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Q: I am the trustee for my parent’s trust. I am attempting to sell some stock owned by the trust, but I need to get a notary guarantee and they told me I can’t get that from a notary public. Where can I get it?

A: I think what they are looking for is a Medallion Signature Guarantee, not a notarization by a notary public.

An MSG is a signature guarantee used in the transfer of securities. Like a notarization, an MSG guarantees that the person signing the document is who they say they are. However, that is where the similarities stop.

In addition to guaranteeing that the person signing is who they say are, an MSG also guarantees that the person signing has the authority to sign, and that the transfer is appropriate and correct. Essentially, a party giving an MSG is assuming responsibility for the transfer and can be held liable if there is fraud. The liability to the person issuing the MSG is much greater than it is for a notary public.

MSGs also aren’t as readily available as a notarization. MSGs are generally only available at banks, credit unions and financial advisor firms. MSGs also come in different surety limits so make sure that the value of your transaction doesn’t exceed the MSG’s surety limits.

Q: Isn’t an amendment to a trust and a restatement the same thing? Is one better than the other?

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A: They are both amendments but they aren’t necessarily the same thing. Think of it this way, all restatements are amendments but not all amendments are restatements.

An amendment to trust is just that: an amendment to a provision or provisions of an existing trust. A restatement is also an amendment, but rather than amending a portion of the trust agreement, you are amending the whole thing. Essentially you are creating a new trust and substituting it for the original.

Usually, if a person is amending a provision or two of their trust, a simple amendment is enough. However, if they wish to amend large portions of the trust agreement, or if they have executed several amendments already, it might make sense to completely amend the trust and restate it.

Some of you might be thinking if you are going to replace the whole trust, why not just execute a new trust agreement rather than a restatement. The answer is because an amendment and complete restatement refers back to the original trust agreement and takes its place. Therefore, nothing has to be done to any assets already funded into the trust. If you create a brand-new trust agreement, all of the assets in the existing trust will need to be retitled into the name of the new trust. That can be a lot of work which can be avoided by restating the original trust agreement

Thanks for the questions.

Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at www.nwi.com. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Chrisyugolaw@gmail.com. Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.

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