What Should I Do about a Lost Savings Bond?

K. Kinsella
K. Kinsella
Lost savings bonds can be replaced through a claim process.
Lost savings bonds can be replaced through a claim process.

Savings bonds are loan agreements or debt instruments issued by government agencies or banks. Typically, investors have to surrender these instruments at the end of the contract term in order to receive a return of principal plus the accrued interest. In situations involving a lost savings bond, a bondholder may have to go through a lengthy claims process in order to redeem the instrument. On some occasions, the investor may have to file this claim with the regional or national government rather than the entity that issued the bond.

Bonds issued by government agencies often have term times that last for up to 30 years and over the course of time, many investors lose their paper copy of the debt agreement. Consequently, many national and municipal governments issue lost savings bond forms and people can request either a cash refund or a new copy of the bond by filling out one of these documents. The information required on these forms includes the bondholder's name, date of birth, physical address and government insurance or identity number. Additionally, some bonds are sold at par value while others are issued at a discount price. Therefore, the bondholder must include both the face value of the bond and the original purchase price on the lost savings bond form.

Aside from the actual claim form, many entities also require evidence of the claimant's identity and this may take the form of a copy of a drivers license or passport. If the original purchaser dies, then someone named as the pay-on-death beneficiary may be able to have a bond reissued after completing this paperwork. In such instances, the claimant may have to submit a copy of the original owner's death certificate along with the other paperwork.

Someone trying to reclaim a lost savings bond that was issued by a bank may also have to complete a claim form. It often takes less time to get a refund or a new bond from a bank than from a government, because banks typically maintain customer information on file which means that an account holder can more quickly substantiate his or her identity. In such instances, the bank may place a stop payment on the original debt instrument and provide the client with a new bond.

Laws in some nations require abandoned funds and securities to be surrendered to an unclaimed property fund. If a bond reaches its maturity date, then the issuing entity may surrender the redemption proceeds to the state if the bondholder fails to redeem the money within a specific period of time. This sometimes happens when a bondholder loses the debt certificate and fails to file a claim with the issuer. In these situations, bondholders usually have the opportunity to file a claim with the government's unclaimed property division although the window of opportunity to reclaim the money may be limited.

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    • Lost savings bonds can be replaced through a claim process.
      By: K. Geijer
      Lost savings bonds can be replaced through a claim process.