I Lost My Series I Savings Bond Certificate. What Do I Do?
Just Because You Lost Your Savings Bond Doesn't Mean You're Out of Luck
If you lost your Series I savings bonds or your savings bonds were destroyed, or even stolen, you don't need to panic. All savings bonds are what Wall Street likes to call "registered securities". That means that the United States Treasury records show your name, social security number, and whether or not you have cashed your savings bonds. Thankfully, you can have a replacement bond issued to you with just a little bit of effort on your part.
Reissuing Savings Bonds vs. Replacing Savings Bonds
There is a big difference between replacing lost, mutilated, or destroyed savings bonds and reissuing savings bonds because you want to add a co-owner, beneficiary, remove a divorced spouse from the bonds, etc.
How to Replace Lost, Destroyed, or Damaged Series I Savings Bonds
For Series I savings bonds (as well as series EE bonds) that are lost, destroyed, or stolen, you'll need to file a written claim with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service by filling out FS Form 1048. You'll need to have your signature certified according to the instructions included on the form. Once complete, you then mail it back to the Treasury Retail Securities Site's address; as of June 2016, it was as follows:
Treasury Retail Securities Site
PO Box 214
Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214
Before they can process your claim, it is vital you provide include the following information with your completed FS Form 1048:
1) Bond serial number
2) Date of month and year in which the bond was purchased, your social security number, your full name including middle names and initials, and your mailing address.
(Seriously, though, don't rely on that information because the Government may change its internal procedures. You need to verify that the mailing address is still the one to send your savings bond replacement form.
Please visit TreasuryDirect.gov for more information.)
Within a few weeks, you should receive replacement savings bonds. If you happen to find the lost series I savings bonds after receiving their replacements, they now belong the United States Government and it is imperative that you send them back to the Treasury Retail Securities Site. That's all it takes! A quick trip to get some information notarized, mailed back in to the Government, and viola! New replacement Series I savings bonds show up in the mail.
How to Get Your Savings Bonds Reissued
As I previously mentioned, there is a difference between replacing savings bonds and reissuing savings bonds. There are a handful of situations in which you'll need to have your savings bonds reissued, but others in which you don't. Here is a handy list of guidelines to help you determine if you'll need your savings bonds reissued.
- Situations That Bonds DO NOT Need Reissued
Changes of name after marriage, minor typos in spelling, address changes, and wrong social security numbers. (In case of the latter, the Government will want to have the correct social security number on file for reference and ease of search. You'll need to write a letter to Treasury Retail Securities Site with information including the incorrect and correct social security numbers, and the serial number, issue date, denomination, and the registrants (owner, co-owner, beneficiary) for each bond that requires change. Again, please visit TreasuryDirect.gov for more information.)
- Situations That Bonds DO Need Reissued
Errors in first or last name, major typos or misspellings, a court appointment of a gaurdian or conservator over the living owner of the savings bond, the death of the savings bond owner or owners, changing ownership of the bond to a personal trust estate, changes of name due to divorce or annulment, adding additional owners to the bond, and changing beneficiaries. Each of these situations has their own guidelines to follow and forms to fill out. If any of these events apply to you, I encourage you to visit TreasuryDirect.gov to seek the most up-to-date information regarding reissuing savings bonds.
More About the Series I Savings Bond
You can read our Guide to Investing in Series I Savings Bonds. This will walk you through tons of information about savings bonds, especially the series I savings bond, including how you can add them to your portfolio, annual purchase limits, ownership requirements, tax benefits, and much more.