Imminent death of wife – timing of stock sale to protect assets

I am with my buddy helping him manage the last few hours and days of his wife's life. It is very imminent.

There is about $600K in Mutual Funds at a large brokerage, in her name, that he has access to. His objective is to liquidate the funds and move/park the money elsewhere, probably into a checking account in his own name. I have two urgent questions I would appreciate help on:

  1. From a legal perspective, given that it is Saturday today, does the transaction occur at the point at which he presses the "Trade" button, or at the point the trade actually executes at the close of market on Monday? Clearly he is showing legal intent to sell at the point he pushes the button, but does the law see it that way? Basically, it is highly likely that his wife will die before the trade is actually executed at close of market Monday. He wants to try and liquidate/move the money before it becomes part of her estate.

  2. This would transfer assets with values in excess of the gift tax exemptions. How would the remainder be taxed?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us in this desperate time.

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