United States Treasury bonds earn interest for up to 30 years. Because you keep them so long, it's likely that your name may change through marriage before you cash them. Fortunately, cashing bonds issued in your maiden name is as simple as showing identification along with your birth certificate and marriage license. If you go to a bank where they know you well, you may not even need identification.
The U.S. Treasury Department allows banks to cash bonds without photo identification if they know you. If you have an account at a bank and have had it for at least six months, a bank teller can cash the bond for you without a hassle. In order to do so, your signature on the bond must match your signature with the bank. To cash your bond, sign it with your current name rather than your maiden name. The bank teller will then note on the bond paperwork your account number along with the date you opened the account. He will also make a note that your signature is a match, but your name has changed due to marriage.
Your Friend's Bank
If you're new to an area or a certain bank, you may find cashing your bond easier with a friend. If your friend has had a bank account for at least six months and is well known at her bank, she can verify your identity at her bank so you can cash your bond. In this instance, the bank teller will fill out the bond paperwork by recording your friend's name, her relationship to you and the length of time your friend has known you. The teller will again make a note that your current name and the name on the bond are different due to marriage. Note that if the amount of your bond exceeds $1,000, you will need to cash it at your own bank.
If you need to go it alone without a bank official who knows either you or a friend, you will need photo identification, your marriage license and possibly your birth certificate to cash your bond. Only government-issued identification with a photograph will do when cashing a bond, including your driver's license, green card or U.S. passport. The teller may also ask you to present your birth certificate and marriage license to establish both your current and maiden names. You must have a photo identification in addition to these documents, however. Once you've proven your identity, the teller will have you sign the bond using your current name and then compare the signature to the one on your identification. He will then note that your name has changed due to marriage and cash the bond for you.
- Banks accept only Savings Notes, EE, E and I series bonds. If your bond is of any other type, you have to redeem the bond through your district's Federal Reserve Bank Savings Bond Processing Site.
- If you don't have an account at a bank and the bond's value exceeds $1,000, the bank will probably not cash it. You'll have to mail the bond to your district's Federal Reserve Bank Savings Bond Processing Site.