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Having a Will does not always mean a smooth and easy estate distribution, and when one couple died just 24 hours apart, it shows just that.


Bernard and Clara Kempson lived in Lancashire and spent many decades together, having a baby girl a few years after tying the knot. With both passing away so close to one another, the terms of their Wills meant that their daughter, Lesley, would inherit their legacy.


The value of the estate was made up of many parts, and whilst the administering solicitors could deal with most, the North American shares owned by the Kempson couple proved difficult.


Bernard Kempson worked for Cadbury most of his life and so he and his wife accumulated almost 1,000 jointly held shares in the business. Although once a UK firm, the sale and transfer to Kraft meant many of these shares were split across the pond, turning the Kempsons’ Cadbury shares into Dr Pepper Snapple. With the stock now being US-listed, these assets were thought to require a Medallion Signature Guarantee in order to sell and distribute their value to entitled beneficiaries.


As a service offered by probate genealogy firm, Fraser and Fraser. The team set to work on assisting the solicitors in both transferring and selling the Kempsons’ shares. Working with intestate and testate cases, the company often see UK residents holding American shares, such as health care company Johnson & Johnson, investment management firm Invesco, and IBM, a technology and consulting corporation.


The sale of Cadbury stemmed from its desire to become the biggest confectionary company in the market. With its wider scope to compete beyond chocolate alone, Snapple, 7up and Dr Pepper Schweppes were among the first of its many purchases, explaining the changed name of the Kempsons’ shares. Cadbury continued to expand and acquired yet more confectionary brands – Hollywood Gum, Oasis, Trident, Orangina, and Halls – taking them to the top spot. But it wasn’t long before this push backfired, and with the combination of the economic downturn along with growing success for competitors, Cadbury’s extra branches were slowly chopped off, often undersold.


With the drinks companies gone, Cadbury opened themselves up to potential buyers, turning from an overly complicated business to one perfect to sell. It was in January 2010 that the price of 850p was finally accepted and Cadbury’s 186 years of independence ended.


The solicitors in this case had long been trying to arrange a Medallion Signature Guarantee as the shares needed to be transferred and sold to complete the administration of the Kempsons’ estate. Fraser & Fraser were able to assist not only with arranging the bank signature guarantee to effect the transfer, but also subsequent sale of the holding – worth £43,000 – in one streamlined and efficient process.


With a broad range of experience in dealing with a variety of holdings and an understanding that each case is different, Fraser and Fraser offer a service tailored to your needs. With an ability to arrange Medallion Signature Guarantees in relation to stock and shares paperwork as well as the transfer and sale of US, Canadian and other international shareholdings, Fraser and Fraser are ready to help you.


For more information, please call +44 (0) 20 7832 1400 to discuss your case.