Stocks and bonds that are traded on a major exchange or over the counter have their value determined by averaging the high and low selling prices on the date of death. The closing price is not used. If a stock’s price fluctuated between 10 and 12 dollars on the date of death, the average of $11.00 per share is used for determining the value of the stock.
If the death occurred on a weekend or holiday when the market was closed, the high and low values for the trading date prior to the death and those of the next trading date are “re-averaged.”
Mutual funds use the “bid” value, or public redemption price of the fund, as of the date of death to assign their value. If the death occurs on a weekend or holiday, however, the value of the fund is that of the public redemption or bid value as of the date preceding the date of death.
Stocks considered “ex-dividend” are those for which a dividend has been declared for the shareholders of record, but not yet paid. Any stocks that are traded “ex-dividend” must also include in their valuation the amount of any dividends even though that payment occurs in the future.
Bonds must include accrued interest when their value is determined. Since bonds typically pay interest twice a year, unless the owner dies on the date of payment, the interest from the date of the last payment through the date of death must be computed and included.
If there is no high and low value for a bond on the date of the owner’s death, the average of the closing price on the date of death and that of the closing price on the trading day preceding the date of death is used.
United States Treasury notes and bonds are evaluated the same way as other bonds. United States Treasury bills are valued at their redemption value, minus interest since that is included in the bill’s price.
United States Series E, EE, H and HH, Savings Bonds are valued with the value at which they could be redeemed during the month of death. The redemption value of these bonds, which depends on both the month and year of purchase as well as the redemption date, is available on a website published by the federal government. Series G, K, H savings bonds have no value for interest and are valued at their face value at the date of death.
Cash on hand as of the date of death must be included in the estate. Foreign currency, if any is held, is valued at the commercial or retail exchange rate as of the date of death. If the death occurs on a weekend or bank holiday, the average exchange rate of the date prior to the death and that following is averaged.
Coins and bills that have a value exceeding their face value, such as silver certificates or items in a coin or similar collection, are valued at their potential sales value instead of their face value.