How to Transfer Stock Shares

Stock share certificates can be issued in the name(s) of the owner or owners or held in book form by a stockbroker or transfer agent. To ensure a successful transfer of stocks, exact compliance with the steps is required. Each transfer agent will have specific guidelines for transfer, but the basics and order of the steps will be the same.

Contact the transfer agent listed on the stock certificate and find out if he accepts a transfer request on the back of the stock certificate or requires a separate transfer of ownership form.

Each current owner must sign the stock certificate or transfer form and have the signature witnessed with a "medallion signature guarantee." A medallion signature guarantee can be obtained at a stockbroker or bank. Each signature must be made in the presence of person with the medallion signature guarantee authority.

List the name, address and social security or taxpayer ID number of each new owner either on the transfer form or the back of the stock certificate, as directed by the transfer agent.

Make copies of all documents for your records.

Send the stock certificate and transfer form, by certified or registered mail if required, to the address provided by the transfer agent. The mailing should be insured for 2 percent of the value of the stock shares.

New share certificates will be mailed to the new owner or owners at the address or addresses included in the transfer documentation.


  • The signature of a transferring owner must exactly match the name printed on the stock certificate. The transfer agent can provide additional instructions if the transfer involves the death of an owner, name change, non-U.S. owner or minor owner coming of age. If you are unsure about signing the stock certificate, a letter of instruction with the signatures and guarantees can be sent with an unsigned stock certificate.


  • A notary public signature certification is not the same as a medallion signature guarantee and is not valid for stock ownership transfer. The charge to replace a lost or destroyed stock certificate is usually 2 percent of the value of the stock shares, hence the insurance recommendation when mailing stock certificates.