Legal Question in Securities Law in California

My sister called IBM and had a stock certificate sent to her address and will not give me half. IBM will not talk with me as she now has the stock.

Our names are listed as joint tenants. How do I have this divided. She lives in California and I live in Arizona. She won't sign the papers IBM sent for the transaction. To complicate matters, the social security number on the account is my mother's who passed away almost four years ago, and again my sister won't co-operate.

Asked on 8/24/11, 12:03 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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The situation bears watching, in case any real fraud should develop, but as of right now, I don't see any really serious problem. There can only be one stock certificate for the shares, despite the fact that there are two owners. Presumably, your name is on the certificate as a joint tenant. As to your mother's Social Security number being on the account, correcting this probably required probate proceedings or action by a trustee of her estate. Neither IBM itself nor its transfer agent, nor a broker, can apply a different SSN without some authorization from a legally-empowered representative of the estate, or a court with jurisdiction.

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9/20/11, 7:15 pm

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