What is a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

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Medallion Signature Guarantees are generally required when you’re transferring any type of security. For example, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and some annuities. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a special stamp and signature combination that guarantees the authenticity and identity of the person signing. To prevent fraud or the unauthorized transfer of these types of valuable assets, the officer providing the Medallion Signature Guarantee verifies that you are who you say you are and that you have the ownership rights to transfer the asset you’re transferring.

The value of Medallion Signature Guarantees is that it makes it harder for people to steal your securities by forging your signature on your certificates and related account documents. At a time when identity theft has become so rampant, the Medallion Signature Guarantee helps protect you and your family.

It’s also important to know that the officer making the Signature Guarantee will be held financially responsible if the signature turns out to be fraudulent. This is why transfer agents insist on Medallion Signature Guarantees – because they can limit their liability and losses if a signature turns out to be forged.

Where Can I Get a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

You can usually get a Medallion Signature Guarantee from a financial institution like a commercial bank, savings bank, credit union, or broker-dealer. However, it must be an institution that participates in a Medallion Signature Guarantee program.  Not all of our local banks participate in the program, so it’s important to check whether your bank offers the service. And, banks or financial institutions that do provide the service will likely require that you be an active customer.

If you need a Medallion Signature Guarantee, you’ll want to call your bank and ask if it offers the service.  You’ll likely need to schedule an appointment with the officer. Be sure to bring the forms you’ll need to sign and make sure to not sign them until you’re seated in front of the officer.  Also, check ahead of time what forms of valid identification you’ll have to produce.

Can’t a Notary Provide a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

Notaries Public cannot provide Medallion Signature Guarantees.  While a Notary can acknowledge the validity of your signature and that you signed a document as your free and voluntary act, they cannot provide Medallion Signature Guarantees.  Notaries are not enrolled in the Medallion Signature Guarantee program, so you’ll need to go to your local bank or financial institution for this service.

When are Medallion Signature Guarantees Needed for Estate Planning?

Medallion Signature Guarantees aren’t needed for the estate planning documents that we create to protect families.  For example, signatures on living trusts, powers of attorney, and quitclaim deeds just need to be notarized. And, we have notaries public right on staff.

In our estate planning practice, though, clients typically need to obtain Medallion Signature Guarantees in a few instances. One example is when they may be transferring a brokerage or mutual fund account out of their individual names to an irrevocable trust.  Another example is when a Personal Representative of an estate needs to liquidate and transfer a securities account in order to pass it on to the heirs of the estate.

If you have any questions and would like to talk with one of our team members about Medallion Signature Guarantees, just contact us.  We’d be happy to help!