Court-Appointed Representatives

When a Court is Involved in Settling a Decedent's Estate, or Special Provisions of State Law Relating to Small Estates are Involved.

This page focuses on paper savings bonds.

(Electronic bonds: If the person who died has an online TreasuryDirect account, contact the Bureau of Fiscal Service. We will put a hold on the account and give specific instructions for the situation.)

Note: Individual savings bonds may not be split and must be distributed in full.

On this page:

Small estates and discharged court-appointed representative

  • When an estate is being settled under special provisions of state law relating to small estates, or
  • When eligible people other than the court-appointed representative are disposing of bonds after the court has approved the final account and/or issued a decree of distribution

Court-appointed representative with limited powers

  • When a court-appointed representative has only been granted limited powers to settle the estate

Court-appointed representative with full powers

  • When a court-appointed representative is settling the estate and has full powers to settle the estate

A small estate or a discharged court-appointed representative

An estate might be settled under special provisions of state law relating to small estates. In that case, you might have a small estates affidavit or a similar document. The small estates affidavit might

  • indicate that specific bonds in the estate now belong to specific people, or
  • leave it up to all the people entitled to the bonds to agree among themselves what to do with the bonds

Note:  State laws relating to small estates vary widely. You must find out what the law is in the state where the decedent's estate is being settled.

With any other estate, if a court is involved but the person who was the court-appointed representative is no longer serving in that capacity, you will have a decree of distribution or court-approved final account. That decree or final account may

  • indicate that specific bonds in the estate now belong to specific people, or
  • leave it up to all the people entitled to the bonds to agree among themselves what to do with the bonds

If the affidavit, decree, or other document gives specific bonds to specific people

For paper bonds, each of those people may request payment of their bonds by completing an FS Form 1522 (download or order) listing the bonds to which they are entitled and have their signatures certified. (That means you sign the form in front of an appropriate official at a financial institution.)

Then follow steps 3 and 4 below to pack up and send in the bonds.

If the affidavit, decree, or other document leaves it up to all the people involved

For paper bonds, all the people entitled to a share in the estate must agree on what to do with the bonds. They must then follow these steps:

  1. Fill out FS Form 5394 (download or order).
  2. Sign the form in the presence of a certifying official (as explained on the form).

Then follow Steps 3 and 4 below to pack up and send in the bonds.

Packing up and sending in the bonds

When you have certified signatures, follow these steps:

  1. Pack up
    • the bonds
    • the completed form(s) 5394
    • if you are reissuing Series HH bonds, the new owner must also submit FS Form 5396 (download or order) to receive semi-annual interest payments by direct deposit
    • whichever of the following is relevant to your situation:
      • a notarized copy of the small estates affidavit, or
      • court documents certified to be true and correct by the court clerk or other authorized court official
  1. Mail the package for Series EE or Series I bonds to
    • Treasury Retail Securities Services
      PO Box 214
      Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

      Mail the package for Series HH bonds to

      Treasury Retail Securities Services
      PO Box 2186
      Minneapolis, MN 55480-2186

Court-appointed representative with limited powers

If the court granted the representative only limited powers to distribute or dispose of the estate's property, the representative should write to Treasury Retail Securities Services, explaining the situation as completely as possible and providing a copy of the appointment including a list or brief description of the limited powers. The death certificate should also be included. (We don't return a death certificate or other legal evidence.)

  1. Mail the package for Series EE or Series I bonds to
    • Treasury Retail Securities Services
      PO Box 214
      Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

      Mail the package for Series HH bonds to

      Treasury Retail Securities Services
      PO Box 2186
      Minneapolis, MN 55480-2186

Court-appointed representative with full powers

If the court granted the representative full powers, the court-appointed representative may

  • cash savings bonds that are the property of that estate, or
  • distribute the savings bonds, allowing the people who are entitled to each bond to request that the bond be reissued or cashed

Cashing the bonds at your local bank

To cash (redeem) paper EE or I bonds in an estate as the court-appointed representative, you must sign the request for payment on the back of the bonds with an indication of your role. Banks cannot cash Series HH bonds, so you will need to send them to our office. See the section "If your local bank will not cash the bonds" for instructions.

For example, if you are the executor of the estate, you would sign the back of the bond this way: "[Your name], executor of the will of [name of bond owner who died], deceased."

(If the court-appointed representative of an estate is requesting redemption of savings bonds that are part of the deceased bond owner's estate, local financial institutions that are savings bond paying agents have the authority to cash the bonds.  However, a paying agent is not required to honor the court-appointed representative's request, and if an agent chooses not to cash the bonds, the representative can send in the bonds as indicated below.)

When cashing the bonds, you must present proof both of the death(s) of the people named in the registrations on the bonds and proof of your appointment.

Note:  Newspaper and funeral home announcements are not valid proof of death.

For valid proof, you must present:

  • A copy of the death certificate(s) certified by the office or official that has the original death certificate(s). The office's or official's seal should be visible.
  • Evidence that the court appointed you as the estate's representative. The copy of the court document has to be certified to be true and correct by the clerk of the court and include the clerk's statement that the appointment is still in full force and effect. The clerk's statement must be dated no more than 12 months before you cash the bonds. (We don't return a death certificate or other legal evidence.)

If your local bank will not cash the bonds:

  • Fill out FS Form 1522 (download or order).
  • Sign the form (indicating you are the estate’s court-appointed representative) in the presence of and certified by a certifying official (as explained on the form).
  • Pack up:
    • the bonds
    • the completed FS Form 1522
    • any applicable death certificate(s)
    • evidence of court appointment
      (We don't return a death certificate or other legal evidence.)
  • Mail a package for EE or I bonds to

    Treasury Retail Securities Services
    PO Box 214
    Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

    Mail a package for HH bonds to

    Treasury Retail Securities Services
    PO Box 2186
    Minneapolis, MN 55480-2186

Distributing the bonds

To distribute the paper bonds in an estate (distribute specific bonds to specific people), as the court-appointed representative, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out FS Form 1455 (download or order), indicating how you want the bonds to be distributed among the people who are entitled to the estate's bonds. Individual bonds must be distributed in their entirety; they cannot be split.
  2. Sign the form (indicating you are the estate's court-appointed representative) in the presence of, and have your signature certified by, a certifying official (as explained on the form).
  3. Have the people who are entitled to the bonds indicate what they want to do with their bonds.
    • Cash (Redeem): The person who is entitled to the bond must complete and sign the FS Form 1522 (download or order) and have the signature certified (guaranteed).
    • Reissue: The person who is entitled to the bond must fill out FS Form 4000 (download or order) and have the signature on that form certified.
      • For EE bonds, the person entitled must complete Parts A and C of FS Form 4000 and open a TreasuryDirect account. The bond will be issued in electronic form in the person’s name alone.
      • For HH bonds, the new owner must complete Parts B and C of FS Form 4000 and the new owner must submit FS Form 5396 (download or order) to receive semi-annual interest payments by direct deposit
  1. Pack up
    • The bonds
    • All of the forms
    • A copy of the death certificate(s) certified by the office or official that has the original death certificate. The office's or official's seal should be visible.
    • Evidence that the court appointed you as the estate's representative. The copy of the court document has to be certified to be true and correct by the clerk of the court and include the clerk's statement that the appointment is still in full force and effect. The clerk's statement must be dated no more than 12 months before you send in the bonds.
      (We don't return a death certificate or other legal evidence.)
  1. Mail a package for EE or I bonds to

    • Treasury Retail Securities Services
      PO Box 214
      Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

      Mail a package for HH bonds to

      Treasury Retail Securities Services
      PO Box 2186
      Minneapolis, MN 55480-2186