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My father purchased stocks for my kids at a young age. He was custodian for many years and upon his death I was made custodian. My children are now adults and I recently removed myself as custodian and the stocks are completely in their names. If they sell, how can I determine the original cost? I do not have papers going back that far (over twenty years ago).

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    Great question, can you specify your country? – quid Dec 20 '18 at 20:28
  • Tax questions require a country tag. Please edit your question. – Chris W. Rea Dec 21 '18 at 0:25
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If you don't have confirmation slips, perhaps you still have some of your father's old tax returns? Look at the Schedule B and Schedule D to see if you can find the names of any brokers that he did business with. If lucky, he was with the same broker for many years and they can track the info down.

In what form are the shares? Are they in a custodian account? If so, the custodian might have historical info. It might not pinpoint the purchase date (shares were purchased and deposited into the account at a later date) but that might be the best you can do.

Do you have possession of the actual certificate(s)? If so, there may be a date of issue date. That date might be acceptable for determining the cost basis (call the IRS). Or perhaps the certificate has the transfer agent's name on it and you can contact them.

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Oh, the stocks were a gift or transfer to minors from the very beginning.

Yeah, just write a letter to the account statement and get a beginning date. Or if actual stock certificates are being held then write a letter to the stock transfer agent.

Here are some links:

https://law.freeadvice.com/tax_law/gift_tax_law/minor_gift_tax.htm

https://www.franklintempleton.com/investor/products/investment-goals/education-savings/ugma-utma-accounts#ugma-and-utma-account-tax-benefits

And so I don't suppose that the stock basis was stepped-up at the death of the first custodian. There are notes that say that the UTMA stock could become a part of the custodian estate (I suppose if the custodian estate were taxable) but nothing said about a UTMA becoming an inheritance. An inheritance could step the stock basis up without any tax.

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