Registering an EE Bond or I Bond

How you register a Series EE savings bond or Series I savings bond determines who owns the bond and who can cash it (redeem it).

On this page:

Special note about bonds for education

If you take the money from an EE or I savings bond and use the money for higher education, you may not have to pay federal income tax on the interest the bond has earned.

If you plan to use the bonds for education, you must be at least 24 years old on the first day of the month in which you bought the bonds. You must also register the bonds correctly.

To use a bond for your own higher education

You must be the owner of the bond.

To use the bond for your child's higher education

You and/or your spouse must own the bond. The child may be a beneficiary of the bond but may not be a co-owner.

For information on other qualifications and restrictions on using bonds for higher education:  Using EE Bonds for Education.

Other notes about bonds

This page is for individuals. Information for entities, such as trusts, estates, corporations, and partnerships, is at Learn More About Entity Types.

A paper bond may have a "Mail to" address. If the person named in that address is not also registered as an owner, a co-owner, or beneficiary, that person has no ownership or beneficiary rights.

Registering bonds for adults

Individuals can register bonds three ways:

One owner
Electronic:  sole owner
Paper:  single ownership

Only one person is named as owner. Only that person may make transactions (such as redeeming – cashing in – the bond). If that person dies, the bond becomes part of that person's estate.

Owner and beneficiary

During the owner's lifetime, only the owner may make transactions (such as redeeming the bond). When the owner dies, if the beneficiary is alive, the beneficiary becomes the sole owner of the bond.

The beneficiary cannot be an organization.

On a paper bond with an owner and a beneficiary, the registration says P.O.D., which means "payable on death."

Two owners

When a bond has two owners and one dies, the other becomes the sole owner of the bond.

Note: The co-owner cannot be an organization.

"Two owners" are set up differently for electronic and paper bonds:

  • Electronic bonds – primary owner with secondary owner. Only the first named owner (the primary owner) may make transactions (such as redeeming the bond).  The primary owner can authorize the secondary owner to conduct transactions.

    The registration reads: First Owner WITH Second Owner. For example, Mary Smith SSN 987-654-321 WITH John Smith SSN 123-456-789.
  • Paper bonds – co-owners. Either owner may make transactions (such as redeeming the bond) without the knowledge or approval of the other owner.

Registering bonds for a minor (child under 18)

Electronic bond:  If you are the parent or other adult responsible for a minor's support, you can register a bond for that minor. You do that by setting up an account for the minor that is linked to your TreasuryDirect account. The only way to get to the minor's account is through your main TreasuryDirect account. Learn More About Linked Accounts.

Paper bond:  An adult can buy a paper bond for a minor. This is done through the Tax-Time Bond Program, which allows you to purchase paper Series I bonds using proceeds from your federal tax return. If you don't know the minor's Social Security Number, you must give yours. However, you will not have income tax liability for a bond that you give to a minor as long as the bond does not bear your name.

Registering bonds for a person who is not competent

Someone who is not competent to manage his or her own financial affairs can be named as the owner, co-owner, or beneficiary of savings bonds ONLY if a guardian or similar representative has been appointed for that person.

If the incompetent person's money is used to buy the savings bond, no one else can be named as owner, co-owner, or beneficiary. The savings bond registration must include the name of the guardian or similar representative with an appropriate reference to the guardianship or similar legal relationship.