Q&Q Andrew Leckey

November 02, 2008|By Andrew Leckey

Q: My late aunt left me some shares. What must I do to put them in my name? When can I sell them?

- M.S., via the Internet

A: Almost every state offers transfer-on-death securities registration that lets an individual name someone to inherit his or her stocks, bonds or brokerage accounts without probate. Registration is with the brokerage house while the beneficiary is alive.

"If transfer-on-death is not set up ahead of time, it is more complicated," said Molly Balunck, certified financial planner and vice president with Spero-Smith Investment Advisors in Cleveland. "You will have to get a form from probate court that you file for the transfer." To accomplish the transfer through probate, you will need to file a copy of your aunt's will and a copy of her death certificate. Then contact the brokerage house or transfer agent holding the shares and ask that shares be transferred to your name.

You can sell once they are in your name. Inherited assets are valued at their price on the day your aunt died, not the day she bought them.

Send e-mail to Andrew Leckey at yourmoney@tribune.com.

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