The death of a loved one hurts. It can be quite traumatic and you hardly want to be bothered with dealing with estate matters, which can add hassles to the grief process. But you can't let your grief leave you open to making costly financial mistakes, either. Although each state’s probate laws vary, the representative of the deceased’s estate – usually called the executor – may not simply endorse a savings bond issued in the name of the deceased. The U.S. Treasury requires executors to submit bonds using a specific process for the situation. Naturally, all normal legal requirements must be met – the person endorsing and cashing the bonds must be the legal executor of the estate – and bonds with a survivor named on them become the property of the survivor and can’t be redeemed by the estate’s representative.
Collect the proof of death, either the death certificate itself or a notarized copy of the certificate from the local agency that holds death certificates. The copy must include a legible copy of the issuing agency’s seal. If more than one holder is named on the bond or the deceased is a beneficiary of the bond, the executor must provide proof of death for each party.
Provide legal documentation that the executor is authorized to act as the estate’s representative. This documentation is issued by the probate court to the executor at the beginning of the probate process. If the estate was mistakenly closed, revoking the executor’s representative powers, before it endorsed and redeemed bonds, all survivors should submit a form PD F 5394 to the Treasury, agreeing upon distribution of the bond’s assets.
Complete a form PD F 1455. List each beneficiary of the estate to receive proceeds from the bonds in the space provided, and the bond title and issue number for each bond being redeemed. If beneficiaries formed a tax entity to administer assets with an employer identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service, the executor may direct the Treasury to provide payments to that entity.
Endorse the bonds as executor of the deceased’s estate by signing them on the space provided on the back. This endorsement should be made in the name of the executor, noting that the signee is the executor of the estate of the deceased, who is named on the bond.
Mail the endorsed bond along with all required documentation to the U.S. Department of the Treasury at: Bureau of the Public Debt PO Box 7012 Parkersburg, WV 26106-7012
- To reissue a bond to a survivor rather than redeeming it in the name of the estate, complete a form PD F 4000.
- If more than one person is named as the bond holder, full ownership of the bond reverts to the surviving member, and the deceased’s estate holds no claim on the bond.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.