Can a co-owner cash a Savings Bond without the owner’s permission?

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
Categorized as: Cashing in US Savings Bonds

My son was owner of some Savings Bonds and his dad was co-owner. What happens if his dad took the Savings Bonds and cashed them without my son’s signature? Can he do that? And what can I do to get his money back?

Tom’s response

As far as the US Treasury is concerned, either co-owner of a Savings Bond can cash it without the knowledge or permission of the other co-owner.

However, if there was an understanding between your son, his dad, and you that the bonds belonged to your son, you should discuss the situation with your lawyer.

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24 Comments

On September 6th, 2007 Joyce Freeman said:

My 11 year old daughter has approximately $1,300 in savings bonds where I am the POD. We are in the process of being evicted from our apartment and this money could help to keep her in a private school that I have paid for since the kindergarden. Is there any circumstance where we can cash the savings bonds?

On September 6th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Joyce – since you are the custodial parent, you can cash the bonds by signing for your daughter. The Savings Bonds have to have been issued more than a year ago.

Tom Adams

On December 18th, 2007 Dianna Rizzute said:

My 2 sons were listed as owner with me listed as co-owner on multiple Series EE bonds that were given as gifts from my parents. My sons are now 15 and 13 yrs old. I do not have the bonds. They were kept in my ex’s safe after we got divorced and I assumed he would never touch them, as they were not his. I just found out my ex-husband MADE them sign the bonds and told them not to tell me anything about this. My sons told me their dad continually tells them he’ll pay them back and is not making any attempt to do so, which is only to be expected. They do not remember the exact date they were cashed but it was around the Springtime 2007. Is there any way I can prove these were cashed because I intend to bring this issue to court. My attorney doesn’t sound like she knows how to handle this situation. She told me to confront my ex and ask that he pay it back, which isn’t going to happen. What are the laws for what he did, which is a crime in my opnion. My sons remember the amounts paid out to be $2,600 for my 15yr old and around $1,800 for my 13 yr old.

On December 19th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Dianna – typically to get confirmation that a Savings Bond was cashed you’d need to have the bond’s serial number.

However, in this case you may have a claim that the bonds were stolen by a non-custodial parent, in which case you may be able to get them replaced by the Treasury.

I recommend you follow the procedure for stolen Savings Bonds.

Tom Adams

On July 25th, 2009 Jina Farrows said:

My grandparents purchased EE savings bonds for me. On some of the bonds my father’s name and social security number are listed because I was not issued a social security number until I was 5 years old. Can I cash these matured savings bonds that I have in my possession without my father’s signature? How about the bonds listed with my name and my father’s social security number? Do I have to have the bonds reissued in my name solely?

Thank you.

On July 27th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jina – The name on a bond determines who can cash it. The Social Security Number on the bond doesn’t matter – it’s just used for tracking lost bonds.

So, if only your father’s name is on a bond, only he can cash it. If only your name is on a bond, or if both your name and your father’s name is on a bond with the word OR in between, you can cash it.

Tom Adams

On January 6th, 2010 Maria said:

My daughter was given two savings bonds by her grandparents with my husband listed after “or.” We are in a financial mess and was hoping to cash these bonds. Does my husband have to since he listed on the bond or can I as her guardian, being that she is a minor?

On January 6th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Maria – in theory you, as a custodial parent, can cash the bond for the child, although since your husband’s name is on the bond some banks may insist that he sign it instead.

Tom Adams

On February 6th, 2010 Karl said:

I’m an estranged son. My Parent left me an EE savings bond. His name and SSN are listed on bond. My name is listed as coowner. Question, can I cash the bond and use his SSN so his estate can pay taxes?

Thank you. It sure hurts to be estranged.

On February 8th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Karl – when your parent died you became the sole owner of the bond. You get the money and you get to pay the taxes.

Tom Adams

On March 4th, 2010 Tom Crawford said:

I have many savings bonds that were purchased back in the 80s that are in a lock box that will soon be opened by myself and my X-wife. The bonds read as me the primary and she the cosigner. If the bonds are used for our sons education to college, will we pay taxws on the interest. Also if she just takes the bonds, without spliting them with me, and cashes them using her name, am I responsible for paying the taxes on the interset. Thank you

On March 4th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Tom – The Savings Bond college education tax deduction is fairly complicated but could be claimed by the one of you who lists your son as a dependent on their tax return.

The 1099-INT reporting the interest earned by the bonds will be issued in the Social Security Number of the person who cashes the bonds. However, the IRS has confused this issue.

Tom Adams

On March 4th, 2010 Nancy said:

I cashed some bonds recently that I and my son were listed as “or” owners. I was instructed by the bank to cross out his SSN and put mine. Is there any record of him having had these bonds purchased for him? I am inquiring regarding disability means test / SSI threshold of $2,000.

On March 5th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Nancy – crossing out his SSN and writing in yours is not part of the standard process. Whenever a co-owner cashes a Savings Bond the co-owner’s SSN gets the 1099-INT reporting the interest to the IRS.

Before the bonds were cashed the SSA could find them under his SSN, but after they’re cashed the records are removed from the system. As the co-owner, you had the right to cash the bonds.

Tom Adams

On March 11th, 2010 Heidi said:

My great grandmother, bought me 4 savings bonds when i was born in 79, but my parents were divorced less then a year later and he kept them and still has them. But they are in me and my mom’s name. Is there a way to find out if i still can cash them or if i really do have them. Thank you.

On March 16th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Heidi – the information you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On May 6th, 2010 Natalie White said:

My dad has bought series EE Savings Bonds for me a month before I was born with the face value of $200 and they pay out every month. I knowingly have cashed $800 to $1,000 a couple years back. He has since then took them and hid them from me and will not give me access to them. He is list ONLY as “POD” on the bonds. According to the information provided to me by officials at the Treasury Department, him being listed as POD means that he is the beneficiary and I the owner. So, far, without interest, I have calculated over $60,000 that I have no access to. I am considering obtaining a POA to assist me in the retrieval of my funds. Is this possible? Is my information correct or do I have this wrong?

On May 6th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Natalie – I’m confused. Even the oldest $200 EE Savings Bond is not worth more than $700. But maybe you mean he bought a large number of these?

And when you say “they pay out every month,” that sounds like you think your dad is getting a check every month and he’s not. They do earn interest every month, but the interest is added to the redemption value.

POA means “power of attorney,” but that wouldn’t help you here. What I think you must mean is an attorney, or lawyer. That might help, but your best option is to work things out directly with your dad.

Tom Adams

On May 6th, 2010 chris stephenson said:

hello tom, my grandmother issued me savings bonds with my mom as a co owner…my parents got a divorce and my mom kept all of my savings bonds i had 16 total savings bonds. well when i asked my mom about them 3 years later ( beacuse i didnt know my mom had them) she said she will mail them to me. welli recived 5 in the mail. i asked her were the other 11 were and she said she cashed them. after my parents got a divorce and i went to go live with my dad. i made a deal saying within one year she needs to pay me back. well that time has come and pass. my questions is can i sue her for this or am i out of $1,100

On May 7th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Chris – If your mom was a co-owner she had the legal right to cash the bonds without your knowledge or permission and keep the funds herself. She has no legal obligation to pay you back.

You should take her offer to pay you back as the gift that it is. You could give a similar gift to her (and to yourself) by being a little more forgiving.

Tom Adams

On May 19th, 2010 Surin kaul said:

I have some EE bonds issued that have my wife listed as co owner.

Can I add my daughter as another co owner.
If so, would that be a taxable event.

Thanks

On May 19th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Surin – No, you can’t. A Savings Bond registration must have at least one name, for the owner, and can optionally have a second name.

The second name can be either a co-owner or a beneficiary. You cannot add a third name.

Tom Adams

On May 20th, 2010 kevin said:

can u find out who cash your saving bonds

On May 21st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Kevin – If there are two names on your Savings Bonds then it must be one of those two people. If there’s only one, then it must be you. Why do you think your Savings Bonds are being cashed?

Tom Adams

Comments Closed

June 1, 2010

After six years, over 400 posts, 3,680 real comments, and over 90,000 spam comments (thank you, Akismet, for making managing a blog with comments possible), I am closing public comments on Savings-Bond-Advisor.com. I will contine to update the main articles on this site, but not the comments.

Virtually every question about Savings Bonds has been asked and answered on this site multiple times. Use the search feature (see the box in the gray area near the top of this page) or the detailed menu on the lower part of the home page to find the information you're looking for. If you have a copy of Savings Bond Advisor, you can ask me a question here.

Tom Adams

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