Bonds have the wrong Social Security number. What now?


Q. There are bonds in my dad’s name with the wrong Social Security number. He is deceased since 2010. They were purchased in 2002, paid-on-death (POD) to my mom who is 97. Whose Social Security number should we change it to?
— Trying to help

A. We’re going to assume the bonds in question are U.S. savings bonds.

The Social Security number is used only to keep records and does not establish ownership or liability for taxes, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

Therefore, the bonds do not need to be reissued to correct the number, she said.

But you can correct the number by writing a letter to the Treasury Retail Securities Services with the incorrect number, correct number, serial number of the bond, issue date, denomination and the name of the owner and beneficiary, she said.

Whitenack said a beneficiary of a savings bond can do nothing with the bond and redeem it at a later date, redeem the bond or have it reissued in the name of the beneficiary, who can add a co-owner or POD beneficiary.

“In order to have the bond reissued, the owner must submit a certified copy of the death certificate, the bond and Form 4000, Request to Reissue United States Savings Bonds, to a Treasury Department retail securities site,” Whitenack said.

Bonds can also be registered in the name of the trustee of a trust, she said.

“However, Form 1851, Request to Reissue United States Savings Bonds to a Personal Trust,  would be used instead of Form 4000 to accomplish that transfer,” she said.

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This story was originally published on Jan. 6, 2020. 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.