Death of a Savings Bond Owner

This page addresses paper savings bonds.

(Electronic bonds:  If the person who died has an online TreasuryDirect account, contact the Bureau of Fiscal Service directly. We will put a hold on the account and give specific instructions for the situation.)

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

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

How to determine who owns the bond

In this situation This person owns the bond
Only one person is named on the bond and that person dies The bond is part of that person’s estate
Two people are named on the bond and both have died The bond is part of the estate of the person who died last.
Two people are named on the bond and one dies The surviving person becomes the owner as if the survivor had been the only owner from the time the bond was issued. For the tax implications of this situation, see “Who pays taxes and when” further down this page.

If a survivor is named on the bond

  • Series EE and Series I
  • As the survivor, you have three options:

    • Do nothing.
    • Cash (redeem) the bond.
    • Reissue:  Have the bond reissued in the survivor’s name alone.
  • Series HH
  • As the survivor, you have four options:

    • Do nothing. The bond will continue to earn interest until the bond matures. Semi-annual interest payments will be held by our office and paid when the bond is cashed.
    • Cash (redeem) the bond.
    • Reissue: Have the bond reissued in the survivor’s name. The new owner may add a coowner or beneficiary to the bond.
    • Submit a certified copy of the owner’s death certificate, along with FS Form 5396 (download or order). The bond will not be physically reissued, but you will receive future semi-annual interest payments for the security.  (We don’t return a death certificate or other legal evidence.)

Cash (Redeem) a paper bond with a named survivor

Series EE and Series I: Go to a financial institution that pays savings bonds and show adequate identification and any supporting documents that may be required. Before going, it might be helpful to call the financial institution to find out what identification and documents you need.

Series HH: Your local bank is not authorized to cash these bonds, but can help you submit your transaction. See “Cashing Series HH Savings Bonds.”

Reissuing a paper bond with a survivor named on it

Series EE and Series I: These bonds are no longer reissued in paper form. Instead, the bonds are converted to electronic bonds in TreasuryDirect. If you are the survivor, you can convert your bond using SmartExchange.

After it’s converted, the bond will be registered in your name alone.

Series HH: These bonds are still reissued in paper form. See instructions at “Reissuing or Replacing Series HH Savings Bonds.”

If no survivor is named on the bond, and no court is involved

The instructions in this section are for the situation in which no person named on the bond is living and all of the following are true. The estate of the person who died (or who died last if two people are named on the bond)

  • has not been and will not be formally administered through a court
  • has not been and will not be settled under special provisions of state law relating to small estates
  • contains bonds totaling $100,000 or less in redemption value as of the date of death

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

  1. Fill out FS Form 5336 (download or order).
  2. Sign the form in the presence of a certifying official (as explained on the form).
  3. Pack up
    • the bond and completed FS Form 5336
    • proof of death of all deceased people named on the bond (we don’t return a death certificate or other legal evidence)
  4. Mail the package to
  5. For Series EE and Series I bonds For Series HH bonds
    Treasury Retail Securities Services Treasury Retail Securities Services
    PO Box 214 PO Box 2186
    Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214 Minneapolis, MN 55480-2186

If the bonds are being distributed to the persons entitled, rather than paid to the voluntary representative, additional forms may be necessary.

Depending on the transaction requested, additional forms may be necessary.

If a court or state law is involved

Note: If an estate contains Treasury securities (including savings bonds) that total more than $100,000 in redemption value as of the date of death, the estate must be administered by a court.

If a court is involved, you might have one of these situations:

  • the estate is being settled under special provisions of state law
  • the estate is being settled under special provisions of state law a court-appointed representative is in charge of distributing the estate
  • a court-appointed representative was in charge but has been discharged before the bonds are distributed

For more details on handling bonds in these situations, See "Court-Appointed Representatives"

Who pays taxes and when

To understand the tax implications of various situations related to the death of a savings bond owner, consult your tax advisor or these Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publications:

Investment Income and Expenses IRS Publication 550
Your Federal Income Tax IRS Publication 17
Survivors, Executors, and Administrators IRS Publication 559

Notes:

  • A savings bond that has reached final maturity, or is within one month of reaching it, may not be reissued. It may be cashed.
  • Series EE and Series I bonds mature 30 years after their issue date. Series HH bonds reach maturity 20 years after issue.