Savings bonds aren’t as popular as they used to be. However, if you’re old enough to have received them as gifts from parents or grandparents or you inherited theirs, you could have some highly valuable assets.
As you’re working on your estate plan, it’s crucial not to forget about any savings bonds you may have. Although savings bonds are only available electronically now, you likely have the paper ones that were around for many decades. It’s important to find those. Many people tuck them into their safe deposit boxes and forget about them.
Should you redeem them?
If they’ve matured, they’re no longer accumulating interest, so you may as well cash them in and put them in an account where they will earn interest. Of course, if you have a pile of matured savings bonds, you might choose to pay off your mortgage or your kids’ student loans. It’s up to you.
You’ll need to cash in bonds through the TreasuryDirect.gov website. Banks typically don’t deal with them any longer.
Titling your bonds for easier inheritance
If you have bonds that haven’t yet matured, you can make it easier on the beneficiaries to whom you’re leaving them by getting them reissued in your name along with the name of a joint owner or beneficiary. If you choose to name someone a joint owner, you can give the bonds to them at any time.
Make sure that your bonds can be located
Whether you choose to leave your paper bonds in your safe deposit box or safe, or you convert them on TreasuryDirect.gov to electronic bonds, it’s crucial to let your executor know where they are and how to access them after you’re gone.
Of course, there are other options for including your savings bonds in your estate plan, such as adding them to your other assets in a revocable living trust. The more you know about savings bonds and estate planning, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right decisions about how to deal with these potentially valuable assets.