How to Sell Stocks of Deceased Relatives

Written by brian nelson
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How to Sell Stocks of Deceased Relatives
Selling stocks of deceased relatives requires obtaining the death certificate. (grave marker image by pearlguy from

It is never easy for the relatives when a family member dies. Among the many tasks that are necessary, liquidating or transferring assets from the deceased person can be one of the most tricky unless you know how to navigate the system. Fortunately, understanding a few key points can make selling stock of deceased relatives much easier to accomplish.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Death certificate

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  1. 1

    Identify the type of account where the deceased relative's stocks are held. There are many ways to title financial accounts. Determine whether or not the account was a joint account, an individual account, a trust account or a retirement account. In the event that it is a joint account and the other account holder is still living, he or she can sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of the assets without any additional steps.

  2. 2

    Find the name of the financial institution where the assets are held and the contact information. Ideally, find the contact information for the person the deceased worked with in the institution.

  3. 3

    Contact the bank, brokerage firm or trust company where the assets are held. Inform this institution that the owner of the account has died and request the necessary forms required to report the account owner as deceased.

  4. 4

    Complete the paperwork required to report an account holder as deceased. In virtually all cases, this requires submitting a copy of the death certificate as proof.

  5. 5

    Determine who has authority for the account after the institution has completed the procedure for deceased account holders. Most retirement accounts have a beneficiary provision. In this case, the beneficiary becomes the owner of the account. Most trust accounts have a trustee who controls the account upon the owner's death. Accounts without a beneficiary or trustee pass to the deceased's estate according to the probate laws of the state.

  6. 6

    Have the new account owner contact the institution to either transfer or liquidate the account. Stocks may be sold as part of an account liquidation, or can be sold by the account owner of the account the assets are transferred into.

Tips and warnings

  • There may be tax consequences for transferring or liquidating assets of a deceased relative. Contact a tax adviser prior to making any moves.

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