Do Old Stock Certificates Expire After a Certain Amount of Time?


Quick Answer

While stock certificates do not expire, they can lose their value under certain circumstances. If the company files bankruptcy or is no longer in existence, the certificate has none of its original value. However, some stocks gain new value with collectors.

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Full Answer

Businesses issue stocks to raise capital. The certificate gives the owner a right to share in the profits of the company. If it divests its interests, the certificate entitles the stockholder to an equal share in the money; however, if it is not possible to locate stockholders, they may not receive their share.

Stockholders should check on any stocks they hold at least once a year. If the company is no longer on the exchanges, the stockholder has a limited amount of time to make his claim for the certificate. If the company files bankruptcy and all creditors are paid, the stockholder may receive some cash value for his stock.

Stock options are vastly different from actual stocks. Options give the investor the right to purchase stocks at a set price until a certain date. Stock options always have an expiration date.

If a company is no longer in existence, the certificate sometimes has value to collectors. Value is established due to the signature on the certificate or the person who owned it.

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