Death of a Savings Bond Owner

This page focuses on paper savings bonds.

Electronic bonds:  If the person who died has an online TreasuryDirect account, contact the Bureau of Fiscal Service directly. We will put a hold on the account and give specific instructions for the situation.

On this page for paper savings bonds that the deceased owned:

Determine who owns the bond

In this situation This person owns the bond
Only one person is named on the bond and that person dies The bond is part of that person’s estate
Two people are named on the bond and both have died The bond is part of the estate of the person who died last.
Two people are named on the bond and one dies The surviving person becomes the owner as if the survivor had been the only owner from the time the bond was issued. For the tax implications of this situation, see Who pays taxes and when? further down this page.

If a survivor is named on the bond

As the survivor, you have three options:

  • Do nothing.
  • Redeem (cash in) the bond.
  • Reissue:  Have the bond reissued in the survivor’s name alone or with another living person. This can only be done if the bond is still earning interest and will not soon stop earning interest

Redeeming (cashing in) paper bonds with a named survivor

Go to a financial institution that pays savings bonds and show adequate identification and any supporting documents that may be required. Before going, it might be helpful to call the financial institution to find out what adequate identification and supporting documents will be needed for your situation.

Reissuing paper bonds with a survivor named on them

Note: We cannot reissue a bond that is less than one full calendar month before its final maturity date. If the paper savings bond is getting close to its final maturity date, be sure to mail it so it arrives at least two months before final maturity.  Also, Series EE and Series I bonds are no longer reissued into paper form.  Instead, the bonds are reissued as electronic bonds in TreasuryDirect.

  1. Fill out form PD F 4000 (download or order).
  2. Take the form to a financial institution and sign it in front of a person who can certify or guarantee your signature.
  3. Mail the form, the bonds, and a certified copy of the death certificate to the address given on the form.

If no survivor is named on the bonds, and no court is involved

The instructions in this section are for the situation in which no person named on the bond is living and all of the following are true. The estate of the person who died (or who died last if two people are named on the bond)

  • has not been and will not be formally administered through a court
  • has not been and will not be settled under special provisions of state law relating to small estates
  • contains bonds totaling $100,000 or less in redemption value as of the date of death

For paper bonds, when no survivor is named and no court is involved, the person or people who are entitled to request disposition of paper bonds must follow these steps:

  1. Fill out form PD F 5336 (download or order).
  2. Sign the form in the presence of a certifying official (as explained on the form).
  3. Pack up
    • the bonds and completed PD F 5336
    • proof of death of all deceased people named on the bonds
  4. Mail the package to

    Bureau of the Fiscal Service
    PO Box 7012
    Parkersburg, WV 26106-7012

If a court or state law is involved

Note: If an estate contains Treasury securities (including savings bonds) that total more than $100,000 in redemption value as of the date of death, the estate must be administered by a court.

If a court is involved, you might have one of these situations:

  • the estate is being settled under special provisions of state law a court-appointed representative is in charge of distributing the estate
  • a court-appointed representative was in charge but has been discharged before the bonds are distributed

For more details on handling bonds in these situations: When a Court or Special Provisions of State Law are Involved in the settlement of an Estate

Who pays taxes and when?

To understand the tax implications of various situations related to the death of a savings bond owner, consult your tax advisor and / or one or more of these Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publications:

Investment Income and Expenses IRS Publication 550
Your Federal Income Tax IRS Publication 17
Survivors, Executors, and Administrators IRS Publication 559
Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes IRS Publication 950