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    littlestangel77's Avatar
    littlestangel77 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Feb 25, 2013, 08:24 AM
    Cost basis for old stock
    My father owned stock in just his name but before he passed away in 1991, he had my mother's name added to his stock as jt tenants with rights of survivorship. I have a copy of the certificate showing it reissued in both their names and it is dated May 1, 1990. Now my mother is in an assisted living home and part of the stock was sold this past year to provide funds for her. My question is... I have no cost basis for this stock which was bought at various dates from1980 through1982. It was originally Southern Natural Resources but has since changed hands... SONAT, EL PASO, and now Kinder Morgan. It was sold before the last merger so was El Paso stock at time of sale. I have searched for historical data to determine cost basis for Southern Natural Resources but can't find any back that far. Also since my mother's name was not on the stock until 1990, is that when she acquired the stock or is the acquistion date when my father bought it in just his name? Help would be appreciated!
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,132, Reputation: 1307
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    #2

    Feb 25, 2013, 10:02 AM
    The cost basis is based on your father's original acquisition date - there is no "step up" of basis allowed by simply retitling the stock to joint ownership (imagine if this was legal - all a married couple would need to do to avoid capital gains tax entirely is retitle from single ownership to joint or vice versa just before selling the stock - that would be a loop hole the size of the Grand Canyon!).

    Have you carefully looked through all your father's financial records to see if he kept any old statemenst from the early 80's? Even if such a statement doesn't show the purchase, you would at least get an idea for "reasonable" valuation. But be careful - you need to consider the effect of subsequent stock splits and mergers on the original cost basis.

    BTW, I believe the original company name was Southern Natural Industries, not Southern Natural Resources. They changed their name to SONAT in 1982, and merged with ElPaso in 1999. Here is a site with some info on that merger - it seems that your father received 1 share of El Paso for each of his original SONAT shares: El Paso | Investors | Cost Basis Calculator

    I also suggest you contact the investor relations department at Kinder Morgan (if that's the current incarnation of the company) and ask whether they can help you figure out the stock price for SONAT from back in '82.
    smearcase's Avatar
    smearcase Posts: 2,392, Reputation: 316
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    #3

    Feb 25, 2013, 11:04 AM
    ebaines,

    Could it be tracked back through historical prices on sites like Yahoo Finance or similar sites, possibly?
    AtlantaTaxExpert's Avatar
    AtlantaTaxExpert Posts: 21,772, Reputation: 846
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    #4

    Feb 25, 2013, 11:52 AM
    Maybe; give it a try!
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,132, Reputation: 1307
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    #5

    Feb 25, 2013, 12:04 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by smearcase View Post
    ebaines,

    Could it be tracked back through historical prices on sites like Yahoo Finance or similar sites, possibly?
    Generally - no. Although many sites offer historical stock prices they stop showing history for stocks that are no longer traded. So you won't find historical prices for companies such as GM, the old AT&T Corp (not to be confused with AT&T Inc), or SONAT (whose old stock symbol was "SNT") on these free sites. The case of AT&T is an example of where you can be led astray by historical data on these sites - if you try to find the price of the old AT&T Corp (symbol = "T") from the days prior to the merger with SBC what you will find using "T" as the stock symbol are actually prices for SBC, who adopted the symbol "T" after the merger when they changed their name to "AT&T Inc." And if you try to find pre-merger historical prices for SBC it says there is no data available - because you should be searching for "T" instead!

    Another option: if you have a full service stock broker they may have better acces to historical data than is offered on the free web sites.
    AtlantaTaxExpert's Avatar
    AtlantaTaxExpert Posts: 21,772, Reputation: 846
    Senior Tax Expert
     
    #6

    Feb 25, 2013, 01:46 PM
    Even the discount brokers have better access, and some of the original discounters, like Schwab and Fidelity, will help you in such a search, especially if you are deemed a good customer.

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