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Beneficiaries cannot take immediate possession of stocks left to them in a will or under a trust. The stocks belong to the decedent’s estate or trust and must be formally transferred into the beneficiaries’ names. If the decedent’s will appointed you as the estate’s personal representative or trustee of the decedent’s trust, you are responsible for reissuing the stocks to the named beneficiaries.
Items you will need
- Decedent's will or trust
- Death certificate
- Order appointing personal representative
Contact the brokerage firm holding the stocks. Request a list of the stocks along with the date each stock was purchased, the purchase amount and the date of death value. Fax the broker a copy of the trust or will, the order appointing you as personal representative of the estate and the death certificate. These documents legally permit the broker to provide this information to you.
Review the decedent’s trust or will to see which stocks were willed to which beneficiary. Contact each beneficiary to obtain her legal name, address, Social Security number or tax identification number and telephone number. Inform the beneficiaries that you will be reissuing the stock certificates into their names per the decedent’s trust or will.
Call the stockbroker and request that he fax or email you the transfer documents needed to reissue the stocks to the beneficiaries. You must complete one set of documents for each stock being reissued. Do not sign the reissue documents; first you must have each Medallion stamped by an officer at a financial institution. The Medallion stamp is a guarantee that your identity and signature on the reissue documents were verified. Bring your photo identification with you when you have the reissue documents Medallion stamped.
Make a front and back copy of the Medallion stamped reissue documents. Bring the reissue documents to the broker if the brokerage firm is nearby. If not, mail the reissue documents to the address provided by the broker. Send the reissue documents using a tracking service such as certified mail, FedEx or UPS. It should take about 10 days for the stocks to be reissued in each beneficiary’s name. Inform the beneficiaries when the reissue is complete. Deliver the reissued stock to the beneficiaries and provide them with the broker’s contact information.
- Have each beneficiary sign a receipt acknowledging receipt of the stock.
- Keep copies of all correspondence and financial documents to prove you transferred the stock in accordance with the decedent’s trust or will.
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