How to Determine a Stock's Date of Death Value

by Alia Nikolakopulos

    The value of stock on the date of the owner's death is required for a couple reasons – to value assets of the person's estate, and to calculate the cost basis. If you’re the executor of an estate, you’re allowed to value and report the estate’s assets. The cost basis is used to calculate gain or loss on the eventual sale of stock. If you inherited stock, your cost basis equals the value on the date of death. Whatever the reason, determining the date of death value for the stock is achievable with a few basic calculations.

    Step 1

    Visit a website that provides historical stock information, such as MarketWatch.com, Yahoo! Finance (finance.yahoo.com) or NASDAQ.com.

    Step 2

    Enter the name or ticker symbol of the stock. Some websites only allow you to search by symbol. Most investment websites display a “Symbol Lookup” or “Find Symbol” link to assist you.

    Step 3

    Enter the date of death in the historical date field. Stocks aren’t traded on the weekend, so if the date of death falls on a Saturday or Sunday, obtain data for the preceding Friday and following Monday.

    Step 4

    Calculate the mean value of the stock. Add the low and high values for the stock and divide by two. If the date of death fell on a weekend, perform this step for the Friday before and Monday after, then add the results from each date and divide by two. The result is the per-share stock value on the date of death. You’ll use this information to identify the cost basis of inherited stock.

    About the Author

    With a background in taxation, Alia Nikolakopulos specializes in business and personal finance topics. She is an IRS enrolled agent pursuing a Bachelor of Science in accounting and journalism at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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