The death of a loved one can bring about many unforeseen challenges, especially when it comes to the settlement of their financial affairs. It can be a complex and emotional process, and in the situation that the estate includes shares or other securities that need to be transferred from the name of the deceased into the name of the executor(s) or beneficiary(ies), there are specific items that must be completed in order to execute the assets of the estate.
A call to your financial institution, brokerage or a transfer agent such as Computershare can help you begin the process. If you are working with a transfer agent you will be required to submit a variety of forms and documents to begin the process, depending on the situation and estate holdings. Knowing what materials you need to obtain and having documents ready can help make the process easier for you when you start working with the transfer agent or brokerage.
Here is a list of documents you may be required to produce when settling an estate:
Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee
This document has many variations: With or without a Will, Letters of Probate, Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. You will be required to produce it in one of the following forms: Notarial certified copy, Certified True copy of the Original by a Canadian Schedule I chartered bank, or Medallion copy from a member of a recognized Medallion Signature Guarantee program (see below for more information).
Declaration of Transmission
This form will need to be completed and signed by at least one of the executor(s) of the estate, and sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public with seals affixed. If no stamp or seal is obtainable, Computershare requires documentary proof evidencing the appointment of the Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public from the Province, State or the Courts. If any Dividend Reinvestment Plan shares are included in the estate, these must be indicated on the Declaration of Transmission.
Declaration of Ownership
If the deceased owned stock in certain companies, a Declaration of Ownership may be required. To determine if you are required to complete a Declaration of Ownership, please download it from our Printable Forms section.
Letter of Instruction
A Letter of Instruction provides us with a complete list of the name(s), address(s), and social insurance/social security/tax payer ID numbers of the individuals to whom we are to transfer the holdings.
Please note that we are unable to register securities in the form "Estate of ..." as title must be vested in a person or legal entity capable of owning property, such as "John Smith, Executor for the Estate of…"
Original certificate(s) or Ownership Statement(s)
Computershare (as well as your broker) require the original certificates and/or other ownership documents in order to process a transfer of securities.
Securities Transfer Form
The Securities Transfer Form must be completed and signed by the executor(s) of the estate. If any holdings to be transferred are held in a Dividend Reinvestment Plan, please indicate on the form to include "any and all Dividend Reinvestment plan shares." Should the Dividend Reinvestment Plan bear fractional shares, the fractional entitlement will be calculated at the market price on closing for the day prior to our receipt of the request and a cheque representing the proceeds will be sent under separate cover.
Please note that a Securities Transfer Form is not required if transferring the securities to the appointed executor(s) in their capacity as executor.
About Medallion and Signature Guarantees
Depending on your financial institution you will need to have your signature verified with either Medallion Signature Guarantee or a Signature Guarantee. Many commercial banks, savings banks, credit unions, and all broker dealers participate in a Medallion Signature Guarantee Program. The Guarantor must affix a stamp bearing the actual words "Medallion Guaranteed."
A Signature Guarantee can only be obtained from the Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank or TD Canada Trust. The Guarantor must affix a stamp bearing the actual words "Signature Guaranteed," sign and print their full name and alpha numeric signing number. Additionally, as Computershare must validate the signature that we receive, the bank must have the Guarantor's signature on record.
You can watch this short video for more on obtaining Medallion and Signature Guarantees.
For holders of Canadian securities that reside outside of North America, it can be a challenge to obtain a Medallion Guarantee. These securityholders must contact a broker or financial institution that has a North American affiliate to obtain a Medallion Guarantee.
Computershare has partnered with IWC Estate Planning and Management Ltd to provide Medallion Guarantees to securityholders outside of North America. You can contact them with the promotional code listed below to obtain a preferred rate for your Medallion Guarantee.
IWC Estate Planning and Management Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 2081 502-010
Promotional Code: MEDCOMP2256*
*Please mention the promotional code at time of inquiry
Want more Information?
If you are settling an estate and need help getting started transferring securities to a beneficiary, there are a number of resources available to you:
- Speak with a customer service representative by calling us at 1-800-564-6253.
- Ask Penny, our virtual agent, for answers to your everyday questions, as well as terminology and more detailed information on settling specific types of estates.
- Visit the Help for shareholders and their representatives page for more information.
Computershare makes no representation or warranty concerning, or endorsement of, the content and is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content on any website to which Computershare provides a hypertext link, with the exception of content prepared solely by Computershare.