The best way to redeem savings bonds

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Q. I own 155 $1,000 Series EE savings bonds — paper copies — and three beneficiaries are named among them. Can the beneficiaries cash the bonds at banks of their choosing or do they need to deal with Treasury Direct? All three beneficiaries would possess copies of my death certificate.
— Planning ahead

A. It’s great that you want to leave something to your heirs.

But all those savings bonds will require some elbow grease to cash.

In practice, most banks will help redeem your bonds, said Brian Power, a certified financial planner with Gateway Advisory, LLC in Westfield.

But, he said, many banks won’t want to deal with redeeming 155 different bonds. He said your heirs would most likely be going to Treasury Direct.

Also consider whether you want to keep these bonds, Power said.

“If leaving your bonds to your heirs is a tax strategy, there is no income tax savings by leaving your bonds to your heirs at death versus cashing in your bonds over time prior to your death,” he said. “Your estate would ultimately have to pay the income tax.”

He recommends you work out a strategy to cash in your bonds prior to your death because “leaving savings bonds to your heirs at death can be a real pain to deal with.”

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This post was first published in December 2017. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.