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Valuation of a Decedent's Stocks and Bonds

The values of stocks and bonds change from one business day to the next. Actually, from second to second when the market is open for business. When someone who owns stocks and/or bonds passes away, one of the first tasks an executor or personal representative will undertake is to prepare a schedule of assets. Each security should be listed and identified, as well as the nature and type of ownership.

Stocks and bonds are valued based on the date of the decedent's death. The price will be calculated by taking the average of the highest and lowest quote during the day of trading. If the decedent died on the weekend or other time that the market was closed, the high and low quotes from the trading day immediately before and immediately after the date of death will be averaged. Sometimes the average is weighted.

Stock dividends may have been declared before the date of death, to be paid sometime in the future. Those values should be added to the schedule of assets.
Determining bond values can be tricky because accrued interest may yet to have been paid. The calculation involves daily interest and the number of days between the last interest payment and the date of death.

If the decedent's portfolio is large and the job of valuing assets becomes too cumbersome, it may be worthwhile to hire an estate security valuation service from a reputable stock brokerage firm.


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