Registering an I Bond or EE Bond

How you register an I Bond or EE Bond determines who owns the bond and who can cash it (redeem it).

On this page:

Special note about bonds for education

If you use the money from an I or EE Savings Bond for higher education, you may not have to pay federal 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 I Bonds for Education.

Other notes about bonds

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

A paper bond may have a "Mail to" address. If the person named in the Mail to address is not also named as an 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 can say 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.

The registration for "Two owners" is set up differently for electronic and paper bonds:

  • Electronic bonds – primary owner with secondary owner. Only the first named owner may make transactions (such as redeeming the bond). The first named owner may give the second owner the right to view a bond or rights to view and conduct transactions in a bond.

    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 redeem the bond without the knowledge or approval of the other co-owner.   The registration uses OR between the two co-owners' names.

Registering bonds for a minor (child under 18)

Electronic bond:  If you are the parent or other adult responsible for the 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.

Registering bonds for a person who is not competent

Someone who is not competent to manage his or her own affairs can be named as the owner ONLY if a guardian or similar representative has been appointed for that person.

Registering bonds when an individual or organization has been appointed for the estate of an incompetent person, a minor, or other living person

A form of registration is available for an individual or organization that has been appointed according to state law to act on behalf of the estate of an incompetent person, a minor, or other living person. The entity account manager must be a court-appointed legal guardian who has the authority to act alone with regard to the account, or an employee of the court-appointed organizational legal guardian who has the authority to act alone with regard to the account on behalf of the organization in its role as legal guardian. Registration example: ‘‘John Doe, Legal Guardian of the estate of William Jones.’’ The SSN of the incompetent person, minor, or other living person will be used.