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Greetings, K. Manfield, and welcome. You wrote:

<<A couple of years ago I started an IRA with Strong Funds, enticed by the no fee regardless of balance, as I was just starting out. I planned to transfer the IRA to a discount brokerage or another mutual fund (where I could buy better funds) eventually.

Today, as I was reviewing my year-end statement, I noticed a message stating that the IRA liquidation fee would increase from $10 to $50 on Feb. 1, 2000.

Help! After enduring subpar returns for two years in order to avoid an annual fee (a move I now think was pretty un-Foolish) I am anxious to get my money out of there on Jan. 31, before they jack up the liquidation fee on me.

I know that I can "transfer" the IRA to another institution, but I assume that that would take a little while, and since the transferee initiates the transfer Strong probably would apply its post-Feb. 1 liquidation fee. Can I therefore request a distribution check, and then immediately sign it over to another institution without penalty? Alternatively, can I initiate the transfer from Strong Funds, just telling it where I want the money to go and telling the transferee to wait instead of trying to initiate the transfer?>>

I sincerely doubt you can arrange the transfer of those funds to be accomplished in a single day on Monday unless you make a personal visit to the Strong Funds to liquidate your account via a check issued to you. If you can do that, then you have 60 days to deposit those proceeds to another IRA to avoid any tax impacts on the distribution. Also, you must request that nothing be withheld from that distribution for income taxes because it will be rolled to an IRA. Personally, I think you are too late, and that you will have to pay the $50 transfer fee.

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