It was common years ago for family members to give savings bonds as gifts to children to help build a college fund or prepare financially for adulthood. Additionally, children in the 1950s to 1970s purchased $25 savings bonds through their schools. Working people purchased savings bonds as a way to save money for retirement. You may have lost these paper bonds over the years. You can locate lost U.S. Treasury bonds even if you only have minimal information about them. There are two ways to locate the bonds, depending on when you purchased them.
List information that you have on each missing Treasury bond. Include the denomination of the bond, purchaser’s name(s), Social Security number, approximate date when purchased, the name as it appears on the bond (and/or "in trust for") if it was purchased by one person as a gift and, if possible, the series (E, EE, I, etc.) and serial number.
Obtain original or certified photocopies of any required supporting documentation. The necessary paperwork varies depending on whether the purchaser is also the owner, if the bond was a gift or if the purchaser is deceased. You will find the current required documentation on the US Treasury website.
Download and print Form PD-F-1048 to request replacement of your lost bonds. Then download any supplemental forms that you may need, such as when the owner died. Alternately, if you do not have a printer, you can request that the forms be mailed to you (same link).
Search the Treasury Hunt database (see References) if you have series E bonds that you bought in 1974 or later. The database is not a complete record, but it may help you to locate enough pertinent information to complete the forms, especially if you are the executor of an estate and have limited financial paperwork.
Complete the forms but do not sign them. Your signature needs to be witnessed by a certifying officer, not a notary public. As explained on Form PD-F-1048, “Authorized certifying officers are available at most financial institutions, including credit unions, in the United States.” Take identification with you when you go to the bank.
Mail the forms to the U.S. Treasury. You may want to send them by registered mail since they contain sensitive financial information. You can request a signed receipt by the person receiving the forms at the U.S. Treasury. The information may be helpful if you do not get a timely response and need to prove delivery.
If you are interested in the history of the U.S. savings bond program, which included war bonds, check out the link in Resources.
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