Redeeming Series H/HH Savings Bonds

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
Categorized as: Cashing in US Savings BondsSeries HH or H US Savings Bonds

I inherited some HH Bonds about three years ago. I receive interest every six months which would be this month and in June. I want to cash at least one of them in. Do I do it now? My bank will not cash it, so how do I proceed?

Tom’s response

Financial institutions are sometimes reluctant to get involved in cashing Series H and Series HH bonds because they don’t deal with them regularly.

Print out a copy of the Treasury’s Direct Depost Sign Up Form. Check the Redemption Payment box at the top of the form and fill out the section requesting your name and address.

Then take the form to your bank and have them help you fill in the bank routing section. Then ask them to certify your signature on the back of the bonds.

If the bank objects to this, remind them that you aren’t asking them to cash the bonds, that you intend to send them in yourself. The Treasury requires your signature to be certified by a bank. There’s no way you can cash the bond without this certification.

Send the form and the certified bonds to the Federal Reserve. Complete instructions on this are in the post, what to do when your bank won’t redeem a Savings Bond for you.

When you have to decide which Series HH bonds you will redeem, consider the interest rate each of your bonds is currently paying, how long each bond will pay that rate, and when each bond will mature.

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56 Comments

On August 8th, 2006 John Hamme said:

My morher inherited, by will, a $1000.00 HH Bond from my aunt. My mother has been in a nursing home for the last 6 years and in not competent to make decisions for herself. I have power of attorney. I would like to cash the bond and have the money direct deposited into her bank account. My bank says that they no longer handle this type of transaction. I have an official copy of my aunt’s death certificate. I also had to pay the inheritance tax to my aunt’s estate (as stipulated in her will) which I have paid with my personal check. I now have the bond in hand. How do I go about getting the cash money into her account?

On August 8th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Hi John – in general, you should follow the process described in the main article on this page.

At the bank, put your mother’s bank account information on the Direct Deposit instructions. Also sign the form and the bonds something like “John Hamme, for Helen Hamme, under Power of Attorney dated…”

When you send in the bond for redemption, in addition to the bond with your certified signature, include certified copies of your aunt’s death certificate, of the court document that states the bond was to go to your mother, and of your power of attorney.

The bank might also want to see all of these documents, as well as your personal ID.

On August 11th, 2006 John Hamme said:

In your answer to my previous question you said that I will need court documents that prove the bond was to go to my mother. On the bond that was bought by my aunt, her name is on the face of the bond along with my mother’s like this–“POD (my mother’s name) along with my mother’s SS Number. Isn’t that proof enough along with my aunt’s certified death certificate and a copy of my Power of Attorney to get the bond redeemed and the money to be direct deposited into her account?

On August 11th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

John – in your original question you said your mother inherited the Savings Bond “by will” and you didn’t mention that your mother’s name is also on the bond.

You are correct – these additional details change the answer to your question.

The POD on the Savings Bond registration overrides your aunt’s will, so all you’ll need to provide is your aunt’s death certificate and your power of attorney.

On September 15th, 2006 Jim Fletcher said:

I have spent much of the last week trying to get a bank to sign the back (as witness to my signature) of several HH bonds of which I am co-owner. There have been two sticking points. First, the back of the bonds reads (in part), “Authorizing certiying officers include officials and designated employees of financial institutions qualified as savings bond paying agents.” When I have asked and been told that, yes, they do cash EE and certain other type bonds, they argue that the transaction is routed through a customer’s account, and it’s actually some other person in the bowels of the organization that OKs the redemption. Whatever.

The second issue is regarding the place on the back of the bond to the right of the “signature of identifier” line where an “Official Stamp or Seal” is to be placed. All banks I have checked with have said they lack something that small, and they wonder aloud if a notary stamp will do, or explain that their medallion stamp for certifying signatures on stock certificates or other documents is quite large and would not fit on the back of the bond. They demurr signing, saying they don’t want to risk causing me problems in getting a Federal Reserve Bank to redeem my bonds because they’ve improperly filled out the back of the instruments.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

On September 15th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Jim – the stamp for certifying signatues on HH bonds is the same stamp as the one used for any other type of Savings Bond.

Are they telling you that with, for example, EE bonds, the teller doesn’t apply the stamp when the customer signs the Savings Bonds, but that it’s applied by someone else at the bank later?

At any rate, in relation to your situation, my contact at the Treasury says, “This is basically a training issue, as bank personnel in branches rarely see HH bonds, so they often don’t know exactly how to deal with them. In this case, the multiple excuses [instead of calling the Federal Reserve Bank 800# for instructions] make you want to scream.”

You are going to have to call your bank and ask to speak to a manager. Calmly explain your situation and tell the manager that if they can’t figure out how to handle this, you are going use the money from redeeming your HH bonds to open a new account at a bank that can. Then let them decide what they want to do and follow through.

On October 6th, 2007 Joanne said:

Two of my sons were each given a $5,000 HH bond by their great aunt who has since passed away. Each bond lists their name OR their aunts’ name, along with the aunts’ SS#. The bonds were a gift, however, SHE was receiving the interest, by direct deposit, for the last several years and had been receiving a 1099 form under her SS#. We are interested in having both of these bonds cashed. The question is, do our sons have an obligation to pay tax on “deferred interest” that they have never received or are they simply taxed for the face value of the gifted bond? One son is still a minor, the other will be 19.

On October 6th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Joanne – yes, they will have to pay tax on the deferred interest. This interest was earned by the Savings Bonds that were converted into the Series HH bonds. The interest the aunt was receiving, and paying tax on, was earned by the HH bonds themselves.

It’s not quite true that you sons won’t receive the deferred interest – it’s part of the $5,000 they’ll get when they cash the bond. The $5,000 minus the deferred interest is the value of the original investment that they’ve inherited. The rest is interest that taxes have never been paid on.

Tom Adams

On February 9th, 2008 Pat said:

My dad passed away leaving HH bonds in his name and my mom’s. We changed them to her name and mind using OR. She is primary and the bond lists her social security number. We want to redeem them but don’t want to use her social security number due to the fact it will show up as income for her and raise her rent at the senior highrise. How can I redeem and use my social security number? Or do we have to change the bonds again?

On February 9th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Pat – The people who handle HH bonds at the Treasury use a different process than the EE/I bond group. The HH process follows IRS rules exactly and makes it impossible for your mother to get out of having the income reported under her SS number.

Tom Adams

On March 17th, 2008 marcel said:

my question is similar to Jim’s back in Sept. We are trying to get a bank to sign/guarentee the HH bonds, but they don’t know what to do with them. We’ve gone to Wells Fargo and they are not sure if their signature is sufficient. Wells Fargo can serve as a notary public…does that work? If not, where are we supposed to go to get these signed? Is there a list of special places to go?

On March 18th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Marcel – Under the assumption that you are planning to send these bonds in yourself (using the link in the article above), then there’s no reason for the bank to refuse to certify your signature with a medallion stamp.

Notary Public stamps aren’t enough and don’t work. Any bank, savings and loan, or credit union can certify your signature with the required medallion stamp. The list is in your phone book.

If you are trying to get the bonds cashed at the bank, on the other hand, and not just a signature so you can send them in yourself, then banks can refuse to do that.

Tom Adams

On August 9th, 2008 tom ronec said:

It use to be easy to go to a Bank and Cash your Bonds! Now its much harded to do it. And I wont be buying Bonds anymore because of this and the 1.5% Interst Rate you can earn! Bottom line ….. US Bonds, sorry to say, are not a good Investment!

On September 26th, 2008 juanruiz said:

I received an HH bond POD, took it to the bank, and they told me, after calling a US Government number, that the stamp required on the back to authenticate my identity was called a “Gold Medellion Stamp,” which was only possessed by people who sell securities. Luckily my financial advisor has one. Apparently many banks do not.

On September 26th, 2008 juanruiz said:

I forgot to add a question. On the “Deferred Interest” line there is a number. What does that mean?

On September 29th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Juan – Yes, it’s called a medallion stamp, but competent banks have them too.

Deferred Interest: You will receive a 1099-INT tax form reporting this amount as income to you. There’s more info here.

Tom Adams

On December 22nd, 2008 Jamie Scheiber said:

If I have some EE bonds set up in my children’s names (age 8 and 10) and my name is listed as the POD. Can the bonds be cashed in by me or are my children old enough to sign them to cash them in?

On December 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Jamie – your bank may let the children sign them if you ask. If not, as a custodial parent, you can sign for the children. You cannot sign as the POD.

Tom Adams

On January 5th, 2009 Deanna said:

My dad passed away, leaving some HH bonds. What needs to happen for my mom to be able to deal with them, since they are in his name?

On January 6th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Deanna – the bonds need to be included in your father’s estate and dealt with by the probate court. Then your mother can use the probate paperwork to have the name changed on the bonds. If your father’s estate is being settled without any legal administration, then she can use this form.

Tom Adams

On January 10th, 2009 Cindy said:

I need to cash series HH bonds. What is the process? Thanks.

On January 12th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Cindy – The process is explained at the top of this page. Do you have a specific question about something there you don’t understand?

Tom Adams

On March 22nd, 2009 Donna said:

I inherited 30 HH bonds worth $1000 each. They are over 10 years old. Should I cash them all at once or a few each year to save the most amount of money?

On March 23rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Donna – this question seems simple, but it’s quite complicated. My book has several chapters that will help you arrive at the right answer for your situation.

Tom Adams

On May 13th, 2009 Dave Fletcher said:

To pay for my son’s college, in 2007 we cashed in approximately $20,000 of inherited HH bonds that were converted from EE bonds in 2001. The accrued interest was close to $28,000. First, I am not sure how the accrued interest can be more than the face value of the bonds and second, if that is the case, shouldn’t we have received some of the accrued interest–that part that is over the value of the bonds?

On May 13th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Dave – I agree that the accrued interest can’t be more than the face value of the bonds. It has to less than the face value. That’s because the HH bond value includes both the original EE bond investment and the interest the EE bonds earned.

Since I don’t have an answer for you, I suggest you read the other information on this site about HH bonds and see if it helps.

Tom Adams

On May 29th, 2009 Jaime Hunter said:

In 1971 a woman purchased 16 series H bonds that total $15,500. That woman has passed away. I am a lawyer and the guardian of her daughter who has been adjudged incapacitated by the court. The daughter inherited the bonds without a will. I am a lawyer and I need to cash these bonds. I have a decree for the guardianship and I printed the form for direct deposit. I am prepared to go to the bank for a notary. However, how do I reconcile the fact that the mother’s name is on the bond, she has passed, the daughter would like to cash them and we do not have a will saying they were passed onto her.

Your help would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!

On May 31st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Jaime – you won’t be able to cash these for her at a bank, although you’ll need to take some forms to a bank to get your signature, as the fiduciary, guaranteed.

You know the daughter may owe income tax on the interest, right? Don’t spend all the money until you know how much you need for taxes. If you have other clients with Savings Bonds, it would be best for you to spend a few hours reading my book, which will make you an expert.

Meanwhile, take a look at these forms: 1455 and 5336.

Tom Adams

On June 30th, 2009 Mary Higgins said:

I was given series HH bonds as a graduation present. I am not comfortable sending them in the mail, can I just walk into a federal reserve bank to redeem them?

On July 1st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mary – Sorry, Federal Reserve banks don’t handle Savings Bond transactions on a walk-up basis.

HH bonds are a strange graduation present. Is your name actually on the bonds?

Tom Adams

On September 16th, 2009 shirley peterson said:

I recieved HH savings bonds from my husband’s aunt estate POD, is this correct that I will pay taxes on her interest on these bonds she recieved , and I am also to pay estate tax on these also? they were bought in 2000 and I will not be cashing anything for awhile

On September 17th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Shirley – She never paid any income tax on the interest her Savings Bonds received, so the tax has to paid by whoever cashes the bonds. Obviously the taxes are far less than what the bonds are worth, so this isn’t a big deal.

The aunt’s estate owes estate tax, not you. But if the bonds form the major part of her estate, then there may be no other place to get the money to pay the tax. Moreover, since there is unpaid income tax embedded in the bonds, you could end up paying estate tax on the income tax. My book discusses these issues and how to deal with them in detail.

Tom Adams

On October 19th, 2009 Lauren said:

I received HH bonds through an inheritance. the bonds have been reissued in my name and I have sent them in for redemption. What is the usual processing time for them to directly deposit the money into my account? They received them on October 15, 2009. I have been told 7 to 10 days and 2 to 4 weeks, both by different representatives at the Federal Reserve.

On October 20th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Lauren – the standard of service is three weeks from receipt of your paperwork. Sometimes they’re faster and on occasion when a lot of requests come in at once they fail to meet the standard. I think the 2 to 4 week answer you got is a pretty good one.

Tom Adams

On November 23rd, 2009 Kathy Blanchard said:

Our lawfirm represents a trust which inherited five (5) $10,000 HH bonds. There are four trustees of the trust living in different states. There will be a distribution from the trust into the individual beneficiaries names. How do we redeem the bonds? Could all of the beneficiaries sign Direct Deposit Sign Up Forms and then one trustee present the bonds to have his signature guaranteed to redeem the bonds? It would be impossible for all of them the appear together to have their signatures guaranteed.

On November 24th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kathy – When you say the trust “inherited” the bonds, I assume you mean the bonds are registered in the name of the trust? If so, does the registration on the bond name one or more trustees? If so, is OR or AND between their names?

If the bond registration isn’t to the trust or if it doesn’t name a trustee, do the trust documents say that all four trustees have to sign for the trust to take an action?

Tom Adams

On December 28th, 2009 Vince Jordan said:

I am the trustee for an estate that includes large quantities of EE and HH bonds. All bonds have been titled to the trust. I am attempting to execute the Trust and cash in the bonds. Is there a special form to complete? I have checked the Treasurery website and don’t see a form that applies specifically to bonds in a trust. I have the proper paperwork to carry out my duties as Trustee, just not sure where to start with the bonds.

On December 30th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Vince – Bonds registered to a trust are handled using all the same forms as bonds registered to an individual.

Tom Adams

On January 1st, 2010 John said:

I have a few questions about HH savings I recently inherited from my grandmother. The bonds are setup in her name with my name in “or” under hers. These bonds were created from 2002-2004. I am trying to understand how HH bonds work. The amount of the bond is $1,000. It also says $850 deferred interest. How do I go about cashing in these bonds? After reading the posts above I would like some direction on how to cash these in considering it is in my name. Also what will I have to pay per bond of interest if I cash them in? Thanks for your help. -John

On January 2nd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

John – There’s lots of information here on HH bonds. The text at the top of this page tells you how to do what you’re asking. Is there something there that’s not clear?

You will owe income tax on the $850 for each bond you tax. The actual amount of tax depends on how much other income you have. There’s more info on that here.

Tom Adams

On January 2nd, 2010 Larry Johnson said:

My wife,s dad passed away and left her quite a few HH bonds Both of their names are on the bonds. what she would like to do is remove his name( her dads) and add mine. She has sent a few in to be cashed. But doesn’t want to cash them all. My question is what & how does she go about this? are there some forms she can get for a reissues? If so where do we find them? Thanks for any help you can give…. larry E. Johnson

On January 4th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

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

Tom Adams

On January 10th, 2010 Lori Pusa said:

I inherited HH bonds showing deferred interest. If the final return claims the interest shown on the bonds does the reissued bonds then have zero deferred interest. How do I make sure the interest is not claimed twice?

On January 11th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Lori – The technique for putting Savings Bond interest onto the final return of someone who has passed involves a change in the interest reporting options the IRS allows for Savings Bonds. This change is only allowed for Savings Bonds that accrue the interest (e.g. EE and I), not for those that pay it in cash (e.g. HH). So you can’t put the deferred interest from these bonds on the final return.

Tom Adams

On January 20th, 2010 Marlene Creaghten said:

My mother, who is ill and dying, owns $55,000 in HH bonds, issued in 2004. There is approximately $43,000 in deferred interest. My question is-should we cash in the bonds now, prior to her death (assuming she would have to pay tax on the deferred interest) or is it more prudent for tax purposes to delay cashing them in till after her passing? And am I correct in assuming that the estate wold pay the tax on the deferred interest? Thank you.

On January 21st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Marlene – If your mother is still able to go to a bank and get her signature certified and if her tax rate is lower than the tax rate of her heirs, then you should redeem the bonds. The income will appear on her 2010 tax return – the one filed next year. You should hold back what she’ll need to pay the tax and reinvest the rest. These bonds only earn 1.5% anyhow.

Although technically you could have the estate redeem the bonds, typically the bonds are reissued to the heirs, who then cash them and pay the tax. Getting this taken care of now, if possible, is the better choice.

Tom Adams

On January 26th, 2010 Jeannine said:

Grandma passed away, leaving 4 $1000 bonds in the trust name that we wish to redeem. Aunt Pat is now the trustee, with appropriate trust addendum to change the trustee from Grandma to Pat. There is no longer a bank account with the trust’s name, these were discovered after things were closed. Will the Treasury auto-deposit into a personal bank account(Aunt Pat’s)?

Besides sending in the Direct Deposit Sign-up Form, and a copy of the Trust Addendum naming Aunt Pat, do we need to send in a copy of the Death Certificate and a copy of the Trust as well?

On January 27th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Jeannine – You don’t need to send in either the death certificate or a copy of the trust agreement, but do send a contact phone number so that if the direct deposit won’t work (I’m not sure of their rules in this case), they can work out an alternative with you.

Tom Adams

On February 2nd, 2010 Eddy Grove said:

My mother has copies of 4 HH series bonds that bear my late stepfather’s name as well as her name. She would like to find out if they were cashed in at the time of his death (5+ years ago). She doesn’t remember them being cashed in but with everything else that was going on at that time she’s not sure. What would be my first step in helping her with this?

On February 3rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Eddy – Find the serial numbers on the copies she has and have her follow the process here.

Tom Adams

On March 16th, 2010 Lisa Gilliland said:

My father has 4 HH series bonds that matured in January of 2010. Will there be a problem redeeming them in March 2010?

On March 17th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Lisa – From a “problem” standpoint, it makes no difference. But get it done.

Tom Adams

On March 21st, 2010 Brian said:

I’ve sent my HH bonds in to be redeemed. How long does it take the Treasury Department to direct deposit the money?

On March 22nd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Brian – the standard of service is three weeks, but it can take longer if they get slammed by lots of people trying to get through the door at the same time.

Tom Adams

On April 14th, 2010 David Lichtenwalter said:

My son received HH bond for $500 face value from his aunt that passed away in 2005. No one ever did anything about having interest payments sent to him. What happens to interest checks that were not cashed? Will the uncashed payment be paid when the bond is redeemed?

On April 15th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

David – The back interest payments aren’t automatically included when the bond is cashed. You have to specifically ask for them. You can do that as part of the redemption process, however.

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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