People sometimes buy savings bonds for minors as a way of helping children save for the future and learn about investing. However, some of these minors end up with legal guardians, such as if they are orphaned or removed by the court from a violent home. In these cases, guardians may want to cash in bonds the child has to meet needs the child has or to further the child's investment education. This is perfectly legal to do but requires proper documentation and endorsement of the bond.
As explained by SavingsBonds.com, only an owner, co-owner or entitled individual has the authority to cash a savings bond. Entitled individuals have been given legal authority that allows them to act on behalf of another person. Entitled individuals include legal guardians, as well as those with power of attorney. Thus, legal guardians of minor children are able to cash in the bonds the minor child has.
What You Need
When you want to cash a child's savings bond, you must prove you have guardianship. The letter from the court indicating your appointment is sufficient. You also must prove that you are the same person indicated in the letter, so you'll need identification documents. For this, your driver's license is fine.
What you must do with the bonds you want to cash in terms of endorsement depends on the mental capacity of the child to understand what the bond is, how it works and the consequences of cashing it out. Some minor children, such as those who are near legal age, are old enough to grasp all this. Many younger children, however, are not. If you are the guardian of a minor child who understands the ins and outs of bonds, have him endorse the bond. If you are the guardian of a child who does not yet hold the capacity to understand bonds, your signature is the only one necessary.
Financial institutions are very careful when it comes to cashing checks, bonds and other items made out to someone else. They do not want to be caught up in instances of fraud. For this reason, the bank will likely require you to prove your relationship to the minor whose bond you want to cash. To minimize the risk that the financial institution turns you away when you try to cash the bond, bring the minor child with you, along with identification for her.
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