Are EE Savings bonds transferable? Yes, they are. And so are Series I U.S. savings bonds. However, there is due process to be followed, which varies depending on what approach you choose.
Therefore, transferring savings bonds to grandchildren or your godchild is possible. However, first you need to learn the various ways of doing so and their implications. Also, it helps to understand how death affects the ownership transfer process.
How to Transfer U.S. Savings Bonds to Another Person via TreasuryDirect
If your godchild has a TreasuryDirect account, you can easily transfer both EE and I series bonds to them, provided it has been at least five business days since you purchased them. However, you cannot split the U.S. savings bonds. You must transfer each bond in its entirety.
All you need to do is to follow the instructions once you log in to your account and select the “Transfer securities” option. Be sure to have your recipient’s taxpayer identification and TreasuryDirect account numbers as well as their name. However, you must also download and complete FS Form 5511 and have it signed and certified in the presence of an authorized official.
Remember, notary public certification is considered unacceptable in this case. But certification can be done in a financial institution by an authorized official. A corporate seal, medallion or signature guaranteed stamp must be included on the form in the designated areas. Once the form is filled, you should mail it to the addresses included within it for processing.
Alternatively, you could purchase U.S. savings bonds with the intention of gifting them right from the start after the five business days from purchase is over. In such a case, you would not opt for the “Transfer securities” option.
Instead, you would log in to your account and select the Gift Box tab, click on the confirmation number of the savings bond you want to gift your godchild and follow the remaining prompts. Remember, the recipient in this case must also have an account on the platform.
The latter option enables you to gift a savings bond wholly or partially, depending on your preference. Once you ascertain that the information you have entered is correct, you can submit it and print the confirmation message for your financial records.
How to Transfer Paper U.S. Savings Bonds to Another Person
Some of the U.S. savings bonds you may have could be paper bonds. Also, you may not have any custody receipts from purchasing paper bonds in the past. In those cases, you must opt for a bond reissue to transfer ownership electronically later on. In addition, you will have to use FS Form 4239.
The form can be downloaded and printed, or you can request the Treasury Department to mail it to you. The request can be sent to Savbonds@fiscal.treasury.gov or by calling 844-284-2676.
Like Form 5511, Form 4239 must be signed in the presence of an authorized certifying official. It is also the form your beneficiaries or savings bond co-owners can use if you pass on and they need to transfer ownership to themselves.
Assigning a Co-Owner or POD Designee to Your U.S. Savings Bond
If you intend to transfer ownership of your U.S. savings bond upon death, you should consider using a payable-on-death (POD) designation for beneficiaries or designate your godchild as a co-owner.
As a co-owner, your godchild can control what they do with your U.S. savings bond even when you are alive. And they have equal rights to have a say on what happens to the bonds.
However, when you opt for a POD beneficiary designation, your godchild can only access the bonds once you are dead. And in such cases, they are not subject to the probate process. In the meantime, you can change the beneficiaries, add more or remove them altogether.
To reissue savings bonds while transferring ownership, you must fill FS Form 4000 and then change the information in your TreasuryDirect account so it matches the changes in the form. The form has designated sections that allow you to add a co-owner or beneficiary (POD) by including their names. You can also use it to change or remove a beneficiary. Also, you can specify whether you intend to gift them to someone.
In the case of FS Form 4000, you can use either a certifying official or notary public to witness your signatures. And then, you can mail the forms to the address specified within them.
You are liable for the taxes associated with the U.S. savings bonds until the time of transfer. Adding your godchild as a beneficiary is likely to attract taxes, while designating them as a co-owner is not. However, the former option is safer for you because it keeps you in control of your bonds until your death.
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