Keeping your stock certificates safe should always be a priority, but sometimes documents get destroyed accidentally or simply lost in the shuffle, especially during a move. If you find yourself in this position, look into executing a sworn, verified affidavit of lost stock certificate to request a replacement certificate, which can assist you whether you want to keep your shares or unload them.
Under most states' laws, you should be able to get a new certificate even if you were negligent in losing the original. However, if you end up facing a legal challenge with the issuing company regarding a replacement certificate, your affidavit of lost stock certificate could come in handy during court proceedings.
Overview of an Affidavit of Lost Stock Certificate
A general affidavit is a sworn, written statement produced under oath and the penalties of perjury. Once executed properly, an affidavit may be used as evidence in court, as a declaration to secure loans, as verification of property ownership in real estate transactions, and many other ways.
The affiant, or person making the affidavit, must have their signature verified by a notary public or other state-designated official. For example, in New Jersey, affiants may make affidavits before municipal judges, sheriffs, and even attorneys of the state, among others. Some issuing companies may instead accept a signature guarantee, which requires only that you obtain such a guarantee from a registered securities broker at a bank. In some cases, the content of the statement in the affidavit must also be verified or guaranteed.
Specifically, an affidavit of lost certificate, also called an affidavit of lost stock agreement and indemnity agreement or affidavit of lost or destroyed stock certificate, provides the proof you need to verify your ownership in the missing document.
Executing an Affidavit of Lost Stock Certificate
There is no set format for an affidavit of loss, but within the document, you must provide personal identifying information such as name and address, as well as a statement attesting to the fact that you are the owner of the lost stock certificate and have never assigned any rights to it to anyone else. You should also state that, should you ever find the certificate, you would return it to the company.
With a properly executed affidavit of lost stock certificate in hand, you can present it to the issuing company or transfer agent authorized to verify your claim. Once the company is satisfied that you are the owner of the missing certificate, you can keep, sell, or transfer your stock just as you would have with the original document.
Note that some banks or other transfer agents may also require you to post a lost securities surety bond for the value of the missing stock certificate, which ensures that you would reimburse the agent in the event that the original document is found or ends up being sold, traded, or transferred at a financial loss to the agent.
If you've lost a stock certificate or it has been inadvertently destroyed, the time to rectify the situation is now. Get your documentation back on track and make sure you're following proper protocol by connecting with an experienced professional or download an Affidavit of Lost Stock Certificate template to guide you through the process of executing an affidavit of lost stock certificate.