The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which stopped issuing new Series HH savings bonds in September 2004, reissues bonds when ownership changes. If you have a paper bond certificate, prepare for some tedious paperwork. You can report certain changes that do not require the Treasury Department to reissue the bond, such as a name change due to marriage or a minor misspelling, an address change or the wrong Social Security number.
The TreasuryDirect website provides links to printable forms that you are required to complete in order to change bond ownership. The Treasury Department also requires you to fill out a new Form W-9 certifying that your Social Security number is correct. Page 5 of the instructions for Form PD F 1851E explains that if you bought the bond in October 1989 or thereafter you must provide direct deposit information when you transfer the bond to a personal trust. Most forms must be signed at a financial institution in front of an official who can identify you. The Treasury Department does not reissue bonds that are within one month of maturity.
If your bond is electronically registered rather than issued on paper, you can cut through the red tape by contacting the Bureau of Public Debt. See the contacts page of the TreasuryDirect website.
You may trigger tax consequences when you request that an HH bond be reissued. The TreasuryDirect website provides guidance.
Death of Owner or Co-owner
The TreasuryDirect website notes that you can "have the bond reissued in the survivor’s name alone or with another living person" by completing Form PD F 4000. Print the completed form if you used the online version. After an official certifies your signature, mail the form, the bond and a certified copy of the death certificate to the Treasury Retail Securities Site.
If a bond is worth $100,000 or less, it names no survivor and no court is involved, you must fill out Form PD F 5336. Mail the form, the bond and a copy of the death certificate to the Bureau of the Public Debt.
For larger bond amounts or cases involving courts, follow the instructions for court-appointed representatives laid out at the TreasuryDirect website.
Changing Living Owner or Co-owner
If you decide to move ownership to a personal trust estate, fill out Form PD F 1851. Use Form PD F 4000 instead if your reason for the change includes adding a new co-owner, changing a beneficiary to a co-owner, a name change due to divorce, annulment or court order, naming a new owner or co-owner or removing a co-owner.
If you want to correct a major error on the bond, such as a missing name or a major misspelling, fill out and return Form PD F 4000. You also use this form if you wish to add, remove or file a name change for the bond beneficiary.
If a court appoints a conservator for the estate of a living owner or co-owner, complete and return Form 1455. Courts may order a conservator if, for example, the bond owner(s) are incompetent, minors or missing.
Based in Greenville SC, Eric Bank has been writing business-related articles since 1985. He holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University. You can see samples of his work at ericbank.com.