How to Cash Out Savings Bonds for Kids

••• Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

A bond is a promissory note a company gives to an investor who has provided a loan. The company uses the money loaned to finance general operations and projects. In return, you get the money you loaned to the company back, plus interest. If you are the owner of the bond, cashing out the bond just requires you to present proper identification and endorse the bond note. If the bond belongs to a minor child, however, the process to cash it is a little more complicated and requires additional documentation.

Check the maturity date on the bond. If the bond has not reached maturity, you still may cash the bond, but you'll lose some of the value of the bond as a penalty. It may not be in your child's best interest to cash the bond until it matures for this reason.

Obtain verification you are the parent or legal guardian of the minor child who technically owns the bond. A copy of the child's birth certificate usually is sufficient, but court documents also may help, depending on your situation. Also, gather supporting identification documents such as you or the child's driver's license or passport. If you or your child has held an account at the cashing institution for at least six months, the account may stand as verification of ID. If the bond was provided to the child as part of an inheritance from someone who passed away, you'll need a copy of the death certificate and will from the coroner and estate executor to show that the child has become the rightful owner of the bond. Documentation requirements vary by cashing institution, so ask the agency what it requires before moving forward.

Ask yourself if the child is of sufficient mental capacity to understand what cashing in a savings bond means. If the child is old enough to understand how bonds work and the implications of cashing them out, have her endorse the back of the bond. If the child is not capable of understanding the bond-cashing process, on the back of the bond, write the following:

"I certify that I am the parent [or guardian] of [child's name] with whom [child's name] resides (or to whom legal custody has been granted). She is [x] years old and is not of sufficient understanding to make this request. -- [Your name] on behalf of [child's name]"

Take the bond to the institution you wish to have cash it. Endorse the bond, if you have not already done so as outlined in Step 2. Present the bond to the institution's representative along with all your supporting documentation and indicate you'd like to cash the bond.