Reading listserve emails for the elder law section of the State Bar, I noticed one that said a client was just informed by a large brokerage house (unnamed) that they would now be charging fees for TODs (transfer on death). These forms, basically a beneficiary form, allow a person to name a person or persons who should receive the asset upon death. The beauty of these forms is that they (usually) allow a person to avoid probate....the assets transfer upon death. All that is needed is a death certificate and a form from the company. But, in this world of squeezed financial markets, fees appear to be popping up. The unnamed firm is charging $75 to have the form completed, $50 for each change, and $200 when the person dies.
I'm a frugal person, and this is not common practice...or at least it hasn't been. My advice, shop around for another broker. If they are charging for this, what else are they charging for?