Whose signature is needed to redeem co-owner savings bonds?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
Categorized as: Cashing in US Savings Bonds

Over the years we have purchased Series E/EE bonds. The bonds have been purchased on a co-owner basis with our grandchildren as co-owners. If we redeem them will our minor grandchildren need to sign them as well?

Tom’s response

Either the owner or co-owner of a savings bond can cash it without the signature of the other. You should have no problem cashing them without the signatures of your grandchildren.

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On December 31st, 2006 Linda Skarupa said:

If the bond has two names and there is the word “or” in front of the second name, does that mean we are coowners.

If we are coowners, according to the Federal Reserve 800 #, they told me I needed the second parties signature to reissue the bond and have my husband listed as POD/beneficiary. Is that correct?

Linda Skarupa

On December 31st, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Linda – that is correct. OR between the names means you are co-owners.

A Savings Bond can only have a co-owner or a beneficiary, not both, so to make your husband the beneficiary you’d have to remove the co-owner.

With paper Savings Bonds, removing a co-owner requires the signature of the co-owner. If the co-owner being removed put up the money to buy the bond, removing that person from the registration will create a taxable event for that person – he or she will owe tax on the interest earned by the bond.

If you’re going to create a taxable event anyhow, it can make sense to just cash the bonds and buy new ones, although it depends on how many dollars worth of bonds you have. My book goes into additional detail on this.

On July 10th, 2007 Valene Noland said:

I have some bonds that has my dad’s name first then it says or (my name). Can I cash these without his signature plus whose social security number does it go against. My bank has said if I sign them it will go against mine.

On July 11th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Valene – Yes, you can cash the bonds without your dad’s signature. The 1099-INT will be issued using the Social Security Number of the person who cashes the bonds.

However, the IRS says the taxes are actually owned by the Savings Bond’s “principal owner,” which the IRS defines as the person who put up the money for the bond or who inherited it. Moving the income from one tax payer to another is covered in my book.

Tom Adams

On October 26th, 2009 Lori said:

My grandmother took out two differnet bonds for me when I was young. They are both in my maiden name. Will I still be able to cash them now that I am married?

On October 27th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Lori – yes, you can cash them by providing some evidence on your maiden name, like a birth certificate or marriage license.

Tom Adams

On February 28th, 2010 Rhonda said:

My Mom bought savings bonds for my kids many years ago. Some say her name or my kids names, and some say her name pod my kids names. Does pod mean payable on death? Payable on demand? What difference does it make for cashing them. My oldest is going to college in the fall and we want to get these into her account.

Thank you,

On March 1st, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Rhonda – POD means “payable on death” – those bonds belong to your mother until she dies, not to your kids. More info here.

Tom Adams

On March 17th, 2010 Christine LaRocco said:

My savings bonds were previously stamped by a bank.
I changed my mind about cashing them at the time, but I would like to cash them in now. Can another bank accepted them now for cashing if they are stamped by another financial institution?

On March 18th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Christine – taking them to a bank will be no end of hassle. Why don’t you just send them in as described here.

Tom Adams

On April 22nd, 2010 Matt said:

Hi, my Grandma left me savings bonds and it is about to be my 18th birthday soon, so i was wondering if i need my mother to come with me to the bank to cash my bonds or can i do it my self?

On April 23rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Matt – I’m not sure what you mean by “my Grandma left me” so first let’s establish that your name is on the bonds. If only your grandmother’s name is on the bonds, then this is a lot more complicated.

But if your name appears first on the bonds, or if your name is second with the word OR between the names, then you should have little trouble cashing the bonds.

However, different banks have different rules. Most would allow an 18-year-old with a driver’s license or other state ID to cash a bond, but you might want to call ahead to see what the rules at your bank are.

Tom Adams

On May 5th, 2010 Catherine Johnson said:

i have a savings bond purchased for my goddaughter in 1990. her mother and i had a falling out and she refused to let me give it to her. the girl is now an adult. i may or may not be able to get this to her. i would like to cash it. my ss# is the one listed, but it’s my goddaughter’s name and address as i listed it at the time. can i cash this? will it then go against her taxes or mine or both? what identification will i need if i do cash it?

On May 5th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Catherine – you can’t cash it. Only the person named on the bond can cash it.

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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