How to Leave Stocks to Someone

By: Steve Gregory

Stocks can increase in value over time.

stock chart image by selim kisa from

Leaving your stocks as an inheritance for someone special, such as a spouse or a family member, is an important task. This is especially true if you have a large number of stocks that have a high monetary value. Selecting the most appropriate way to leave your stocks to that person can avoid problems later, such as claims to the stocks by other family members. It also helps to let the person know that you are leaving your stocks to him.

Create a Will

Step 1

Compile a list of all the assets that you want to be a part of your will, including the stocks. Gather all of the paperwork that lists the details of your stocks, such as paper certificates.

Step 2

Contact an attorney to write the will for you. You can use a software program, fillable forms or a book that describes how to draft a will if you are comfortable writing the will yourself.

Step 3

Name the person who you want to receive the stock in your will. Include the person's detailed information, such as her name and address. Name the beneficiaries of your other assets, such as property and cash. Review the information on your will to ensure it is accurate.

Step 4

Sign the will in the presence of witnesses to confirm its validity. Your lawyer, a notary public and an accountant are examples of appropriate witnesses. Leave a copy of the will with your lawyer.

Transfer on Death Registration

Step 1

Contact your broker to register your stocks or set up your brokerage account as a transfer on death registration. This type of registration allows the person receiving your stocks to bypass probate and receive your stocks automatically upon your passing. The broker will provide you with the forms to register your account as a TOD registration.

Step 2

Fill out the forms, including the name and contact information of the person who will be receiving your stocks. If applicable, have the forms notarized. Submit the forms to the broker who will register your account as a TOD.

Step 3

Contact the transfer agent that manages the issue of your stocks if they are in paper certificate form to request that your stocks be converted to a TOD registration. If you don't have the transfer agent's contact information, call the investor relations department of the company that issued your stocks. The transfer agent will be able to provide the forms you need to convert the stocks to a TOD stock registration.

Step 4

Complete the forms naming the person you want to leave your stocks to. Notarize the forms and submit them to the transfer agent.


  • If someone else has created a will for you, completely inspect it for inconsistencies to ensure it is accurate.

Video of the Day


About the Author

An avid technology enthusiast, Steve Gregory has been writing professionally since 2002. With more than 10 years of experience as a network administrator, Gregory holds an Information Management certificate from the University of Maryland and is pursuing MCSE certification. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Chron and GlobalPost.

Photo Credits

Zacks Investment Research

is an A+ Rated BBB

Accredited Business.