
2. What kind of practice I'm looking for an attorney to have for this issue?
 


quincy

Senior Member
#2
Exactly. TLDR

Can you please condense your post and tell us what your legal concern is? We can refer back to your novel if we need additional information.

I can tell you that, if you live in Georgia, speaking to an attorney in Georgia is a start. This attorney can refer you to an attorney in California or South Carolina if necessary. An attorney familiar with financial advising would be good.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
#3
OP requested a distribution from an IRA. The distribution was made, but there was a glitch/problem/error. This has caused the OP to have difficulties with two real-estate transactions (the sale of his house and the purchase of another house). OP wants to know what type of attorney to hire and where to hire said attorney.

OP is in GA, so the OP should start with an attorney in GA, in my opinion.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#4
OP requested a distribution from an IRA. The distribution was made, but there was a glitch/problem/error. This has caused the OP to have difficulties with two real-estate transactions (the sale of his house and the purchase of another house). OP wants to know what type of attorney to hire and where to hire said attorney.

OP is in GA, so the OP should start with an attorney in GA, in my opinion.
Thanks, Zigner. Your summary is appreciated. :)

I agree that an attorney in Georgia can advise at first and refer later.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
#6
Okay, and what type of practice would handle a case like this? Seems there are mostly just personal injury lawyers around.
I'd start with an attorney specializing in real estate matters - that attorney should be able to refer you to another, if needed.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#7
Okay, and what type of practice would handle a case like this? Seems there are mostly just personal injury lawyers around.
A large firm will generally have a diverse practice with a business law division and financial law division.

It might appear there are only personal injury lawyers around but that could be because they all seem to advertise nonstop.
 
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