How to Sell an Inherited Stock Certificate

If you are trying to settle an estate and found several stock certificates in Aunt Bessie's safety deposit box, then you need to figure out how to sell them. Selling an inherited stock certificate can be a jungle of pitfalls. You don't need to pay an expensive attorney to do this if you know the steps to follow. You can sell the stock certificate on your own but it takes a little time. Read on to learn how to sell an inherited stock certificate.

Selling Using the Transfer Agent.

Know that the transfer agent is the financial institution that handles all the stock for a particular company. Whether you want to buy, sell or transfer a stock certificate you will have to contact them in one form or another.

Get the paperwork from the transfer agent. Most of these require a medallion signature guarantee for several things in the paperwork. This is a stamp that can be affixed by most bank branch managers. Finish all the paperwork first, except the signatures that need to be medallioned, before taking it to the bank.

Secure a death certificate. You also need a court appointment of executor that is a certified copy. This means that it contains an original signature and seal. Don't delay because companies reject these if they are over six months to a year old.

Prepare to transfer the stock with a transfer of stock form from the transfer agent. You will need to change the certificate to the name of the estate or heir before any transaction can be done. The transfer forms must be signed by the executrix and heir if it is not going into the estate.

Send in the original stock and all the paperwork asking for the transfer of the stock certificate. The transfer agent automatically sets up an account for the heir or estate. Everything is in place to sell the inherited stock certificate by letter of instruction or phone.

Establish a pin number for your account. Phone the customer service line and request a sale. The money is sent in about five days.

Selling the Certificates Through a Broker

Know that you will have brokerage costs involved in the transaction. When selling the inherited stock certificates through a transfer agent the cost is only a few dollars.

Take all the information regarding your position as executor with you. You need a certified court appointment that is no older than one year and with some companies requiring they be less than six months old. Take an original death certificate along. Photocopies are frequently unacceptable.

Establish a brokerage account for both the estate and if necessary, the heir. While a broker may choose to do the paperwork for you and go direct to the transfer agent, frequently they allow the back room to prepare it. They do this by establishing two accounts. The decedent account to deposit the certificate, and the heirs' account where they transfer it and sell the inherited stock certificates.

Request a sale at a specific price. Use a limit order to sell the inherited stock certificates for a specific price. The broker can help you with it.

See if they have online accounts. Some companies have online accounts where you can sell the stock yourself. See if the broker can walk you through the steps so you can save money on fees.


  • If the broker helps you sell the transfered stock certificate online, be kind to them and use their services to reinvest. They make no money by helping you, just through products that they sell.


  • When selling a certificate this way you have no control over the price that you is received, since the time of the day that you call has nothing to do with the time that the sale is made.