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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    arizona
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    Default Custodian for a Minor on Stocks

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: California

    Not sure if this is the right forum for this issue........

    I'm in my fifties. My father passed away in 2006. My mother is in her eighties.

    My father purchased certain stock in my name (when I was a minor) with either his name or my mother's name as custodian for me. Apparently there is some tax benefit to doing this. When I came of legal age, those stocks were never turned over to me.

    I only found out about the stocks recently, after his death.

    My mother came across a stock certificate a couple of years ago, and I was able to do a name/address change, and transfer so I could cash in those stocks through a stock transfer agent.

    Here's the problem. I found out when I cashed in the first stock that there are others in my name as a minor with my mother or father as guardian. Only the stock transfer agent cannot give me the account number (even thought I'm listed on the stock) and without it, there's nothing I can do. My mother moved from the house they both lived in. If statements are being sent from other stock transfer agencies, she's not getting them. My father didn't keep good records so we don't know what's out there floating around the universe.

    I did check on line to see how many stock transfer agents there are with the thought of writing them letters to see if there was any way for me or my mother to find out what account numbers are out there naming me as a minor & my parents as custodians. I found there are quite a few stock transfer agents.........

    Is there an easier way of tracking down the information I'm trying to get?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Custodian for a Minor on Stocks

    Your first stop should be the California unclaimed property site. When entities such as stock transfer agents "loose contact" with their account holders, via moving, death, etc., for three years or more, typically any assets must be reported to the state comptroller's office (often happens when an owner of a property dies and the heirs don't KNOW that they are heirs). Not only would stock certificates and accounts be found here, but also any dividends paid, etc. It does NOT include real estate holdings, which can be tracked down via the property appraisers office in each county. You can search the unclaimed property database, and if you find matches for your parents and accounts they may have held in trust, the site will provide contact information or directions on how to claim those assets (hint: you may want to get a few certified copies of the death certificates as these may be required and can take time to acquire).

    You can find the online database at: http://sco.ca.gov/upd.html

    If it turns out you're a multi-millionaire, remember us struggling non-profit orgs =)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    arizona
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Custodian for a Minor on Stocks

    Thank you for your response Ms. NeSmith.

    I did check the Calif. Unclaimed Property Site. I tried searching every which way I could think, and didn't find anything. So maybe I need to wait a couple more years, then check again. I was hoping there was another way to find out without having to wait years. I've been unemployed for over a year myself, and could use whatever money there might be in those stocks (I'm sure it's not much - sorry).

    My only interest is in the stocks that were put in my name when I was a minor listing my parents as custodian – nothing else. And I do have copies of my father's death certificate.

    Being unemployed, I can't compensate you for your advice monetarily – unfortunately. I can only speak for myself by saying I really appreciate the good advice all of you give on this site.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Custodian for a Minor on Stocks

    Another avenue of attack might be getting copies of past tax returns. Many securities pay dividends which should have been claimed and reported - I know when I report mine that I have to notate who it was from, etc. - at least this would give you an idea of which specific securities or funds may be involved, which would in turn help you to identify the transfer agents in question (check his tax returns and look for all the forms called 1099-DIV attached, for starters - if he and mom filed jointly, mom should be able to get past copies from the IRS or tax professional).

    I'm curious about this part:

    I found out when I cashed in the first stock that there are others in my name as a minor with my mother or father as guardian.
    What makes you think so? This may be an important aspect to nailing it down. Also, regarding this...

    Only the stock transfer agent cannot give me the account number (even thought I'm listed on the stock) and without it, there's nothing I can do.
    Can we clarify that he WILL NOT give it...because of disclosure or other legal reasons related to the ownership of the account(s)....or he CANNOT give it because the account isn't held with him, or some other reason where there is no account or he doesn't have access to it, etc.? If the issue is that the transfer agent HAS the account, and it's only an issue of ACCESS to it, then it may be cleared up via the probate process of your father's estate (and again, may have implications if he and mom were BOTH listed). The custodian may just need the legaleese paperwork that says "the old account holder is gone, hail to the son, whom the court says is the new accountholder". What is the status of probate in regard to your father's estate?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    arizona
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Custodian for a Minor on Stocks

    I will see if my brother can help my mother get copies of past tax returns for at least those stocks that issued dividends (I'm in Arizona & they're in Calif.) My father kept terrible records and it's like trying to put humpty dumpty back together again.

    When I first found out about a stock cert in my name (that my mother had sent to me) I called the transfer agent for information on how to get the funds. The person I spoke to asked me about the other stocks in my name. I told her I didn't know anything about them. She did give me the names of the stock, but would not or could not give me the account numbers. It's been a while, but it could have been because the account was in custodianship for me. My mother doesn't know anything about it and would not know where to find the paperwork (if it still exists) anyway.

    As for the status of probate, I have no idea. I only received one letter in March 2006 stating who the settlors of the trust were, & that I am entitled to receive a copy of the trust, etc. I have not requested a copy yet. I guess I should. I really don't know anything about probate or if his estate is still in it. I don't know how valuable a copy of the trust would be to me. I'm certain my father did not leave anything to me.

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