Posting my personal experiencing having just opened a Fidelity DAF two days ago, and the process of transferring appreciated assets to it. Actually opening the DAF is trivial … takes seconds. The only thing that requires thought is what you want to call your fund, but even that is not cast in stone.
Determining the process for moving assets from another brokerage was a little more difficult. I got different answers depending on who I talked to, and what the assets were. For transferring ETFs from Vanguard to Fidelity, both said I had to fill out Vanguard’s form and have them push it to Fidelity. But for T. Rowe Price mutual fund accounts not held in a brokerage, TRP said that they couldn’t do anything … that would be totally up to Fidelity to handle. This was after having been given the Letter of Instruction by Fidelity to send to TRP. I called Fidelity back and they said, oh yeah, they could pull it. from TRP, so I did fill out their form. I had said in both conversations with Fidelity that I was racing to complete this by year-end, of course. Now that Fidelity has received the TRP move request, it says on my account that:
Depending on the type of asset and how quickly the asset is transferred by the financial institution currently holding your investments, a typical transfer initiated by Fidelity Charitable® will take approximately three to six weeks to complete.
Well. Despite pointing out that I was trying to get this done by year-end, no one said anything about 3-6 weeks. Now I am panicking. In another thread, calwatch pointed me to Charitable Year End Tax Guidelines | Fidelity Charitable, which describes much shorter time frames except for mutual funds held elsewhere. Had someone mentioned this in my discussion about how to get this done quickly, I would have selected ETF assets instead (I was choosing assets with the maximum gain). If I’m lucky, the mutual fund transfer will either complete soon, or hit a snag so it cannot be completed soon, in which case I will cancel and go the ETF route.
One other thing that has me a bit concerned too is that my letter of instruction included specific lot identification for the shares to be transferred (which happen to be uncovered lots). It looks like, though, the version of the LOI Fidelity is sending to TRP drops that info. OK, well as long as they pull from non-covered lots, then it really doesn’t matter. But if they transfer covered lots with minimal gains, I’m screwed.
Lesson learned: Setting up a DAF this late in the year can still be done, but study the expected timeline for transfers carefully. This may influence where you set up the DAF and/or what type of assets to transfer, even if not the optimal for getting rid of the lots with maximum gain.