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Missing North American Share Certificates

Missing North American Share Certificates

Missing North American Share Certificates

Are original share certificates required?

If North American shares are held by a physical certificate, as opposed to electronically and the certificate(s) cannot be found, or the one you hold is old and has been confirmed as no longer valid, you will need to arrange to obtain a replacement certificate from the share registrar or transfer agents to attend to the shares. This will be a requirement whether you intend to sell or transfer the shares.

What if the share certificates are missing?

To arrange a replacement certificate, you will need to obtain the required papers from the transfer agent, arrange to complete the required indemnity, apply for a surety bond and pay the stipulated fee. The process can be expensive and does unfortunately add to the amount of time that it will take to deal with the shares.

In some instances, obtaining the indemnity forms from the transfer agents can be a lengthy process.  The indemnity forms can be daunting to complete, as they are usually prepared in a format that would only be familiar to North American residents.

Unfortunately, some companies will charge you an additional fee if the papers are not completed correctly. Most North American transfer agents have a company that they use to obtain the required surety bond and this will mean that, not only will the papers have to be completed to meet the standards of the transfer agent, but also that of the surety bond company.

Is it costly to lose a share certificate?

The surety bond which is required for a missing share certificate is quite expensive, especially when compared to what UK insurers charge when dealing with a missing certificate for a UK shareholding.

Most of the surety bond providers charge a fee of between 3 – 5% of the share value, for all shares covered by the missing share certificate. In addition, there will often be an administration fee.

If you are dealing with an estate with North American shares and you think that there might be missing share certificates, you should firstly check if the shares are indeed certificated. Many US companies now automatically convert shares to “book-entry” or DRS shares upon any change to the account. If they are confirmed to be certificated, you should make enquiries with all family members and professional advisors to see if someone is holding the originals, for example, it is not unusual for the certificates to be held by a bank, solicitor or accountant.

How can Lester Aldridge assist with replacing missing share or stock certificates?

We attend to applications for surety bonds frequently when attending to the administration of North American assets and we would be pleased to assist you with the process.

Please contact us at +44 (0)1202 786194 or 786118 for an initial discussion about your matter, or email us by clicking below:

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