The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word medallion as: “1: a large medal; 2: something resembling a large medal especially a tablet or panel in a wall or window bearing a figure in relief, a portrait, or an ornament; and 3: a small, round or oval serving (as of meat or fish).” No wonder probate clients are often confused when they are requested to obtain a medallion signature guarantee.

Wikipedia defines a medallion signature guarantee as “a special signature guarantee for the transfer of securities.” In the context of an estate administration, if the deceased person owned shares of stock and those shares have beneficiary designations so they can be transferred to the named beneficiaries as non-probate assets, then the recipient of the shares will likely be required to complete a form and obtain a medallion signature guarantee to effectuate the transfer of those shares.

If you need to obtain a medallion signature guarantee, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • You should initially obtain the requisite form to transfer the shares either directly from the company itself or from its designated agent.
  • The form will likely not be self-explanatory, so be sure to call the company or designated agent and ask for detailed instructions in completing the form.
  • Some banks and credit unions provide this service to their account holders, but some do not. Please be sure to check with your bank or credit union to find out if it provides medallion signature guarantees. If so, you should specifically inquire as to whether the branch you generally frequent provides this service or if you need to go to another branch. Only particular individuals are authorized to provide medallion signature guarantees, so you will likely need to make an appointment. You should also inquire as to whether your financial institution charges a fee for this service.
  • Each financial institution has different policies concerning what documentation they require prior to providing a medallion signature guarantee. When you request a medallion signature guarantee from your financial institution, describe in detail to the bank officer who is authorized to provide this service the documents that you intend to bring to your appointment to support your request. The bank officer may inform you that additional documentation and information will be required. Be sure to have everything you need prior to arriving for your appointment.
  • Bring a good book! Know that obtaining a medallion signature guarantee is a complex process, and it may take your financial institution a considerable amount of time to complete it even if you bring all requested documentation and complete the requested form perfectly.

If you need help sorting all of this out, please let us know. We’d be happy to assist.

This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.

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