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Stock Certificate Questions

Stock certificates are legal documents which show ownership of stock in a company. When an individual buys a small amount of shares in large corporate stock, they may not be issued a stock certificate. Electronic registration seems to have taken the place of the stock certificate in the United States. Many companies don't issue stock certificates on paper due to the mass amount of people who use the internet to register and the need for the paper document is no longer a requirement.

It is not uncommon for a broker to charge up to $500 when issuing a paper stock certificate. Many people are unaware that this fee can be avoided by registering shares through a stock transfer agent and request a certificate. Below are several stock certificate questions that have been answered by Experts.

What does it take to get a legend or restriction removed from a stock certificate whose shares are publicly traded? Is it true that the SEC requires an attorney's opinion

In order to get out from under restrictions on a stock certificate, you will have to show that you don't require the registrations to trade shares in the public market. In other words, as long as you plan on selling your stock in the public market and you don't surpass the amount of the public stock, you would have an exemption from registration. In certain situations, a restriction will be placed on stock when it has been held as an investment. The person holding the stock has held it for a period of time and now wants to liquidate. In order to accomplish this, the person will need an attorney to give an opinion that there is no need for restrictions on the stock. You will need to contact the company where you purchased the stock certificate for an overview of an acceptable opinion from your attorney. If the opinion is accepted, the company will remove the legend from the stock.

How can I find out if a company is still in business and if my stock is worth anything? The company is Southwest National Investment Corp. Dallas Texas.

To find out if the company is still in business, you can contact the Texas Secretary of State. The company stock may have some value if the company is still in business, has merged with another business or has taken on some other form of structure. As far as the stock's value, you will have to speak to an investment advisor to assess the value.

What will it cost to have my stock certificate transferred from a stock broker to myself with a hard copy?

The broker will have to contact the company and have your name transferred to the stock certificate and have his/her name removed and ask for a physical certificate. If the stock isn't in the broker's name, and he/she is merely handling the certificate, you can have the broker send it to you. Usually, when a broker holds stock, there won't be a physical certificate. This means the broker will have to have the name transfers and request a physical certificate. You need to contact the company where the stocks were purchased and speak with the person in charge of company investments. You can ask for the correct forms and the cost of the transfer. The company can replace your lost stock certificates for a fee as well. If you lose your certificates, simply contact the investments office within the company and they will explain the steps and the cost.

How do I get my ex- wife's name removed from a stock certificate?

You need the consent of the person in question, or the consent of the person's agent, or by court order to remove their name form the certificate. If you don't know how to contact your ex-wife, your only option would be to request a court order to have her name removed.

You will have to petition the court for her name to be removed as well as have her served with the notification of the hearing. If the ex-wife cannot be found, the court will usually grant "service by publication" This means the notice will be place in newspapers as an attempt to serve notice of the court hearing.

Can a stock certificate that is lost, or stolen, be fraudulently transferred to another person?

This can happen, however if the certificate is fraudulently transferred, it would be worthless to the person who receives it. Basically, if a person steals a stock certificate and tries to transfer title, they are only entitled to what is legally theirs. The thief has no legal claim to the certificate which means the transfer would be worthless. The thief may think they have gotten away with something until they go to sell the stocks. The company that sold the original certificate would know the transfer to be false, especially if the true owner reported the certificate lost or stolen.

Many people buy stock certificates as an investment. Some people hold the certificates until they are worth more money while other's play the stock market with wild abandon. When a person is thinking about investing in stock certificates, they should ask an Expert for assistance and investor insight about the risks and benefits of investing in stock.
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