Find Out What it Means

Affidavit of Domicile

A notarized form stating where a person resides (or where a deceased party resided). Known as Letters of Testamentary.

Affidavit of Loss/Affidavit of Non-Receipt

A written statement that attests to the fact that a shareholder is not in possession of his/her certificate due to loss or non-receipt. The affidavit should be notarized.


An amount usually representing the taxpayer's cost in acquiring an asset. It is used for a variety of tax purposes including computation of gain or loss on the sale or exchange of the asset and depreciation with respect to the asset.

Bear Market

A prolonged decline of stock prices usually occurring over a period of months or years. May also describe a general belief by many investors ('bears') that prices are in a falling pattern.

Beneficiary of a Trust

A person or organization that has any present or future interest, vested or contingent, in the assets of a trust.


A certificate of indebtedness to a corporation or government over a period of more than one year. (A debt of less than one year is called a 'note.')

Book Entry Shares

Shares held in non-certificate form either by a broker 'street name', in a plan such as a Reinvestment or employee plan or directly registered on the books of the corporation in book entry form.

Bull Market

A trend of rising stock prices or a pattern of growth within a period of months or years. May also describe a general sentiment of optimism by many investors ('bulls') stemming from economic and/or political conditions favorable to growth.


A statement by court or authorized party, that the copy is true and correct copy and is still in full force and effect.

Common Stock

Equity ownership in a corporation in the form of Common Stock. May be in the form of a physical certificate or book entry.

Court Appointment

A dated document issued by the court naming an individual to act on behalf of an estate. Generally this is the document which names the Executor, Administrator, or Personal Representative.

Cusip Number

Committee on Uniform Securities of Identification Procedures. Used to identify issuer and type of security issued. Is located on stock certificates and other forms.


Cash dividends declared on Common Stock are paid by corporations, usually quarterly, to shareowners of record on the declared record date. Shares directly registered on the books of the corporation are paid directly to shareholders while shares held through a broker are paid to the broker by the corporation.


EDGAR, the Electronic Data-Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The database is freely available to the public via the Internet or FTP.


The turning over of property to the state of last known address when such property is considered abandoned. Different rules and regulations apply to the various states.


The buyer of a stock selling ex-dividend does not receive the dividend already declared, but not yet reaching the record date. 3 days prior to the record date.


An individual or institution nominated in a will and appointed by a court to settle the estate of an individual. If a woman is appointed, she may be called an executrix. In some states, such individual or institution may be called a personal representative.


To implement the right under which the holder of an option, warrant, or right is entitled to buy or sell the underlying security.


A person having a duty to act for another's benefit. A person or institution that manages money or property for another and who must exercise care in such management activity imposed by law or contract.


A person who establishes the trust. Also may be called a settlor or trustor.

Guaranteed Signature

Provided by a Financial Institution; a signature guarantee signifies that the person signing the document is who they claim to be, and that the financial institution backs that guarantee by a bond it has posted as a guarantor.


A person who has custodial rights and responsibilities for a minor or a person who is incapable of handling their own affairs. A Guardian as commonly known in the United States is Court Appointed.

Inheritance Tax Waiver

A document issued by the state certifying that the estate tax has either been paid or has been waived by the state.


The deceased party had no will.

Irrevocable Trust

A trust which cannot be changed (modified) or canceled (revoked) once it is set up.

Joint Tenancy

A form of registration, properly abbreviated as "JT TEN" on stock certificates, that means that all parties named on the certificate have an undivided interest in the shares represented by the certificate. Thus, if one of the tenants should die the entire value of the certificate becomes the property of the surviving tenants. (Identical to Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship.)

Legal Transfer

Transfer of securities which require special documents because they involve the settlement of estates of deceased shareholders, trust accounts, or corporation holdings.

Market Risk

The risk that the stock market will go down ('bear market') rather than up ('bull market'). The only certainty of reducing market risk lies in long-term investing, as bear markets always eventually end.

Medallion Signature Guarantee

A statement (stamp and signature) given by a financial institution such as a commercial bank, credit union, brokerage firm, etc., that are members of the Securities Transfer Association Medallion Program (STAMP), NY Stock Exchange Program or Stock Exchange Medallion Program (SEMP, MSP.) The Medallion Program is not a notarization.

Medallion Stamp Program

A program developed by the Securities Transfer Association to meet the requirements of an SEC Rule which increases the number and type of financial institutions eligible to guarantee signatures. By Medallion Guaranteeing the stock to be sold, assigned or transferred, the financial institution is taking financial responsibility if the transfer is completed fraudulently. A Medallion guarantee may be obtained from a commercial bank, brokerage firm, credit union or savings and loans institutions that are members of the Medallion Stamp Program.

Mutual Fund

A fund operated by an Investment Company that raises money from shareholders and invests it in stocks, bonds, options, commodities, or money market securities.


National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. This computerized system provides price quotations on securities traded over-the-counter.

Notary Seal

Provided by a Notary Public; a notary seal signifies that the party signing the document has sworn that contents of the document are truthful and accurate.


The buying and selling of securities through a nationwide network of brokers and dealers. 'OTC' stocks are not listed on an exchange but are sold primarily through NASDAQ.

Power of Attorney

A document by which one person gives another signing authority. A power of attorney is in effect only as long as the maker is alive. We will accept a photocopy of the original Power of Attorney that is Medallion guaranteed.

Preferred Stock

Issued after common stock has been issued, preferred stockholders receive dividends prior to common stockholders. Should a company go out of business, and its assets are liquidated, preferred stockholders are entitled to distributions ahead of common stockholders.

Press Release

A press release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and/or television networks. Commercial press-release distribution services are also used to distribute them.


Probate is the formal, court supervised process of turning a deceased party's assets over to his or her heirs.


A formal written offer to sell securities that sets forth the plan for a proposed business enterprise or the facts concerning an existing one (such as a mutual fund) that an investor needs to make an informed decision.

Proxy Voting

Proxy voting is a procedure for the delegation to the issuer's attorney(s) of the securityholders' power to vote in their absence at securityholder meetings. This may be accomplished by mailed paper proxy cards, upon which securityholders mark their votes and mail back to the transfer agent, or a proxy voting service provider may host online voting, where securityholders login to a secure website and mark their votes.

Registered Representative

A person associated with a NASD member broker/dealer who acts as an account executive for clients. As such, the registered representative gives advice on which securities to buy and sell, and he collects a percentage of the commission income he generates as compensation. "Registered" means licensed with the NASD.

Registered Shareholder

Securities held on the books of a corporation in the name(s) of the shareholder(s), as opposed to Street Name or another name other than the shareholder. Direct owners receive all corporate communications directly from a company.

Shareholders Of Record

Shareholders whose names actually appear on the records of the corporation from which the shares are issued. See also Street Name.

Short Selling

While an investor's mindset is usually to buy a stock first and then sell it later, short selling actually is just the opposite; sell now and then buy it back later. The short seller borrows the shares from a securities firm with the anticipation that they will decline in value. If the investor is correct, the shares can be bought back at a lower price and the investor realizes a gain. However, if the shares are bought back at a higher price, a loss will be realized.

Short Squeeze

A short squeeze results when the price of the stock rises and investors who short-sold the stock rush to buy it to cover their short position. As the price of the stock increases, more short sellers feel driven to cover their positions.

Small Estate Affidavit

A notarized document that the heir completes. The form lists the names of all heirs and next of kin of the decedent and states that probate was not initiated for the decedent. It must also be noted in the affidavit that the estate does not exceed the small estate maximum for the state in which the person resided.

Stock Power

Form used to instruct the transfer of ownership of a security from the registered owner(s)s to a third party. Required to be completed in cases of registered book entry shares or where back of certificate is not used. All shareholder(s) signatures are required and it should also be Medallion Guaranteed.

Street Name

Ownership of shares which are held for the benefit of the shareholder in a brokerage account, and are not reflected in the shareholder's name on the records of the corporation. See also Shareholders of Record.

Street Name Holders

Shareholders who hold their shares in their broker's name.

Taxpayer Identification Number

The number used to report dividends and other income. In the case of individuals it is the Social Security Number, in all other instances, it is the Employer Identification Number.

Tenancy by the Entireties

A form of registration, properly abbreviated as "TEN ENT", on stock certificates, which, like a joint tenancy, provides for undivided ownership of the property in question and for the right of survivorship. Unlike a joint tenancy, Tenancy by the Entireties is not subject to partition. Tenancy by the Entireties is not available in all states, and is only available to married couples.

Tenancy in Common

A form of registration, properly abbreviated as "TEN COM" on stock certificates, in which ownership is divided among two or more parties. Tenancy in Common does not provide for the right of survivorship, so for example, if a stock certificate were shared equally by two tenants and one died, the surviving tenant would be entitled to 50% of the value, and the estate of the deceased tenant to the remaining 50% of the value.


The deceased party had a valid will.

Transfer on Death

A form of registration that allows shareholders to name on their certificate the party they would like to receive the shares at the time of their death. Unlike shares registered with a tenancy clause, A form of registration that allows shareholders to name on their certificate the party they would like to receive the shares at the time of their death. Unlike shares registered with a tenancy clause, a party named as beneficiary of TOD shares has no interest in nor are they an owner of the shares until the original owner dies.


A relationship established by agreement between a grantor and a trustee to manage assets or property for another's benefit.


A person or institution holding property in trust. The trustee manages and invests the assets and makes distributions according to the terms of the trust.