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Can a broker/company reverse a transfer of stock ownership, without the new owner's approval?

Portland, ME |
Filed under: Estate planning

We were notified of stock in my Step Father's name. He died 6 years ago. He was married to my Mother at the time and it is very likely she was the beneficiary. As Executor of my Mother's Estate, we went through the legal means(copies of DC's and Medallion Guarantee) to have ownership of the stock transferred to her Estate, which is still open. She died about a year ago. All went well and the stock was transferred to her Estate and a new account number given. When we went to sell the stock through the Broker who manages it for this company; without notifying me, they reversed the stock back to my Step Father claiming only the Executor of His estate can claim this. Was this legal. If the stock had already been legally transferred to my Mothers estate, can they just take it back?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    Agree with the prior answer, that this may be a mix-up.

    There is one statement in your question that gives me pause - "He was married to my Mother at the time and it is very likely she was the beneficiary." Very likely is not going to be enough to get the stock transferred. You should ask for a copy of the beneficiary designation that was in effect at the time of his death. The executor of his estate may already have a copy, if there were other assets in the brokerage account.

    Best of luck.


  2. Sounds like a mixup to me. The transfer agent may not have ever recorded the stock in your mother's name. Your broker should be able to fix this for you.

    The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.

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