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Reasons an old stock certificate may have value

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Estate Administration |

It is natural to feel stressed as an executor if you are trying to organize the property of a deceased relative and are not sure if something is valuable or not. This may happen if you come across old stock certificates owned by your loved one.

Stock certificates could add considerable value to the estate even if they are many years old. The key to determining their value is to do some investigating.

The business may exist in a different form

If the certificate is for a business that is no longer active, do not assume the certificate is worthless. The company may have undergone a name change since your relative acquired the stock. Alternatively, another business may have merged with the company on the stock or simply acquired it and its assets.

Another possibility is that the company split into two separate businesses under different names. Regardless, if the business on the stock manages to continue in some capacity, the certificate may still have worth. Contacting the transfer agent on the certificate or the state agency that oversaw the incorporation of the business might yield some answers.

The certificate could be a collectible

Even if the certificate no longer holds any value as an investment, it does not mean it is completely worthless. Some certificates become valuable as collector items. They may represent a bygone business that is famous to some degree, so people may want to buy them on that basis.

Some certificates have a value of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, while others may run for much cheaper prices, as low as $12. Still, even a cheap stock certificate may yield some value for the estate if none of the beneficiaries want it.

Knowing how to find the worth of an asset can help reduce stress when working as an executor. Even if a piece of property seems to be nothing of note, you might discover, to your surprise, that it is still valuable.