I'm eligible (old enough) to take an "in-service withdrawal" from my 401K plan (at fidelity). I want to do a "direct-rollover" to Vanguard (my IRA). I spoke to a fidelity csr and they said they would issue a check made out to Vanguard Fiduciary Trust company, but that they would send it to me and then I would send it to Vanguard. This is the only way that they would do it. No ACH, etc. available! Fidelity assured me that it would be coded as a "direct-rollover" and no taxes would be withheld.

I believe that there is no limit on direct-rollovers in terms of tax consequences and that this will be a trustee-to-trustee situation.

Is there anything wrong with this picture.


  • Vanguard should be able to supply a form for you to attach to the withdrawal request and have the check sent directly (or even use an electronic transfer, large brokerages like these transfer numerous accounts between themselves in both directions every single day). Should be faster and doesn't require action on your part.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jul 8, 2019 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


No, I've done this a few times. I'll admit as the checks got larger, it was a bit more unsettling putting it in an envelope and mailing it. I would recommend:

  • Using a reliable guaranteed delivery service (FedEx or Priority Mail Express)
  • Taking a picture of the check and the envelope (including tracking number)
  • Adding delivery verification if not already

From a tax standpoint, no there should be no ramifications. I've never done an in-service rollover, though, but to my knowledge the process and tax impact (i.e. none) is the same.

  • When my company gave me the option to cash out my pension, vs staying with their annuity at regular retirement age, I took the lump sum. They sent checks for my wife (we worked at same co) and we drove them over to the broker to deposit to the IRAs. Normal transaction. Jul 8, 2019 at 15:20

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