Q. I inherited a $500 bond issued in 1868 by the “Town of West Farms.” It is a 7 percent bond that was part of the financing for Jerome Ave. in the Bronx. It doesn’t mature until 2079. My parents framed it and collected interest all these years, and money is owed on the bond. I was told I would have to surrender the bond to have it transferred to my name, but because of its history, I want to keep the paper. Can this be done without me handing over the bond?
— Needing help
A. You don’t hear stories like this often, but we do understand the sentimental value for you.
To transfer the bond into your name, the transfer agent has a process to enable them to verify the bond to ensure nobody else tries to make a future false claim, said Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.
Part of that process is requesting the original bond be surrendered.
“If a certificate is lost, a transfer agent may charge a fee and depending on the value of the investment, they may ask you to purchase a surety bond costing about 3 percent of the investment value to protect them when reissuing a certificate,” Brown said.
Brown said you correctly state that New York City does owe the money on this bond, and she said you can expect the city will pay it to the new owner. But at the same time, the city will want to protect itself from a future claim by asking for the certificate to be surrendered.
Brown recommends you consider making a copy of the certificate for your personal records and follow the claims process.
She said you can try to appeal to the bank and explain the sentimental value of the certificate to see if they will allow you to keep it.
“Perhaps they can stamp it to show ownership transferred so no one can try and use it for a future claim,” she said. “This will allow you to receive the original document back.”
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