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Unknown share holding
Posted: 02 January 2018 08:54:03(UTC)

Joined: 19/12/2011(UTC)
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My father in law passed away on 30th Dec may he RIP. But he has left behind something of a mess financially speaking. He has left a will with instructions only on a percentage split but no inference as to what he has/had financially.
My wife and his widow know that he had shares from previous conversations/observations (He used to check the prices on Ceefax many years ago, when my wife lived at home), but he seemingly has no record of them that they can find. So they have no evidence of which shares, who his brokers might be, nothing!

What would be the best way of finding these details? The executor of his will is his solicitor, who I'm sure will be able to find out, but at a cost. He was not a particularly wealthy man with virtually all of his savings swallowed by end of life care, so the smaller solicitor dent the better for helping to pay for the funeral costs.

So my question is how best can we find what investments, if any he held in the end?

MSE suggest contacting:

-For help in tracing unit trusts, you can contact the Investment Association

-The Association of Investment Companies will take you through the process of searching for lost investment trusts


the Unclaimed Assets Register (run by Experian) can be used to trace it. It does a single search of all companies signed up to the register, this costs £25

Does anyone have any experience or advice on which might be the best option (Including any that I have not mentioned above) to find out?

Thanks, happy new year


Redundant (Old Timer?)
Posted: 02 January 2018 10:39:05(UTC)

Joined: 07/01/2010(UTC)
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My condolences on your loss.

I am not a Solicitor, but I do have some thoughts on your problem. Firstly, I am not sure these organisations will accept an enquiry from anyone other than the executor in this case. I hope I am wrong, but I wold have thought data protection etc would get in the way. So you may want a word with the solicitor on the basis that your father-in-law may have held some shares but the family will investigate and come back to him and if you need executor's authority to trace his holdings you assume he will provide it!

However before you do that, you and the family may want to look for the shares yourselves. I would suggest you look at the following for holdings/dividends received:

1. Any copies of old tax returns
2. Check bank/building society statements for dividends or broker receipts
3. Approach his old employers to see if they had any SAYE schemes. If so do their records go back far enough to show your father-in-law participated?

Hopefully this will provide you with a starting point. If this fails though one additional line you could take is to assume that he only brought shares in the privatisations and approach the registrars of those companies. Of course if he did buy shares this way, on subsequent takeovers and mergers he might just have taken the money!

Good luck.
Stephen B.
Posted: 02 January 2018 12:14:30(UTC)

Joined: 26/09/2012(UTC)
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It seems fairly extraordinary if he kept no records or documents at all - one obvious thing would be to hunt around for documents or other information. Otherwise post will presumably arrive over time, usually within six months or so you would get some kind of communication for most things - assuming of course that the address they have is current.
ian goss
Posted: 02 January 2018 17:10:11(UTC)

Joined: 02/01/2018(UTC)
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Sorry to hear of your loss and the problem. For goodness sake steer clear of the solicitor as every interaction is going to cost you, as you suggest.
To track the holdings your f-i-l he may have lodged the share certs with his bank in safe keeping, hopefully in joint names so his widow can make a query at the bank. The dividend counterfoils if dividends received at home will help and a review of bank statements will show any direct credit receipts. Over time dividends paid half yearly or quarterly you will receive some kind of info. But if co is not paying a dividend that makes it hard to trace. Any evidence in contract notes or past bank statements od share transactions. Any stockbroker listed in his phone contact book you can call? Hope this helps and is not seen as "teaching granny to suck eggs".
1 user thanked ian goss for this post.
reluctant lemming on 02/01/2018(UTC)
Howard O
Posted: 03 January 2018 08:18:45(UTC)

Joined: 09/07/2017(UTC)
Posts: 1

Commiserations on your loss. My advice would be based on a knowledge of the individual themselves as you and the family would know him best.

I would imagine that these days he may well have transferred his holdings online, or at least been encouraged to do so. Did he have access to a computer, can you access it? There are a relatively small number of big online brokers, and so it might be worth enquiring with them as to if he had an account. I don’t think Data Protection would be an issue as presumably you can provide a copy of the death certificate. You could start with his banks broker, and obviously try Hargreaves Landsdowne, Youinvest etc. Good luck with the search.
Chris Squire
Posted: 07 January 2018 13:52:22(UTC)

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In this case ‘absence of evidence’ is strong ‘evidence of absence’.

My guess is that these shareholdings were small but he enjoyed the status they gave him in the family as a man of means with something to bequeath = someone worth being kind to. So when the last of them were sold he said nothing but binned all his records.

The only trace of them will be in his bank statements and in particular his paying in book. It would be no great task to search (say) 5 years’ statements for dividends and sale proceeds. The executors may insist on doing this themselves. The bank will provide past statements if need be.

If valid certificates are found after the estate has been wound up the executor can turn them into cash and distribute it.
andy mac
Posted: 07 January 2018 14:05:26(UTC)

Joined: 12/02/2016(UTC)
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cannot agree Chris

My brother is an accountant but does not have a will and has plenty of shares

I dont know where or what he has
I know he has a broker thats it

No evidence so to Brad carry on looking and best wishes for a prosperous new year
Posted: 08 January 2018 07:54:52(UTC)

Joined: 19/12/2011(UTC)
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Thanks for all the advice.

M.i.l has decided to leave it to the solicitor. Which leaves me back to fixing a leaky conservatory roof (Any tips!) It was complicated by him being moved between care locations on account of poor health and dementia. There was literally no paper work saved at home or at the care home/s.

From conversations with a friend of his, we know he had:

Railtrack (but known to have sold)
And two others that the names escape me at the moment.

Like I say though, its now out of my wife and I's hands as M.i.l wants to be confident it will all be done right and nothing missed.

Thanks again

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