By Laurie A. Siebert, CPA, CFP, AEP
A recent notice to Pennsylvania residents regarding U.S. savings bonds appeared in local publications. The alert informed bond owners of a suit Pennsylvania was filing to take title to abandoned, unclaimed, and matured savings bonds.
Prior to 2002, U.S. savings bonds that were unclaimed or abandoned in Pennsylvania – typically through abandoned safe deposit boxes – were sent back to the U.S. Treasury by its request. The U.S. Treasury, however, made virtually no attempt to locate the holders or to supply Pennsylvania with information to help reunite the savings bonds with their owners. Thus, these bonds were to remain unredeemed in perpetuity. Since 2002, Pennsylvania has retained bonds that have been turned over to the Pennsylvania Treasury. The state wants to take title to these bonds, with the ultimate goal of making the proceeds available to the owners or heirs through the unclaimed property process.
Pennsylvania has gone to great lengths to identify and locate the owners on the bonds retained through the means available to it, including the address that is shown on some of the bonds or using the last known address included with the safe deposit box. More than $840 million of unclaimed funds have been identified.
There are several series of bonds, with some being more familiar:
- H bonds had a final maturity as of Dec. 31, 2009.
- E bonds were first sold in 1941, and all have matured as of June 30, 2010.
- HH bonds, first issued in 1980 through 2004, have a 30-year maturity, so many of those have matured.
- EE bonds were first sold in January 1980 with a 30-year maturity, so many of those have started maturing in 2010.
The Pennsylvania Treasury indicates that many of the bonds that have been unclaimed in the state have a maturity of more than six years ago.
For bonds presumed abandoned, the Pennsylvania Treasury notice is meant to alert bond holders so they can take the appropriate steps to choose to redeem or keep legal title of the bonds.
For more information, refer to the public notice provided in local newspapers or refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury’s unclaimed property website.
Laurie A. Siebert, CPA, CFP, AEP, is an investment adviser representative of Valley National Financial Advisors, and securities are offered through Valley National Investments Inc., member FINRA, SIPC. She is a member of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal Editorial Board, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.