If your aunt was listed as a co-owner on the savings bonds, and not just the purchaser, then she owns the bonds and can use the Certificate of Identity form to prove her ownership and redeem the bonds. I'm assuming this isn't the case, and your father was the sole owner of the savings bonds. Who inherits the bonds depends first on whether your father had a will. If not, then it depends on the applicable state law concerning people who die without a will, called dying "intestate."
If your father's estate was formally administered and subsequently closed, then an Agreement And Request For Disposition Of A Decedent's Treasury Securities needs to be completed. This form also can be downloaded at SavingsBonds.gov.
If his estate was not formally administered through a court, then payment of the bonds should be requested via the form Disposition Of Treasury Securities Belonging To A Decedent's Estate Being Settled Without Administration.
The bonds, the completed forms and proof of death of all the deceased registrants should be sent to the Treasury Retail Securities office at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
It would be a good idea to download the Savings Bond Wizard and input the individual bonds, creating a listing of the portfolio. A $50 face value Series EE savings bond bought in February of 1980 is now worth $165.74, with $140.74 of that being earned interest. That bond matured in February of 2010.
If the income tax due on the annual interest earnings was deferred until maturity, there's going to be a tax impact when the person who inherits the bonds cashes them in. Because it's been less than three years since the bonds matured, it's possible for the bonds' new owner to file an amended tax return for 2010. I suggest that the owner get professional tax advice on this matter.
I've had readers write in to mention that there are times when the process of cashing in savings bonds can be both time-consuming and expensive. You have several hoops to jump through to get to the point where you can redeem your father's savings bonds, and you'll have a tax bill to pay, too.
You didn't volunteer any information about the face amount of the bonds. You'll have to decide if the trouble is worth it if you are indeed the new owner and there are just one or two $50 face-value Series EE bonds.
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