Previously I wrote a blog about retrieving your demutualized insurance stock. Today’s blog focuses on company stock that could be a lost sheep within your investment portfolio. Like demutualized insurance stock, this stock is typically in an individual’s name as opposed to joint ownership.
Why does this matter?
The simple answer; if you die you will need an estate account, an attorney, an investment advisor, a financial custodian and a good measure of time to foster the sale of the stock.
Let’s take a look at two examples. I recently met with a client that brought in a thick file that represented a history of what are now two (2) shares of Technicolor stock. The client said, “What do I do with this?” The stock was originally purchased in Euros at four different times during his career. Since that time, he has received dividends in cash and the stock went through a reverse stock split. Upon further examination of the history it became apparent that there was a loss in the stock since the original purchase. Unfortunately the only way to take the loss is to sell the stock. The first step is to obtain a statement that reflects current ownership and the amount of shares owned. The second step is to transfer the stock into a brokerage account to be sold. Upon receipt of the shares, cost basis will need to be forwarded to the custodian so that the loss can be realized. More importantly, the client can dispose of a mountain of paperwork and the spouse can rest assured she will not have to address this at a later date, when her husband may not be available to assist.
In the second example, the owner of the stock died without bringing the shares of the company stock into their portfolio during life. At this point the steps needed to sell the stock now double in both time and money. Instead of simply transferring the stock and selling shares, it now must be reregistered into the estate name, transferred and then sold. The deceased’s executor will now need to obtain a short certificate from the court, an estate account will need to be opened, and the stock will need to be reregistered in the estate name. Only after these steps, can a statement be presented to the financial custodian for transfer and sale. This is a time consuming process for sometimes a very small residual value.
To save yourself or the executor the time and trouble of retrieving your stock in a costly manner, go get your stock now.