May Unredeemed Savings Bonds Be Transferred to Heirs of Estate?

 In Estate and Gift Taxes, Probate
savings bonds Pennsylvania inheritance tax

Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash


A decedent has savings bonds unredeemed (final maturity 2030) that have just the decedent’s name only on the bond with no named beneficiary. The total redemption value of the decedent’s bonds will be over $100,000. The decedent’s spouse is still living. Will the savings bonds pass to the decedent’s estate? If so, since the final maturity is 2030, can the estate have the bonds renamed to the living spouse or a child? If this can be done, will a non-spouse recipient be subject to inheritance taxes in Pennsylvania?


To answer your questions:

  1. Yes, if there’s no joint owner on the savings bonds, they will pass to the decedent’s estate.
  2. Yes, the savings bonds may be renamed in the name of whoever will inherit them, according to the decedent’s will, or absent a will, to Pennsylvania’s laws of inheritance or of “intestacy.” In order to have authority to effect this change, the decedent’s estate will have to be probated. Here’s a U.S. Treasury Department explanation of the process and the forms that need to filled out to transfer ownership: 
  3. I don’t practice law in Pennsylvania, but what I was able to find on-line is that spouses do not pay an inheritance tax but that children pay a 4.5% tax on property they inherit from a parent.

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