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Sidenote: even though we specifically asked that the 401k be transferred directly to the brokerage, the check was sent to us (made out to the broker FBO Mrs. Goofy), but it's been only a week, so no worries there. But why didn't they just do as we asked?

Since the check FBO and isn't made out to Mrs. Goofy, it is considered a trustee to trustee rollover.

It is closer than some of my experiences. I ask a credit union for a check written to FBO my name. They moved the IRA to a savings account before issuing a check in my name only. I gave up, they had already made a truste to trustee rollover impossible. I just did the rollover.

I moved my IRA from TD Ameritrade because they kept moving my account to the downtown branch and incompetent phone support. Even though I gave TD Ameritrade the exact information for the check, it took three tries. The airhead creating the check refused to issue a check written to FBO. Her first try was my name alone. I refused it. The next try was another version of my name only. After I refused two checks and demanded she issue a correct check, she finally checked with the branch manager. His obvious response was yes you can issue a check written as FBO.
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