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Court-Appointed Representatives

When a Court Is Involved in Settling a Decedent's Estate, or Special Provisions of State Law Relating to Small Estates Are Involved.

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:

Small estates and discharged court-appointed representative

  • When an estate is being settled under special provisions of state law relating to small estates, or
  • When eligible people other than the court-appointed representative are disposing of bonds after the court hasapproved the final account and/or issued a decree of distribution

Court-appointed representative with limited powers

  • When a court-appointed representative has only been granted limited powers to settle the estate

Court-appointed representative with full powers

  • When a court-appointed representative is settling the estate and has full powers to settle the estate

A small estate or a discharged court-appointed representative

An estate might be settled under special provisions of state law relating to small estates. In that case, you might have a small estates affidavit or a similar document. The small estates affidavit might

  • indicate that specific bonds in the estate now belong to specific people, or
  • leave it up to all the people entitled to the bonds to agree among themselves what to do with the bonds

Note:  State laws relating to small estates vary widely. You must find out what the law is in the state where the decedent's estate is being settled.

With any other estate, if a court is involved but  the person who was the court-appointed representative is no longer serving in that capacity, you will have a decree of distribution or court-approved final account. That decree or final account may

  • indicate that specific bonds in the estate now belong to specific people, or
  • leave it up to all the people entitled to the bonds to agree among themselves what to do with the bonds

If the affidavit,  decree, or other document gives specific bonds to specific people

For paper bonds, each of those people may request payment of their bonds by signing the back of the bonds to which they are entitled and having the signature certified. (That means you sign the bond in front of an appropriate official at a financial institution.)

Then follow steps 3 and 4 below to pack up and send in the bonds.

If the affidavit, decree, or other document leaves it up to all the people involved

For paper bonds, all the people entitled to a share in the estate must agree on what to do with the bonds. They must then follow these steps:

  1. Fill out Form PD F 5394, either on paper or on-line.
    The on-line version is a PDF, requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't have that, you can download free Acrobat Reader. After you fill out the on-line form, you must print it.
  2. Sign the form in the presence of a certifying official (as explained on the form).

Then follow Steps 3 and 4 below to pack up and send in the bonds.

Packing up and sending in the bonds

When you have certified signatures, follow these steps:

  1. Pack up
    • the bonds
    • a completed PD F 5394 (for the case where that is needed)
    • proof of death (see the reference to a death certificate below) of all people named on the bonds who have died
    • whichever of the following is relevant to your situation:
      • a notarized copy of the small estates affidavit, or
      • court documents certified to be true and correct by the court clerk or other authorized court official
  1. Mail the package to

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

Court-appointed representative with limited powers

If the court granted the representative only limited powers to distribute or dispose of the estate's property, the representative should write to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (PO Box 7012, Parkersburg, WV 26106-7012) explaining the situtation as completely as possible and,if feasible, including a list or brief description of the limited powers.

Court-appointed representative with full powers

If the court granted the representative full powers, the court-appointed representative may

  • redeem (cash in) savings bonds that are the property of that estate, or
  • distribute the savings bonds, allowing the people who are entitled to each bond to request that the bond be reissued or redeemed

Redeeming the bonds

To cash in (redeem) paper bonds in an estate as the court-appointed representative, you must sign the request for payment on the back of the bonds with an indication of your role.

For example, if you are the executor of the estate, you would sign the back of the bond this way:  "[Your name], executor of the will of [name of bond owner who died], deceased."

(If the court-appointed representative of an estate is requesting redemption of savings bonds that are part of the deceased bond owner's estate, local financial institutions that are savings bond paying agents have the authority to redeem the bonds.  However, a paying agent is not required to honor the court-appointed representative's request, and if an agent chooses not to redeem the bonds, the representative can send in the bonds as indicated below.)

When redeeming the bonds, you must present proof both of the death(s) of the people named in the registrations on the bonds and proof of your appointment.

Note:  Newspaper and funeral home announcements are not valid proof of death.

For valid proof, you must present:

  • A copy of the death certificate(s) certified by the office or official that has the original death certificate(s). The office's or official's seal should be visible.
  • Evidence that the court appointed you as the estate's representative. The copy of the court document has to be certified to be true and correct by the clerk of the court and include the clerk's statement that the appointment is still in full force and effect. The clerk's statement must be dated no more than 12 months before you redeem the bonds.Distributing the bonds

To distribute the paper bonds in an estate (distribute specific bonds to specific people), as the court-appointed representative, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out Form PD F 1455, either on paper or on-line. On that form, you indicate how the bonds are to be distributed among the people who are entitled to the estate's bonds.
    (The on-line version of the form is a PDF, requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't have that, you can download free Acrobat Reader. After you fill out the on-line form, you must print it.)
  2. Sign the form (indicating you are the estate's court-appointed representative) in the presence of, and have your signature certified by, a certifying official (as explained on the form).
  3. Have the people who are entitled to the bonds indicate what they want to do with their bonds.
    • Cashing in (redeeming): The person who is entitled to the bond must sign the request for payment on the back of the bond and have the signature certified (guaranteed).
    • Reissuing the bond in the name of the person entitled with the name of  another person as co-owner or beneficiary: The person who is entitled to the bond must fill out PD F 4000 on paper or on-line and have the signature on that form certified (guaranteed).
  1. Pack up
    • the bonds
    • a completed PD F 1455
    • completed PD F 4000 forms for bonds that are to be reissued
    • A copy of the l death certificate(s) certified by the office or official that has the original death certificate. The office's or official's seal should be visible.
    • Evidence that the court appointed you as the estate's representative. The copy of the court document has to be certified to be true and correct by the clerk of the court and include the clerk's statement that the appointment is still in full force and effect. The clerk's statement must be dated no more than 12 months before you send in the bonds.
  1. Mail the package to

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