How to cash in a savings bond

Wednesday, July 7th, 2004
Categorized as: Cashing in US Savings Bonds

I’d like to cash in a savings bond. Can you you please tell me how to do so?

Tom’s response

In most states, most banks, savings and loans, and similar institutions will cash savings bonds for you. The process is similar to cashing a check, but you might want to call ahead, as some financial institutions no longer offer this service.

You will be required to provide identification that matches your name on the savings bond. You will be asked to sign the back of each bond and the financial institution will certify your signature.

A savings bond has to be held at least one year before you can cash it. For example, if it was issued in November 2005, the first day you can cash it is November 1, 2006.

There’s a penalty of the most recent three months of interest if you cash a savings bond before its fifth anniversary. For a bond purchased in November 2005 there would no longer be a penalty beginning November 1, 2010.

This penalty has already been deducted from the bond values our Saving Bond Calculator gives you. That is, the calculator shows a bond’s redemption value, not its actual value.

If you have bonds issued in April 1997 or earlier, their value increases every six months beginning from the month of issue. So if you have a bond issued in January, it’s a mistake to redeem it during December – you’ll lose the interest from July through December. Try to cash these older bonds in the month they were issued or the month six months after that. Bonds issued since May 1997 increase in value each month.

Best time to cash Savings Bonds
issued April 1997 and earlier

Bond issued in Best months to redeem
Jan Jan or Jul
Feb Feb or Aug
Mar Mar or Sep
Apr Apr or Oct
May May or Nov
Jun Jun or Dec
Jul Jul or Jan
Aug Aug or Feb
Sep Sep or Mar
Oct Oct or Apr
Nov Nov or May
Dec Dec or Jun


If you have a large number of bonds, see my post Redeeming 100 Savings Bonds.

If you can’t find a bank who will redeem your savings bond for you, click here to find out how to send savings bonds to the Federal Reserve for redemption.

My answers to many other questions about cashing savings bonds are filed under Cashing in US Savings Bonds.

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FDIC Insured Certificates of Deposit can pay 1 or 2% more than savings bonds when held for a similar length of time. See top CD Rates Below:


On June 10th, 2007 FSC said:

Clear and precise information.

On June 18th, 2007 Dan said:

Hi: I had a problem cashing some IBonds at the local bank that I’d like to share with you: The bonds we have are issued to my wife and I which are in our Revocable Living Trust. The registration of the trust (and what it says on the Bonds) is as follows: (I’ll of course use fake names here)…

John Smith and Mary Smith Revocable Trust dated 01-01-2003. Note that the word “and” appears between the names. Our Revocable Trust is also named the same way. I was not allowed to cash the bonds by myself, but will also have to have my wife sign them at the same time. That part is of course is not a problem as it just means another trip to the bank. The problem becomes more accute if one of us dies and the other wants to cash the bonds. The bank called the Federal Reserve to inquire about how to handle this and she was told that we both have to sign the bonds, and if one of us is deceased, the bank can’t really handle it for us any longer. The bonds have to be mailed to the Federal Reserve with a signature guarantee and a copy of the Trust in order for the bonds to be cashed. Question is: All of our bonds are registered in this way and I was only cashing in part of them. Should I try and get the bonds reissued in some way, or cash them all in and forget it about it. If I should die first then my wife will have a big headache dealing with all this and I’m trying to keep things simple. Or, is there a better way to register any new bonds that wouldn’t involve the requirement that we both need to sign? Thanks!

On June 19th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Dan – it’s the word “and” in “John Smith and Mary Smith” that’s requiring two signatures. If it said “or,” then only one signature would be required.

But what’s on the Savings Bond has to match what’s on the Trust documents, so to get this fixed at this point would require changing the trust as well as the Savings Bonds.

On the other hand, the death of a spouse is never simple for the surviving spouse, no matter what you do. Should you die and your wife need to cash the bonds, she will be able to do so by providing a copy of your death certificate.

Tom Adams

On July 15th, 2007 cregg said:

Tom : when it comes to redeeming savings bonds, there ain’t nothing better than a Treasury Direct account.

Thanks to your website, I finally got smart enough to convert my paper EE and I bonds into a TD account. Redeeming the bonds was done completely on-line and sent by EFT straight to my checking account within 24 hours. There’s no hassling with banks and all the limitations that they impose.

You are providing a terrific education for investors here.

On November 12th, 2007 Brenda said:

I have Savings Bonds in my grandchildren’s names. They are minors. How do I cash them in for my grandchildren who need the money now?

On November 13th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Brenda – as the grandparent, you can’t cash these bonds, even if you put up the money. However, a custodial parent can sign for a minor child, so you can have the bonds cashed that way.

Tom Adams

On November 21st, 2007 Dennis Igou said:

My daughter wants to cash in some of here bonds, she is 16 and married lives in another state. Can she cash them herself or does she need one of her parents to cash them for her.

On November 23rd, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Dennis – Many banks will allow a 16-year-old with photo ID to redeem their own Savings Bonds, but not all will. It depends entirely on the bank, so there’s no way to tell what her experience will be.

Tom Adams

On December 16th, 2007 Joe Francis said:

I am the executor of an estate. I have letters testamentary and one death certificate and about 270 E and EE bonds. I also have a 6 page excel worksheet with serial numbers, issue dates and face amounts. Do i have to copy each entry to the signature guarantee form or can I attach the excel worksheets to the submission form?

On December 17th, 2007 justin knos said:

if both owners of the savings bond have died, are they still valid?

On December 17th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Joe – You can attach copies of the Excel worksheets. In the space on the form for listing bonds, just write “see attached”.

Justin – the bonds are still valid and belong to the heirs of the person who died last. Getting the name changed involves filing a form. There are different forms depending on whether the estate is probated or not. My book has details.

Tom Adams

On January 4th, 2008 Bob Anderson said:

Tom, I have series E bonds that will soon no longer earn interest after 30 years and should be redeemed. Although the face of the bond indicates that the issue date is the “first day” of the month (and year), what is the actual day of the month (first or last calendar day or is it business day) when interest on the bond will no longer accrue? In effect, what is the appropriate day within a month to redeem a bond in its 30th year? I don’t want to lose any interest in that “last” month by prematurely redeeming the bond. An example would be appreciated.

On January 14th, 2008 John Boselli said:


Can you please respond to the question by Bob Anderson on Jan 4? I have a savings EE bond that matured on 1/1/08 after 30 years and need to know when to redeem it w/o missing any interest payments. Thanks.

On January 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Bob and John – the last interest payment is credited on the first business day of the month of issue.

So if the bond was purchased on any day in January 1978, you can cash it on the first business day of January 2008 and get the full amount of interest.

Tom Adams

On January 24th, 2008 Mary Hopkins said:

Tom: Do you have to be 18 to cash a bond? My son (17) cashed in his (without my knowing) and I have received tax information for these bonds that was reported to the IRS .I was surprised he was able to cash them in since he is a minor. He did not work last year so has no income to claim. Do we need to file a tax return for these bonds that he foolishly cashed in? Thank you.

On January 28th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Mary – there is no age limit to cashing a Savings Bond. Whether your son needs to file a tax return or not depends on whether his total unearned income (Savings Bond interest and other investment income) is more or less than $850. IRS Publication 17 has the details on pages 5 to 8.

Tom Adams

On February 14th, 2008 h. wilkes said:

what form(s) of ID are required when redeeming bonds?

On February 15th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

H – each bank sets its own ID policies, so you’ll have to call ahead and ask. But typically if you have an account at the bank it requires no more than one photo ID.

Tom Adams

On February 19th, 2008 M. Kring said:

How much do the banks charge for cashing in I Series Savings Bonds? Does the Federal Reserve give them guidelines in how much they can charge?

On February 19th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

M. Kring – yes, the Treasury gives banks clear and precise guidelines on how much they can charge – nothing. The Treasury is already paying them; they aren’t supposed to charge you, too.

If a bank charges you a fee to redeem Savings Bonds, use the link on this page to contact the Treasury and report the bank and the amount to them. Ask to be reimbursed.

Tom Adams

On March 3rd, 2008 Luanne said:

My son signed the back of his savings bonds and I took them to our credit union for redemption. I thought the 1099 would go to my son, but the credit union sent it to me and insists that this is correct since I am the one that brought them to the credit union. They asked me to sign a form which I thought was a receipt for the bonds, but it turns out that this is what they used to prepare the 1099. They insist that the interest be reported by me…what can I do?

On March 3rd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Luanne – Unless you son’s bonds were worth a lot of money, the cheapest thing to do is probably to just pay the tax. If the tax amount is so high it’s worth avoiding it, consult your tax advisor or my book; the pertinent information concerns “nominee distributions.” But it’s complicated and only works if legally your son owes the tax, not you. See this post for more information.

Tom Adam

On March 20th, 2008 tom shymanski said:

my dad has a couple of matured savings bonds that he wants to sign over, one each to each one of my sons. how do we go about doing that?


— tom shymanski

On March 21st, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Tom – that’s not possible. He has to cash the bonds, hold back what he needs for taxes, and give your sons the remaining money.

Tom Adams

On May 25th, 2008 james mariani said:

my clients died, owning $30,000 worth of E and EE bonds from 1979 to 1991. how do we redeem them? they died testate, with pour over will and living trust, but bonds vested just in their name only

On May 26th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi James – my book has answers to the question you’re asking (as well as several others you haven’t thought of yet). Amazon can ship it to you next day if necessary. Scroll up and click on the “Buy from Amazon” button on the right.

Tom Adams

On May 28th, 2008 Dina said:

Question #1- can savings bonds be reissued to (children) beneficiaries without being cashed in?

Question #2- can double b bonds be reissued without converting to h bonds? Thank you

On May 29th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Dina –

1.) Yes, you can have the registration changed but you will owe tax on the interest the bond has earned to date. See this post.

2.) HH bonds were discontinued in 2004 and there’s no such thing as double-b bonds, but I think you’re asking if the name can be changed on a Savings Bond and the answer is yes.

Tom Adams

On May 29th, 2008 Dina said:

Tom – Thank you for the answers to my questions. In regards to my #1 question, what if both co-owners are deceased? Thank you in advance.

On May 29th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Dina – if both co-owners are deceased, the executor of the estate of the person who died last can have names on the bond changed without triggering income taxes on the interest. But this is more complicated. See this post.

Also, I may have misunderstood your first question. If you mean the beneficiary is named on the bond (I understood you to mean the new name wasn’t already on the bond) then see this post.

Tom Adams

On June 3rd, 2008 Teresa said:

My children each have savings bond’s in their name and co-owned by their grandmother. Their grandmother has since passed away and the bonds were given to me to keep for them. I would like to cash them in for my minor children. How do I go about doing that?

On June 4th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Teresa – just follow the instructions at the top of this page. As long as the children live with you, you may sign for them as a custodial parent.

Since the children are co-owners (OR appears between the child’s name and the grandmother’s name rather than POD) you don’t need the grandmother’s death certificate. If it’s actually POD and the grandmother’s name is first, then you do need her death certificate.

Tom Adams

On June 6th, 2008 simario pious said:

hello i was recently told that i have 3 savings bonds out in my name it started since i was born now im 27 but the only problem is that my family can`t locate them what do i do because i never seen them

On June 6th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Simario – follow the instructions on my page about lost savings bonds.

Tom Adams

On June 9th, 2008 cass said:

Hi Tom,

I purchased some old bonds from a man who was settling his recently deceased 90 year old father’s estate. At the sale the man seemed like he could not have cared less about the pictures, paper and bonds his father had, in short they had lots of money. The (1927 or 1947) bonds are not in his fathers or mothers name, they are in the name of a blood relative of the father who I suspect was an aunt, mother or sister that is probably now deceased too. My question is since I purchased these from his estate can I legally cash them if they still have value and have not been transferred or cashed in already?

Thanks, Cass

On June 9th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Cass – if these are US Savings Bonds, no. Only the person named on the bonds or her heirs can cash them.

If they are some other kind of bond, then maybe, but you’ll have to track that down elsewhere, as I only cover US Savings Bonds.

Tom Adams

On June 24th, 2008 James Tarver said:

I inherited my Grandmothers estate and have recently discovered several 50+ year old savings bonds which are not registered in her name, can I cash them?

On June 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

James – No, you can’t. If you can’t find the person named on the bonds or the heirs, see the information here.

Tom Adams

On September 10th, 2008 Mike said:

Hi Tom,

We have several series EE savings bonds in my daughter’s name with my wife as co-owner. I as her father wanted to cash them in. My daughter is a minor 15, and my wife is not always around to cash them, do I need my wife to cash them or can I as a custodial parent cash them?

On September 11th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Mike – Most banks will let a 15-year old accompanied by a custodial parent sign the bonds herself. If the bank refuses, then you can sign for her.

But if you try to cash them without either your daughter or your wife present, I think you’ll meet some resistance.

Tom Adams

On September 25th, 2008 Marie said:

Hello, We have three children all under the age of fifteen who have savings bonds… we want to go ahead and cash them and open a checking account for each of them. Some have my name on them below the kids and some have my husbands name on them below he kids….because my husband is at work from seven until many times eight at night due to the crap economy is there any way that he can sign them and give me his license and or social security card and have the money deposited into our joint account?

On September 26th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Marie – Only the first person named on the bond has to sign it, not both.

In all likelihood, the bank will let your kids sign their own bonds. If not, they will allow you to sign the bonds for the kids as their parent.

Your husband doesn’t need to be involved at all.

Tom Adams

On November 17th, 2008 David Bleser said:

My wife discovered a $400 worth of savings bond her mother purchased in 1973. The bonds have her mother’s name on them but she died in 1995. She has a copy of her mother’s death certificate.
Is there anything else she needs before she brings them to Washington Mutual for cashing?

On November 17th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi David – your wife would also need to provide evidence that she is her mother’s only heir.

There are different forms for this, depending on whether the mother’s estate was handled by a court, by state small-estate law, or not legally handled at all.

Wamu may have the form your wife needs and if they do you should thank them profusely because most banks have no idea what to do in this situation.

Of course if she’s not the only heir – for example, if she had living brothers or sisters when her mother died, or if her mother was married when she died, it quickly gets very complicated.

Tom Adams

On November 18th, 2008 DEB BROWN said:


On November 18th, 2008 Amanda said:

my father recently died and had been saving several bonds for me, but with no beneficiary listed. can i transfer these to my name to let them mature or am i going to have to just say so long to them?

On November 19th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Deb – Legally you are the only one who can cash the bond. The estate has no property rights in the bond. However, that’s not to say the Executor can’t get a friendly banker to cash it anyhow. If it’s a large amount, you might want to hire a lawyer of your own to let the Executor know that if your bonds were cashed you would consider it to be fraud.

Amanda – since your father died without a beneficiary listed, the bonds now belong to his heirs. If you’re the only heir, the money is yours, but you have to prove that you’re the only heir. Normally this is done through a probate court, but there are other ways if his estate (his property) was too small for that.

Tom Adams

On December 6th, 2008 Jeff said:

How and where do I cash in HH bonds? No more interest will be given at the end of this year.

On December 8th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Jeff – the info you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On December 14th, 2008 eric bell said:

I got some EE bonds , I’ve been buying every month for 5 years, I want to cash in about 4 hundred dollars worth, Now the question is does my bank report to the IRS that I cashed them, and do I pay taxes on cashing them with the very little interest on them, the bank can keep the interest.

On December 15th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Eric – the bank reports the amount of interest you’ve earned to you and the IRS using a form called a 1099-INT. You then add the amount on that form to your next tax return.

Why would you give the bank 100% of your interest rather than paying 30% or less of it in taxes? Besides, you’ll owe the tax whether you give the interest to the bank or not.

Tom Adams

On December 28th, 2008 Eva Fossum said:

Do you get more money cashing in with Treasury Direct than you would get cashing in at a local bank?

On January 2nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Eva – Savings Bonds are worth the same redemption amount no matter where you cash them. Banks are paid by the government for handling Savings Bonds transactions – if they charge you, too, they are double-dipping and should be reported.

To cash a paper Savings Bond at Treasury Direct you’d have to open a Treasury Direct account and have your paper bond converted to an electronic bond.

Tom Adams

On January 9th, 2009 Michael said:

Had a question as to when I could cash an I Series Bond. Type in the question via Yahoo Search, your answer was there at the top of the list, very cool, Happy New Year!

On January 16th, 2009 chris said:

My son has several savings bond about 20 yrs old I was recently told if he paid off school loans with then he would not be taxed by irs is this true. thank you in advance.

On January 19th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Chris – not true. Details of the Savings Bond college education deduction are here.

Tom Adams

On January 22nd, 2009 Walter Grzelewski said:

It was my understanding that cashing a bond for school use would not be taxable. Is there a website or can you provide information on exactly “what” would be tax free for school. Tuition? School supplies? Traveling expense? Laptops?

On January 22nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Walter – the page you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On January 28th, 2009 Jim Cox said:

Series EE Bond has registration in name of A, with POD in name of B. A dies. B dies five days later. Does the bond belong to A’s estate or B’s estate? In other words, is there any minimum period of survivorship before the bond permanently vests in the POD payee or his estate?

On January 28th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jim – the rules just say the bond belongs to the estate of the person who died last – B in your example.

Tom Adams

On February 12th, 2009 Christian said:

I am 18 years old and have 12, $50 face value, Series EE Savings Bonds (paid $25 for them) and am listed as the co-owner on all of them. They are near maturity and I was wondering, were I to cash them in, who would be taxed, me or the other co-owner? I can’t afford to pay taxes on them and I don’t want my parents or grandparents to one day receive a statement saying that they have to pay taxes on some bonds that I cashed without them knowing

On February 13th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Christian – the 1099-INT that reports the interest to the IRS is typically issued under the Social Security Number of the person who cashes the bond. If that’s you, whether you’d actually owe any tax or not depends on how much other income you have that year.

Tom Adams

On February 18th, 2009 Maria said:

My minor daughter has two savings bonds that I would like to cash in. Both of them have her name (“to”) and then my husband’s name as “or.” One has her social security number and the other has his. Will I be able to cash them in since I am a legal guardian (with id)?

On February 19th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Maria – if you are the custodial parent you are allowed to sign the bond for your minor daughter. This will go best if you take her to the bank with you. Depending on her age and ID, they may allow her to sign the bond herself. Without her present you may get some resistance to cashing the bonds.

Tom Adams

On February 19th, 2009 Maria said:

Thank you Tom. Makes sense. As far as her age, she is three.

On February 20th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Maria – Then she’s a little young to sign for herself (smile).

Tom Adams

On February 23rd, 2009 Laura said:

My mother purchased HH savings bonds for my son they are in her name OR his – about 10 years ago, I looked to cash these bonds in, he was a minor, so I took them to our bank, had my signature guaranteed and was going to mail it to the Federal Reserve to cash it in – my mother then informed me not to since she was receiving the interest and did not want the bonds cashed in until 2009 – I now have the HH bond with my signature guaranteed on the back as mother of my then minor son (who is now of age) and we want to redeem the bond – he has filled out the direct deposit form in his name – will he have a problem when he send the bond in and if so, what would you recommend we do to avoid a problem – as we want to redeem it now

On February 23rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Laura – This is a very unusual situation and I don’t have an answer for you. I think you should use my Ask the Treasury link to inquire what the right procedure is.

Tom Adams

On February 23rd, 2009 Laura said:

Thank you Tom for your quick response – I have emailed my question to “Ask the Treasury” per your web link and if you like will let you know their response.

On February 23rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Laura – yes, that would be great if you could let us know how this works.

Tom Adams

On February 23rd, 2009 Laura said:

I contacted the Redemption and Reissue department for H/HH Bond Servicing of the Dept of Treasury at 1-800-553-2663 (menu option 4 then option 2) – spoke with a very helpful woman who advised my son would have to strike out the completed portion of the back of the bond and then complete a P DF 1522 form (which requires that his signature be guaranteed by the bank as well) this form also provides the direct deposit information, so only one form needs to be completed. Once that is done he has to remit the completed form and bond directly to the Federal Reserve in order to redeem it. It seems like a simple procedure which I hope works as well as it sounds – Thanks for a great website Tom –

On March 4th, 2009 chip said:

Tom I have a Series EE bond made out to my alias name not my legal name how do i go about cashing it?

On March 5th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Chip – In general, to get a bank to certify your signature on the back of a Savings Bond, you need to prove to the bank that you’re the person named on the bond.

It’s impossible for me to give you any specific advice because different banks have different ID policies.

However, if you know someone who works at a bank, who knows you by your alias name, and who will vouch for you, that would be a good start.

Otherwise you’re going to have to sit down directly with your local bank and ask them what they will need from you to prove you’re the person named on the bond, then you’re going to have to meet their requirements.

Tom Adams

On March 16th, 2009 Peggy Wood said:


My Nephew has some H Bonds that issued to his grandfather in 1994 or 95–they were made POD to my brother who died in 1996. My father (the grandfather) died in January 2007. I gave my nephew the H Bonds and a death certificate for his grandfather. Told him that he would need a death certificate of his father to redeem. Is there a time limit on when you can redeem these bonds? He took them to a bank and they told him that he didn’t have any claim on these. These were separate items from the living trust that my father had set up. The only reference to anything for my nephew is that if his father died, he would inherit his share of the trust–i.e. the H Bonds in my brothers’ name.

Any advice on how to get the money out of these for my nephew? I would appreciate any information that would be available.

On March 16th, 2009 Bill said:

Hi Tom,
I have a few series EE bonds for my daughter with my moms’ (grandmas) name on it. We need to cash them out because of severe financial difficulty we’re facing right now. How do we go about cashing my 7 year old daughters bonds, without grandma being here? The local bank told us to send them to grandma to cash out for us. Can i do it as a parent?

On March 17th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Peggy – When your brother died in 1996, the bonds became sole owner bonds in your father’s name. When your father died the bonds became the property of your father’s estate. Was your father’s estate probated? You seem to reference his will. The probate court would determine who owns the bonds and issue the paperwork necessary to redeem them.

Bill – if your daughter’s name is on the bonds, a custodial parent can sign for her. If only your mother’s name is on the bonds, then legally the bonds belong only to your mother and only your mother can cash them.

Tom Adams

On March 28th, 2009 Jennifer said:

hi tom

my mother has many bonds in her name alone, her name and my deceased father’s name, and her name and her deceased mother’s name. She wants to sign these over to my sisters and I without cashing in. Is that possible and what steps would we need to take? Thank you

On March 30th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jennifer – Is the reason she wants to sign these over so that she doesn’t have to pay income tax on the interest they’ve earned? The IRS is all over that and she can’t get out of the taxes.

You or one of your sisters should spend a weekend reading my book so you can advise your mother on how to manage this investment and pass it on in the lowest-cost way.

Tom Adams

On April 2nd, 2009 marcia said:

Tom, My parents are both living and both their names are on EE bonds. They want to remove one of their names and put their Granddaugters name on it. she is not a minor. If the Grandaughter cashes it in who pays the taxes, assuming the name can be added to the bond.

On April 3rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Marcia – Make sure you they don’t change the principal owner, who is assumed to be the one named first if no information is provided otherwise. That change would make the interest earned so far taxable as of the date of the name change.

However, the IRS says your parents would be responsible for the taxes, even if their granddaughter cashed the bond and received the 1099-INT tax form under her Social Security Number. Details are here.

Tom Adams

On April 29th, 2009 Robert said:

Tom, I have a friend in financial trouble she has a son with some savings bonds but they are set for him at age 18 currently he is 16. His name I believe is the only name on the bonds. Is there any way she can cash some of these in to help them with bills and such. Sorry I don’t have more information about the bonds other than that.

On April 30th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robert – I don’t know what you mean by “they are set for him at age 18.” Other than the one-year and five-year provisions explained in the article above, there’s nothing to prevent the owner – the son in this case – from cashing the bonds now.

Tom Adams

On April 30th, 2009 Robert said:

According to her, he is unable to cash them till he is 18 yrs old. Something about He is unable to cash them till then, They are approximately 4 yrs old now.

On May 1st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robert – most banks would let a 16-year old redeem a Savings Bond, particularly if the parent was also present. But if the bank insists the Savings Bond owner has to be 18 to cash the bond, then a custodial parent can sign for the minor.

Tom Adams

On May 2nd, 2009 Robert said:

Ok Tom , I learned that the bonds are conservator bonds the money that purchased them was awarded to her son as proceeds to a hate crime case he won. Only his name is on them and he has to be 18 before even he can cash them in. This is all i can find out she wont tell me more.

On May 4th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robert – It sounds like the bonds aren’t actually registered to the son but to a trust of some sort.

That being the case, this isn’t really a Savings Bond issue; what determines what can happen are the legal details of the conservator trust.

It sounds to me like there’s no way she can cash the bonds. In any case, it sounds like it’s her son’s money.

Tom Adams

On May 8th, 2009 Brian said:

Tom- My dad bought series E bonds in 1979 and 1980 before going into the Marines and he has recently given them to me, before moving to Arizona. These bonds have his name (example: Brian Smith III)and POD Brian Smith Jr. (my grandfather [also living in Arizona]).

I live in Ohio and I would like to cash these bonds in as they were given to me and are just about 100% mature BUT my name is Brian Smith IV… SO, my question is- When I go to cash these, will I have any problem? Neither my ID nor my dad’s have our suffix, just “Brian Smith”.

On May 14th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Brian – You’re not supposed to be able to cash them. What’s important is the name on the bond, not who has possession of it.

Whether you would be challenged depends on the mood of the bank teller the day you go cash them.

Tom Adams

On May 19th, 2009 karen said:

We have an 18 yr old living with us. He is estranged from his family. He received a letter from his mother over the weekend that stated she had cashed in “savings bonds taken out for him” and used the money for a vacation. We are wondering if there is any way to find out whether the savings bonds she cashed were indeed in the name of the 18 yr old before consulting a lawyer to reclaim the money.

On May 20th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Karen – My understanding is that you would need the serial numbers on the bonds to find out if they had been cashed. You can contact the Treasury to see if there’s a way I don’t know about.

Tom Adams

On May 20th, 2009 karen said:

Thanks for the quick reply, Tom! I have emailed my question to the Treasury as you suggested. I’ll post their response if they are able to help. I hope that no one else ever has this happen to them, but want to share what we find out just in case it can help someone else.


On May 21st, 2009 karen said:


Here’s the response from the Treasury that you suggested I contact. I’m not particularly optimistic that the teen will be able to reclaim his funds, but it’s nice to know that they responded quickly and will look into the matter further.

Thanks again!


“If the mother was named on the bonds, she is entitled to redeem the bonds.

You can send a letter to this office to explain the matter and request a search of our records to determine the status of the bonds. It is important to provide in the letter the approximate years in which the bonds could have been purchased and any possible social security account number, name and address which could have appeared first on the bond. A list of the bonds since you stated you have one.

The written request should be sent to this office:

Bureau of Public Debt
P. O. Box 7012
Parkersburg, WV 26106-7012”

On May 22nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Karen – They forgot to say that letter should be from 18-year-old, not from you, as they’re not going to tell person A about person B’s Savings Bonds. Good luck.

Tom Adams

On June 28th, 2009 Angela said:

hi tom i have two series EE bonds here. one is to my older son. his name is mis-speled his stepfather is or. the other bond i to my husband which we are separated but my youngest is the or. how do i go about getting them cash for them?

On June 29th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Angela – Since in each case the names are separated by OR, your sons can cash the bonds. If they are minors and you are the custodial parent, then you can sign for them.

Go back to the top of this page and read the article there. It has all the other information you need. (Slight name misspellings are common and shouldn’t cause a problem.)

Tom Adams

On July 9th, 2009 Mary B said:

My husbands mother recently gave him 4 $5,000.00 Series EE bonds that she purchased for him in his name with me as POD. They are almost to face value. They were purchased in 1994. The online calculator shows they are earning interest at a rate of 1.70% for 2 of them and 1.32% for the other 2. Would it be a good idea to cash them out and put them in a CD for 5 years at 3%?

On July 10th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mary – It’s fairly complicated to answer your question. Before I do the math, could you tell me exactly what month in 1994 they were issued?

Tom Adams

On July 10th, 2009 Mary B said:

Yes 2 of them were purchased in January and the other 2 were purchased in May both in 1994.

On July 13th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mary – If you hold the 1/94 bonds until they reach face value in Jan 2012, you will earn 2.09% annually. After that, under the current rules, they would earn 4%. However, the Treasury could change those rules between now and then so that they’d earn a lower rate. If you decide to cash these, this month would be a good time to do that.

The May 1994 bonds will reach face value in May 2012. The gain from their value now is equivalent to 2.64% annually. If you decide to cash these now, you’ll lose a little more than $14 in interest per month for May and June. You can avoid this by waiting until November.

Keep in mind that when you cash these you will owe taxes on the interest, so you don’t want to reinvest the full amount. Hold back what you need for taxes and reinvest what’s left.

Tom Adams

On August 10th, 2009 jake said:

my mother in law has $130,000 in matured E and EE savings bonds. Half are the name of her and my wife and the other have are in the name of her and my brother in law. she just tured 70 years old and has been retired for 3 years. how should she cash them in? reinvest? also my son is attending college, can she gift the bonds to him for college tuition?

On August 11th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jake – There are no EE bonds yet that are “mature” in the sense that they’ve stopped earning interest. There’s no need to worry about those now.

The ones you have to worry about are the E bonds that were issued more than 30 years ago. Those have stopped earning interest and need to be cashed. There will be (federal, but not state) income tax on the interest. Hold back some of the money to pay the tax and reinvest the rest.

The bonds should be cashed by the person with the lowest tax rate, who is probably your mother-in-law.

Because of the way the bonds are registered, you can’t get the college education deduction. There’s more info on that here.

Tom Adams

On September 15th, 2009 Ed said:


I read Craig’s 7/15/07 comment and readers should know that bond cashing requirements are not set by the banks. They merely try to help people with the transaction. Banks receive no fees for making or cashing bonds and I don’t really know why they do it. As you can see, it is certainly appreciated by the public.


On September 16th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Ed – Actually banks do receive a fee for handling the transactions, but it’s very small. Some banks and bankers handle Savings Bonds as a customer service. Others do it so that they have a shot at talking you into one of the bank’s own products instead.

Tom Adams

On September 24th, 2009 kimberly Boone said:

My daughter was given some savings bonds by my ex-husbands family.

Some were issued with my ex husbands social security number but in her name before she had a social security number (when she was an infant) and also because they giver didn’t know her social security number at the time.

Others are in her name and her social security number.

She is 30 days away from turning 18 and some of her bonds are past maturity.

She would like to cash them in and use them towards the purchase of a car.

Can she do this on the bonds that have her Father’s social security number on them without having to have him present?

On September 25th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kimberly – yes, she can cash them. The SSN on the bond is only used for tracking the bonds if they are lost.

The SSN on the bond doesn’t come into play at all when you cash it. The bank will ask your daughter for her SSN and will use it to issue the 1099-INT tax form reporting the interest earned to the IRS.

Tom Adams

On September 29th, 2009 Linda Cassulo said:

We have many savings bonds that we have been saving for both daughters over the years. My oldest is now 20 and needs to cash some in for college expenses. Many bonds are in my name with my daughter as POD. That’s how I was told to set them up originally. What’s the best way to completely transfer them to her so that she can cash them as appropriate, based on maturity? We are not eligible for the education tax exemption.
Thank you…

On September 29th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Linda – given the way the bonds are registered, you need to cash them, hold back what you need for income tax, and give your daughter what’s left.

Tom Adams

On October 16th, 2009 Jennifer said:

I have a $500 savings bond that is made out to my minor daughter and my husband. I am still married am I able to cash in the bond?

Thank You

On October 18th, 2009 Gina said:

Hi I was wondering what I should do with a savings bond I found of my sons. He passed away in 93. who do I go to to get the name transferred or is it just garbage now?

On October 19th, 2009 Larry said:

Hi Tom … I purchased EE bonds back in the early 1990’s with a family member listed as a co-owner. I would like to make sure that this family member does not have the bonds re-issued to him (even with my name still on the re-issued bonds) and then cash them in prior to my passing. What options do I have to make sure that this doesn’t happen? I have verbally been told by the folks at Treasury Direct that if I open an account and go paperless with those bonds that he will not have access to the bonds. Is that correct?Thanks for you help.

On October 19th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jennifer – If your daughter’s name is listed first (or second with an OR between the names), you can technically sign for her because you’re a custodial parent. However, some banks will only deal with the parent named on the bond. I can’t predict what your bank will do.

Gina – You can have the bond reissued to you using this form. Follow the instructions on the form.

Larry – Switching the bonds to electronic bonds is my advice as well.

Tom Adams

On October 21st, 2009 William Cieslak said:

A donor wants to transfer his EE US Savings bonds to our 510c3 agency. How does he do this? Are there any income tax implications?

On October 22nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

William – your donor has to cash the bond himself, add the Savings Bond interest to his taxable income, give you the money, then take a charitable deduction on his tax return for the amount of the gift.

The Treasury doesn’t allow Savings Bond transfers to charitable organizations.

Tom Adams

On October 24th, 2009 Donald said:

I have an EE bond which was purchased in April 1980. Will it stop earning interest in April 2010, or 6 months after? In other words, should I cash it on April 1st or October 1st?

On October 26th, 2009 Angie said:

Do all banks have to cash savings bonds?

On October 26th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Donald – An April 1980 EE bond will earn its last interest payment during March, 2010. You should cash it in April 2010.

Angie – No, banks aren’t required to cash Savings Bonds.

Tom Adams

On November 23rd, 2009 Robert Seyffarth said:

Many years ago I purchased Series EE bonds for my son. The bonds are in his name and social security number. Can my son cash the bonds using his infant son’s social security number thereby avoiding income taxes or, at least, be taxed at a lower rate?

On November 24th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robert – No. They always use they SSN of the person cashing the bond, who has to be named on the bond. Since your grandson isn’t named on the bond, you can’t use his SSN.

Tom Adams

On December 1st, 2009 CHARLES said:


On December 2nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Charles – Open an account at TreasuryDirect and your wishes will be fulfilled.

Tom Adams

On December 30th, 2009 Kim said:

I have 2 E bonds with a $25 face value which are from my husbands great-aunts estate. She was required to purchase 2 bonds as directed in a chain letter and then mail them to the recipient. She never mailed them.(her name is on the original chain letter which we do have). Potential problem; the bonds don’t note her name. Can they be cashed?

On December 30th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kim – Your great-aunt could have used the info here, but her death will make this pretty complicated for the $37.50 you’d get back.

Tom Adams

On January 16th, 2010 Diane said:

Tom, What are the CURRENT interest rates being paid on EE bond (purchased Oct 1992) and I bonds (purchased in Jan 2003)? Are either OR BOTH of these bonds worth keeping or should I redeem one or the other?

Is there a stepped-up basis for either EE and/or I bonds which I bought in my name with POD to each of my two children when I die? I have 1/2 of the total NUMBER of bonds POD one child and the other 1/2 of total NUMBER of the bonds POD to the other child. Both are adults.

On January 18th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Diane – use the Calculator at the top of this page to determine the rates your bonds are earning. I don’t know if you should redeem them because I don’t know what alternative investment you have in mind for the money.

Stepped-up basis applies to capital gains. Savings Bonds earn interest and have no capital gains, so there is no stepped-up basis.

Tom Adams

On January 27th, 2010 Janet said:


1. Is there a limit to the amount of EE bonds I can cash in per year?

2. I would like to take advantage of using them to pay for my daughter’s college tuition – I fall into the income criteria but not all the bonds are in my name. Am I able to transfer them into my name?

On January 28th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Janet – There is no redemption limit.

Changing the owner of a Savings Bond creates a taxable event, and defeats your purpose.

The full rules of the college education deduction are here.

Tom Adams

On January 28th, 2010 Robert said:

I have been purchasing EE bonds for many years as gifts for niece and nephew special occasions. I have had to give my SS number for the transaction. Each bond lists the child as owner, and 1 parent as POD. When they are redeemed by the child or the parent, who pays the tax? I have no tax liability in this case correct?

On January 29th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Robert – the SSN on the bond is only used to track it if it’s lost. If your name isn’t on the bond you have no legal rights over the money and thus the taxes do not go to you.

If the bonds are cashed, the 1099-INT will go to the child, but if the child is under 18, the parent may have to declare it as income because of the kiddie tax.

Tom Adams

On February 3rd, 2010 Arnold said:

Looking for a little advice… I’m 19 and I’m considering on finally cashing in my two Series EE savings bonds, one being bought in March of 1991 and the other June 1992 by one of my aunts. Problem is, there’s my aunt’s Social Security number and one of the bonds has my full name, but a nickname has been substituted for my legal first name… So… What can I do here?

On February 3rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Arnold – It’s not unusual for the gift giver’s SSN to appear on a Saving Bond and no one is going to question that.

You will need to get a bank to certify your signature. They will ask for ID. Different banks have different policies, but they will tell you what they need to see before they believe that you are the person named on the bonds.

Tom Adams

On February 3rd, 2010 heather said:

Hi. I want to cash in a $10,000 savings bond, that has gone well past that amount. It says on the treasury website that I have to go to the bank sign it and then send to a federal securities bank. Is this true, and if so, how long does this process take?

On February 3rd, 2010 Nate said:

I was wondering how this may work. My wife has some series EE bonds that were purchased for her when she was not married. When we married she took my last name. Now the name on the bonds and her drivers licence do not match. She legally had her last name changed. How would she go about redeeming these bonds?

On February 4th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Heather – If you have an account at the bank, it may be willing to send the bond in for you. In either case, it takes about three weeks to get the money.

Nate – different banks have different ID policies, but they deal with this every day. Just call ahead to the bank where she’ll get her signature certified and ask what kind of ID they recommend. A birth certificate, marriage license, the legal name-change paperwork, a child’s birth certificate that includes her maiden name are all possibilities.

Tom Adams

On February 4th, 2010 Ron Wong said:


We’re currently living overseas but I will be visiting the states alone next month. My 21 year old daughter has some savings bonds that she would like me to redeem while I’m there. Is this possible?

On February 5th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Ron – not unless your name is on the bond as a co-owner. Here’s the process she needs to follow.

Tom Adams

On February 15th, 2010 Jamie said:


My mother is on her death bed and has some US bonds she wants to cash in. I will be the executrix of her estate and need to know how to handle the interest on those after she passes. Will she pay the tax at the time she cashes them or is it something you report on your income taxes and pay in that manner?


On February 16th, 2010 rockaway said:

How can I cash bonds without a bank account?

On February 16th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Jamie – As executrix, you will be responsible for filing your mother’s tax return for the year in which she dies. If that’s also the tax year in which she cashes the bonds, then the interest goes on that tax return. In any case, she will not be required to pay the tax when the bonds are cashed.

Rockaway – the article at the top of this page covers your question. What you’re looking for is in the next-to-last paragraph.

Tom Adams

On February 17th, 2010 Kathy Husek said:

Do I have any options here. My Husband passed away in 1998. His Mother in 1999 I have several savings bonds in his “or” her name. I have his death certificate. My mother in law took me to bank and signed the lastest savings bond and the Bank advised us to wait as it was just a few months old at that time. I was not included in her will my son was. I did have a death certificate but my Uncle ( who had alzeimers) tossed it. Now I find myself in dire need of these funds. Is there anyway I can cash these bonds or what do I do?

On February 18th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Kathy – When your husband passed away, the bonds became his mother’s bonds, as she was still living. When she died the bonds went to her estate, to be distributed according to her will.

If the bonds were specifically mentioned in the will, then the court that probates the will will award them that way. If not, they’ll be split among the heirs as the will declares. Was her will probated?

Since you were not in her will, I don’t see any way you can cash the bonds.

Tom Adams

On March 3rd, 2010 Chris said:

I am 17, I dont have a driver’s liscense or photo ID but if my dad takes me to a bank can he sign to have the bonds cashed in?


On March 4th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Chris – yes, custodial parents can sign for their minor children.

Tom Adams

On March 21st, 2010 Rich said:

I purchased four $1000 EE series bonds in December 2003 for my nieces and nephews. All of them are now in dire need of new clothing and shoes, and their parents are not to be trusted with the money. When I purchased these bonds, I placed them in the child’s name with myself as the OR. Can I cash these bonds or do the parents have to sign for them? Thanks for your help.

On March 22nd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Rich – since you are a registered co-owner of the bonds, you can cash the bonds without the permission or even the knowledge of the children or their parents.

Tom Adams

On March 22nd, 2010 Jim B said:

My daughter, a high school senior, will be attending college this fall. She has six EE savings bonds with a total current value of about $930. Each of these bonds was bought by friends and family when our daughter was a young girl (not bought by me). On each bond, my daughter is listed on the “To” block, and I am listed at the bottom of the bond after the word “OR”. I am filling out the FAFSA form and understand that if we list the saving bond assets in my daughter’s name, it will reduce her financial aid more than if I could list them in my name. Do I have a legitimate claim to say that the assets are in my name? How would you handle this? Thanks, Jim B

On March 23rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Hi Jim – as much as this sounds like a Savings Bond question, it’s a FAFSA question, and I don’t know the answer.

As an aside, I don’t think I’ve ever filled out a form as difficult to interpret as FAFSA, though it’s been over 10 years since I went through that.

Tom Adams

On March 29th, 2010 Sharona Gails said:

I live in NYC. I purchase bonds all the time from a bank and they never charge a fee. My boyfriend purchased bonds at a bank while visiting Sanford, NC and they charged him a $1.50 for each bond for processing, shipping and handling. Is that legal?

On March 30th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Sharona – The Treasury is already paying the bank to handle Savings Bonds and the bank isn’t supposed to charge the buyer a fee. Do the right thing and tell the Treasury the bank is doing this.

Tom Adams

On March 30th, 2010 Dan L. said:

Hi, My son (only 2 years old) has some savings bonds with me under his name and some with my wife under his name. I want to cash these in and put the proceeds in a savings account for him. My wife and I have opposite work schedules, so my question is: Can I redeem the bonds with her name on them, or does she need to do that? Thanks!

On March 30th, 2010 Joey said:

A friend of mine recently purchased a savings bond for my son in my name as a baby shower gift. Unfortunately my name showed up completely wrong on the bond- what do I do? I understand that the name on the bond and the name on your ID need to match so am I going to have trouble cashing this in someday? Thanks!

On March 31st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Dan – in theory either custodial parent can sign for a child who is a minor. However, not all bank employees understand this. I suggest calling ahead and working this out with your bank. You need to get them to understand that you’re a parent signing for the son – you’re not signing for your wife. If your son was 21 they would have no trouble with him cashing the bonds without your wife’s signature, so they should have no trouble with you signing for him without her signature either.

Joey – In Part B of the form mentioned here, enter “Error in registration” and answer the three following questions. Complete the rest of the form, get your signature certified on the form, and send it along with the Savings Bond to the address given in the form’s instruction section.

Tom Adams

On April 7th, 2010 frank shelt said:

Tom, great book, couple of questions though.

My father-in-law and mother-in-law died leaving my wife, the only surviving child, with 60 EE savings bonds. They were not in the trust and are in their names only. We have gone through probate and have been given a letter by the courts that give authority to cash in the bonds. We would prefer to have the names on the bonds changed. How do we do this? What forms are required.

I also have 20 EE bonds that are maturing this year. Can I move them into I bonds without having to pay for interest earned? We prefer not to cash them in until we retire to avoid paying excess tax. Other than just cashing them in what can we do?


On April 8th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Frank – On the bonds that will no longer pay interest after this year: no, there are no rollovers. The IRS says you owe the tax this year whether you cash the bonds or not. Since you have my book, you can find more on this issue on page 186.

Your first question is much more complicated. The details are on pages 129 and 130 of my book. There’s a section there for what the Executor should do if the estate is still open followed by a section on what the heir should do if the estate has been closed.

Tom Adams

On April 9th, 2010 Al said:


I have some I bonds in $5000 denominations. Can I cash out just a portion of the bond or do I have to cash out the whole thing?

Thank you for your time!

On April 12th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Al – Yes you can cash out a portion and get another Savings Bond with the same issue date but a lower denomination, but it’s unlikely your bank will know that. If they say they can’t do it, insist they call their Savings Bond contact at the Treasury and ask.

Tom Adams

On April 20th, 2010 Tim said:

I found some matured E Bonds while going through my elderly mother’s desk. The bonds are in her name and my deceased father’s name. I am her power of attorney, as she is not well, and lives out of the area now. I’d like to cash these bonds in and put them in a CD, but I was wondering if tax wise, it would be better to do this before she passes or after. We do not need the money at this time and can certainly wait.

On April 21st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Tim – if her tax rate is lower than yours, then it makes sense to cash them now. It also makes sense to cash them now because they’re not earning any interest.

I think you’re really asking if there’s a stepped-up basis for inherited Savings Bonds as there is for capital gains. The answer is no, because Savings Bonds earn interest and have no capital gains.

Tom Adams

On April 21st, 2010 Peter Principe said:

My Mom bought EE bonds in her name “or” my name. Most were bought in the 1980’s so if I sign my name amd cash them in are they traceable by any agency (state,federal,etc.) to my mother. Thanks.

On April 22nd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Peter – You are legally entitled to cash the bonds. If your mother’s Social Security Number is on the bonds, they are more traceable to her now than they would be after you cash them.

Tom Adams

On May 3rd, 2010 Michael said:

My mom has 50 $1000 EE bonds that my deceased dad purchased in his name with an “or” in my moms name.These were all issued 1/93. She is in hospice care and would like to redeem them. Does she need to sign them all? I saw in another post about listing the bonds on a form with a single signature but would require her presence which is not possible. If she can sign them all can I redeem them without her being present? When would be the best time to cash them in? Thank you

On May 3rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Michael – you cannot redeem them without her being present unless you have a notarized power of attorney, which the hospice may be able to help you with.

Tom Adams

On May 22nd, 2010 Tim jaecklein said:

My wife is the personal rep of her mothers estate. The estate is in probate. There are aproximatly $30,000 in Series E and EE bond made payable to her father or mother. Both have passed father 2 years ago and mother last month. What proceedures does she follow to cash them out. And will the taxes be paid by the estate ? Estate has a fed tax id number.

On May 24th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Tim – This is too complicated to answer in web site comments. My book has the complete details.

Tom Adams

[…] are even more likely to avoid banks — 67 percent of those from that generation who have cash savings prefer stashing, rather than […]

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 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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