During his twenty year career as an Accounts Executive for Multi-National Corp, Mr John Clerk had accrued quite a number of shares given to him as annual bonuses.
By the time of his death, Mr Clerk had become the proud owner of 640 shares, worth approximately GBP£25K. Because in his later years he became confused and threw his correspondence away without reading it, Mr Clerk did not know Multi-National Corp had recently merged with American Conglomerate Giant Inc, thereby changing the nationality of the shares from the London Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange. As a result, Mr Clerk he had unwittingly become an overseas shareholder of US listed stock.
This asset came to light when his solicitor, Jane Smith – a probate lawyer of many years standing – was instructed by Mr Clerk’s widow to sell the shares. Jane Smith had no idea of the headache that was to follow…..
First off and in good faith, she wrote to the US Transfer Agent (or share registrar) with a copy of the death certificate to let them know that Mr Clerk had died and that she wished to transfer Mr Clerk’s shares into his widow’s name. She received an automated, generic letter listing the documents that she would need to submit in order to transfer the shares into a different name.
These included original death certificate and grant of probate, Mr Clerk’s Will, lots of identification documents, various letter of authority, forms and a Medallion Guarantee stamped transfer request form.
A Medallion Guarantee Stamp? What on earth is that? And where do I get one? How much do they cost? And all these documents – signed and in some cases notarised too? Suddenly this was looking like a very complicated procedure.
Jane conferred with a colleague who put her onto Finders International. Louise Levene is Manager of the International Asset Services Team and has a wealth of experience in dealing with overseas assets of all kinds.
For a simple one-off fee of £725 + VAT and disbursements, Louise and her team were able to prepare the necessary documents ready for signature, obtain the Medallion Guarantee stamp, liaise with the US authorities and in a matter of a few months the US shares were put into Mary Clerk’s name and sold. Mary received a check for £25,467.34. She did not re-invest the money in US stock…
Samantha and Wilfred divorced in 2013. As a wedding present five years earlier Samantha’s American parents had gifted them shares in a US company. As part of the divorce settlement the shares were to be transferred into Samantha’s sole ownership.
Samantha wrote to the transfer agent with the relevant documents showing that the stock should be transferred into her sole name. The response, several weeks later, was an automated letter telling her that she needed to obtain a Medallion Guarantee Stamp on the transfer document before the name on the share certificate could be transferred into her sole name.
A Medallion Guarantee Stamp? This is a special signature guarantee for the transfer of securities for all US and Canadian shares. US regulations stipulate that without this stamp the shares cannot change name or ownership.
Samantha researched all the information she could find about obtaining a Medallion Guarantee Stamp, including how much they cost and all the companies who offered to obtain them – specifically for people living outside of North America. She quickly settled upon Finders International because they were the most friendly and efficient when she contacted them. She sent in the required documents, which included various forms of identification and the transfer request form supplied by the transfer agent, and with a matter of days the Medallion Guarantee stamped document was on its way back to her.
She was then able to re-apply to have the shares changed into her sole name.