How can we claim stock that we just discovered my parents had?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 04, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My parents died about 2 1/2 years ago. Everything was settled, the house was sold and the lawyers are now out of the picture. However, we just discovered they had Wal-Mart stock as a result of my mom's employment. We estimate the value of it to be around 10,000 dollars. I am capable of distributing this amount but how do I get Wal-Mart to send me or the estate a check?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.


This should be an easy process, but it may require a bit of patience, perseverance and paperwork. And exactly how to accomplish what you need depends on how the stock was owned and whether and how your parents directed that it should pass.

If there was a pay-on-death beneficiary designated, you may be entitled to get the assets directly from Wal-Mart, by simply providing proof of death and letters testamentary or some other documentation showing that the estate is settled. Or you may need to contact the brokerage company holding the stock, which should list a customer service number on its website. Or if your mom or dad actually had certificates to the stock, you may need to have them reissued in the name of the estate or the beneficiaries through the corporation’s transfer agent.

In all cases, the best place for you to start is with Wal-Mart’s Investor Relations representative at 800-331-0085. That person should be able to enlighten you about precisely what steps you need to take in your particular situation. But be forewarned that this might be where the need for patience comes in: If you don’t get a representative who is knowledgeable or helpful, you may have to ask to speak with another rep. Or remind them of Wal-Mart’s company motto: “Saving people money so they can live better.”