2 deaths cause savings bond confusion

Don Taylorq_v2.gifDear Dr. Don,
My mother died and left everything to my brother and myself. My mother had savings bonds that had her name and her father's name on them. My mother died first and two weeks later her father died. Their names were the only names on the bonds. So what do we do now?
-- Susan Savings

a_v2.gifDear Susan,
If your mom died first, then it's her dad's estate that controls the disposition of the bonds, not your mom's estate. That's because, as co-owners, her father became sole owner when your mom died.

From the TreasuryDirect Web page "Death of a Savings Bond Owner":

"If both people named on a bond are deceased, the bond is the property of the estate of the person who died last."

The same Web page describes what you need to do when no survivor is named on the bond. It depends, in part, on the dollar value of the bonds and whether your grandfather's estate had a court-appointed representative, or if that representative has already been discharged by the court.

You didn't tell me how long ago your mother and grandfather died, or whether your grandfather had a will or died intestate (without a will). If he died without a will, state laws of intestacy will determine how his estate is distributed to his heirs. If he had a will, that document will determine what happens to the savings bonds.

Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this Web site, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this Web site is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use.

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask the Experts" page, and select one of these topics: "Financing a home," "Saving & Investing" or "Money." Read more Dr. Don columns for additional personal finance advice.

News alert Create a news alert for "savings"


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Delivered weekly.

Ask Dr. Don

How often to compound interest?

Dear Dr. Don, Is it better to have interest compounded on your money daily, monthly or quarterly? Which gives you the most for your money invested? Thanks, -- Jan Juxtapose Dear Jan, With all else being equal, the more... Read more

Partner Center

Connect with us