When two people co-own a Series EE savings bond, and one of them pases away, ownership passes to the surviving owner. If both owners have passed away, ownership passes to the estate of the co-owner who lived the longest. If you have come across some EE bonds in your parents' effects, and you are the heir, you can apply to have the bonds transferred to your name.
Fill out the appropriate form for the Treasury Department. If the bonds are worth less than $100,000 and there is no court administrator appointed to the estate, the form is the PD F 5336. If there are creditors involved, they will fill out form PD F 1050, and they may get their money before it goes to the estate. If the bonds are worth more than $100,000, a court administrator is required, which means either form PD F 5394 or PD F 1455 will apply (see Resources).
Get a certified copy of the relevant small estates affidavit or court order if the estate in question required court administration. Depending on the nature of the estate, you may need to have the affidavit notarized.
Mail the bonds, death certificates for the co-owners, the proper Treasury Department form, and any required copies of court orders and/or affidavits to:
Bureau of the Public Debt
P.O. Box 7012
Parkersburg, WV, 26106-7012
Sign the backs of the bonds, once they have been transferred into your name and have reached maturity. EE bonds are eligible for redemption after 12 months, but if you redeem them before they have reached five years since issue, there is a penalty of three months' accrued interest up to that point in time. You can redeem them online, at the TreasuryDirect website (see Resources), or you can redeem them at most banks with a driver's license or other government-issued photo identification.
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