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What’s the Difference between a Shareholder and a Stockholder?

Sample stock certificate

I recently learned that some people are confused by the terms “shareholder” and “stockholder” and wonder what the difference between them is. Short answer: There is no difference. Each refers to the owner of one or more shares of a corporation’s stock.

Shareholder” is the term used in the California Corporations Code, and “stockholder” is the term used in the Delaware General Corporation Law.

When referring to the law of one of those states, I use the term that appears in that state’s statutes. In general discussions, however, I tend to use the term “shareholder” because I am, and most of the corporations that I form and counsel are, located in CA.

Related post: How Most States Chose “Shareholder” as Delaware Kept “Stockholder”

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510-547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

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