Locating the shares owned by a deceased individual can be a complex process, especially when not well-documented. Fortunately, with the appropriate resources and guidance, it’s possible to navigate this task with greater ease. Below, we provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to find shares of a deceased person in Australia.
1. Review Personal Documents and Records
If you have been granted permission or have the authority, consider checking the deceased individual’s personal records with care. This could be in files, safety deposit boxes, or other designated storage areas. The documents that can shed light on shareholdings are:
- Broker Holding Statement (HIN) for CHESS (broker) sponsored shares.
- SRN Statements for Issuer Sponsored shares.
Always remember to handle these documents with sensitivity, understanding their personal and private nature.
2. Check with Stockbrokers or Financial Advisors
If the deceased worked with a stockbroker or financial advisor, reach out to them. They can provide details on any shares the deceased held under their guidance. Remember that:
- A HIN is tied to a specific broker in the CHESS Sponsored system, so knowing the broker can give direct access to the relevant holdings.
- In the Issuer Sponsored system, each shareholding has a unique SRN, making it crucial to identify and track individual investments efficiently.
3. Look into the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
The ASX keeps a comprehensive record of all traded shares. If you suspect the deceased had shares, but you’re unsure about the specifics, the ASX might be a useful resource. Additionally, the ASX offers search tools and customer support that can assist in tracking down specific shareholdings.
4. Consult Share Registries
Share registries maintain electronic records of shareholdings in the Issuer Sponsored system. Some popular share registries in Australia include Computershare, Link Market Services, and Boardroom. Reaching out to these registries with the deceased’s details can reveal any shares they held. Each registry may have its own process or requirements for inquiry, so it’s beneficial to have as much information on hand as possible when making contact.
5. Joint Name Shareholdings
If the deceased had shares in joint names, the shares might automatically pass on to the surviving holder. Check for any documentation or communication indicating joint shareholdings. Understanding joint shareholdings can simplify the transfer process and provide clarity on the ownership status of the assets.
6. Margin Lending Accounts
If the deceased had a Margin Lending broking account, it could complicate matters. Contact the lending institution for details on any shares held against the margin loan. Understanding the terms and conditions of the margin loan can provide a clearer picture of the estate’s financial obligations and assets.
7. Investigate Unclaimed Money Databases
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) operates an unclaimed money search specifically for shares that have been unclaimed or forgotten. Using the deceased’s details, you can search for any unclaimed shares or dividends. This platform provides a centralized location to ensure that assets aren’t overlooked during estate administration.
8. Executor’s Identification
If you’re the executor or administrator of the estate, ensure you have proof of your identity and authority to inquire about the deceased’s assets. You’ll often need to provide evidence, such as a death certificate, will, or letters of administration, when making inquiries.
9. Seek Legal Advice
If you’re unsure or face challenges in locating shares, it might be helpful to consult with a legal professional. They can provide advice tailored to your specific situation and may have access to resources that can assist in your search.
10. If You Wish To Sell
If, in your search, you come across an SRN indicating Issuer Sponsored shares, know that these can be efficiently sold or managed through us at Sell My Shares. We specialize in assisting with the sale of deceased estate shares, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free process. Click here to start the process of selling deceased estate shares. For more info on the process click here.
Finding shares of a deceased person can be a meticulous task, but with methodical searching and the right resources, it’s manageable. Always remember to approach the task with sensitivity, understanding the emotional weight it may carry for families and loved ones.