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My father passed and left some stock shares that were not listed in his trust.

Mount Vernon, WA |

His trust listed me as executor; the stock company wants a bond placed. How do we get affidavit to liquidate these stocks?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. First, you are likely the trustee of the trust and the executor of the estate. If the asset was not placed in the trust, by mistake or inadvertence, in California you could file a petition (Heggstad) in an attempt to resolve the issue. You should consult with a WA attorney to see if there is an equivalent. Otherwise, the stock would have to go though probate.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.


  2. I agree with Attorney Gold. You are mixing terms and it is not entirely clear what you stand. The stock company would likely request/require a bond, if you cannot locate the original stock certificates. This is not a big deal, and they may even provide the bond for you, for a relatively nominal charge. If you can locate the original stock certificates, such a bond would not be necessary. The other issue is who has the authority to authorize transfer or liquidation of the shares. If they were in the trust, that would be the trustee. Since they are apparently not in the trust, then it is likely they would need to go through probate.

    If the value is less than $100k, then you may be able to use small estate proceedings. As Attorney Gold suggested, there may also be a way to avoid full blown probate. See here, for more information: http://www.small-estate-affidavit.com/Small-Estate-Affidavit-Proc.htm

    "C. Use of the Affidavit by a Living Trustee

    This Small Estate Affidavit transfer procedure has merit for its clearly intended beneficiaries: Successors of a Decedent whose probate estate does not exceed $100,000. But it can also be used effectively in a variety of other situations. For example: A Decedent who used a Revocable Living Trust as his/her estate planning vehicle, but who forgot to transfer to the Trust personal property that qualifies for this transfer procedure, such as a $50,000 brokerage account, car, boat, etc. This modest transfer procedure, assuming Decedent had the requisite "pour-over" Will ("all assets at my death not already in my Trust I give to my Trustee"), could save Decedent's Trustee at Decedent's death from having to initiate a formal probate proceeding to get the errant property into the Trust."

    That would appear to be what you need, if your circumstances fit. If there is significant money involved, you certainly want to contact an attorney to discuss this. If the stock is of nominal value, you might try to work through the company to have it transferred to the trust.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


  3. I would guess that the stock transfer company wants a bond to allow you to transfer the stock without a probate. If you started a probate, you should not need a bond, just the Letter's Testamentary which are part of the estate process.

    You should contact a local probate/estate planning attorney to discuss these issues.

    There is no attorney client relationship between the persons who asked and answered this question. You should always consult an attorney for specific legal advice.


  4. Your question raises questions about whether there was a will, a pour-over will, a stand alone trust, or a trust within a will. Companies are generally very conservative in how they handle transfer of stock that is still in the name of a deceased person. Small estate affidavits usually do not work -- very often probate is needed. In Washington, unlike other states such as California, probate is relatively inexpensive and straightforward, something you would need a Washington lawyer for.

    Karl Flaccus

    This information is intended as general information only, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please seek particular advice from an attorney.

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