Years ago, I was helping a fairly new client whose husband's health was declining. He'd previously been handling their finances. While sitting at her kitchen table, she brought me a box she'd found under her bed which held a lot of paperback she didn't understand. They were actual stock certificates. I took them back to my office to "bring them into firm name" which means that I added them to her account. Imagine our surprise when we found out that they were worth over $350,000.
If you or anyone in your family still hold original stock certificates, it's very important, in my opinion, to deposit them into your investment account. If they are lost or destroyed it will be almost impossible to replace them and you'll likely lose the value. In addition, companies are bought and sold and some of the certificates will likely require an awful lot of research. To complicate things further, every life event - a name change, divorce, death, etc. - will require more steps should the stock ever need to be sold.
When you add the certificates to your account, you'll be able to keep track of balances and sell much more quickly should the need arise.
Don't hesitate to call the office if you have questions about this or if we can help in any way.