The Decedent’s Stocks, Bonds, & Mutual Funds

Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can be one of the more straightforward assets for the personal representative to obtain and secure. This is particularly true if the assets are held by a brokerage or financial company.  

Brokerage & Financial Company Accounts

Most stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are purchased through brokerage firms or other financial companies.  These securities are registered with the brokerage or financial company.

To acquire and secure these assets, one generally has to gain control over the account at the brokerage or financial company.  

The brokerage or company will typically require the personal representative transfer the account to the name of the estate.  This is usually accomplished by providing the brokerage or company a copy of the death certificate and the letters testamentary (or administration, as the case may be).  

Assets Held in Paper Form

When stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are not held with a brokerage or financial company, additional steps need to be taken to obtain and secure the assets.  This usually involves obtaining the original stock and bond certificates.

The personal representative will usually need to re-register these securities to the name of the estate or, if they will be distributed in short order, directly to the heirs.  This is typically accomplished by working with the transfer agent listed on the original stock and bond certificates.

Segregate Community Property Investments

Whether held with a brokerage or company or not, it may be advisable to separate any stocks and bonds that are community property owned by the surviving spouse.  This can help keep any dividends, distributions, or payments for the surviving spouse separate as the estate is being administered.

In addition to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, the decedent may also own an operating business. That brings us to our next topic.  Click here to continue reading.  >>>>

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