Personal Finance

Money Matters: How to distribute paper savings bonds of a deceased owner

This column is this last of three concerning the inheritance of paper EE and I Government Savings bonds. Last week’s column concerned distribution of bonds held jointly with the deceased; this column addresses the process of distributing paper bonds registered in the name of the deceased’s trust.

Bonds registered in the name of your parent’s trust will be a bit more challenging for you as successor trustee but as you said “you can see the light at the end of the tunnel” so, a little more paperwork and time is no big deal. If you have numerous bonds registered in the name of both of your parent’s trust, I suggest you label eight envelopes, four with the name of your father’s trust and each child and four with the name of your mother’s trust and each child. Place the bonds to be distributed in the appropriate envelopes. All the forms you will need can be found on the TreasuryDirect web site. As successor trustee you will need to complete Form 1455 twice, once for your father’s trust and once for your mother’s trust. The reason for distribution in Part A will be Trustee Deceased.

In Part B you will complete a section for yourself and your siblings listing the bonds each of you will receive. You and your siblings will each need to complete a Form 4000. This form will request the bonds inherited from the trust to be reissued in electronic form to your individual TreasuryDirect accounts. If you or your siblings are inheriting bonds from either trust that are to be redeemed, you will complete Form 1522. All of these forms require a Medallion signature guarantee; a notary certification is not acceptable. Most financial institutions will be able to accommodate you but you will need to call ahead and make an appointment.

Once you have all of the required forms with the signature guarantees, send them in as a packet along with the paper bonds, certified copies of your parent’s death certificates and the appropriate pages of both trusts. This will usually be the first page, the page naming you as successor trustee, the signature page and the notary page of the trust. As always, a meeting with a tax or financial professional to make sure what action makes sense for you to take in your family situation is recommended.

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