How do I transfer individual stocks to my trust?
It is not often that clients own stocks held in their individual names. Usually these stocks will be held through one or more brokerage or investment accounts owned by the individual. Transferring stocks held in one's name to a revocable living trust requires dealing with the so-called "transfer agent," which is a time-consuming process and entails additional documents such as an Affidavit of Domicile and Medallion Signature Guarantee.
Because of the additional steps required to transfer shares of stock held individually, it is well worth it to consider consolidating these individual stocks into a brokerage account. By doing so, one is able to deal directly with a financial institution, which is generally more responsive than a stock transfer agent. Moreover, holding the stocks through a brokerage account eliminates the risk of losing stock certificates.
The financial institution holding the stock certificates also makes it much easier for you to transfer the stock in the future, should you choose to do so.