Death of a Savings Bond Owner

This page addresses 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.)

For a paper bond owned by someone deceased, this page shows:

Note: Individual savings bonds may not be split and must be distributed in full.

How to 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.

Redeeming (cashing in) a paper bond 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 a paper bond with a survivor named on it

Note: Series EE and Series I bonds are no longer reissued into paper form. Instead, the bonds are reissued as electronic bonds in TreasuryDirect. Please follow these steps:

  1. If you do not already have one, establish an individual TreasuryDirect account.
  2. Log into your account and click on “Establish a Conversion Linked Account” to convert your paper bond to an electronic issue through SmartExchange.
  3. When the conversion linked account opens, click on Manage Direct and then on “How To Convert My Paper Bonds.”
  4. Follow the steps to convert your paper bond, then mail the signed manifest, the bond, and a certified copy of the death certificate to the Treasury Retail Securities Site, PO Box 214, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214.

Please note that the bond will be issued in your name alone.

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

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

    Treasury Retail Securities Site
    PO Box 214
    Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

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