If it has been established that an issuer is defunct, there is no point in having the certificate deposited in a brokerage account. The security cannot be sold; only recorded as an asset with a zero market value.

When dealing with worthless certificates, the executor should keep notes on any research confirming that the company is defunct and record the security as having a zero market value on the Statement of Assets and Liabilities. If the deceased kept a record of the original cost of the security, it will be shown with a capital loss that may be used to offset capital gains amongst the deceased’s other assets.

Worthless old certificates can either be destroyed or given to a family member for sentimental reasons. If one of the beneficiaries wishes to keep the old certificate, the executor should have all the other beneficiaries sign off on it. This will prevent the other beneficiaries from having any recourse against the executor in the remote event that the old certificate is worth something years later.


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