Estate Planning: Stock Inheritance

Q: I inherited a few shares of stock in a couple of different companies as part of my father’s estate. These shares have been transferred out of his name and are being held in an estate account. I am the executor. After the stocks were transferred into the estate, I requested that they be sold for probate. All the companies complied except for one who is trying to force me to use their subsidiary company to broker a sale because they do not handle direct sales themselves. The problem is that they want 20% to broker the deal! How can this be handled without paying such a high commission?

A: It sounds like this is a private company investment. Assuming that is correct, and it is not publicly traded, then they may have their own rules concerning the sale of company shares. I would ask for a copy of the investor agreement your father entered into or whatever the documentation is that they are basing their broker mandate on to review for accuracy. If you are requesting the broker restriction be removed, and this is a private company, I’d imagine the onus would be on you to secure a buyer, so that is something to think about as well.