Swap out Those Long-Lost Savings Bonds

Dear Dr. Don,My three daughters had received several series EE savings bonds in the amount of $100 each 28 years ago. However, the savings bonds have been lost or misplaced after many moves. Is there a possibility of getting replacements for the lost bonds?-- Frances Forgotten

Dear Frances,The Treasury Department keeps tabs on who owns its savings bonds. You can have the bonds replaced. On the TreasuryDirect website, the section on replacing or reissuing EE or I bonds is a great place to start. There you'll learn that to get your daughters' bonds replaced, they'll have to fill out Form PD F 1048, which is available for download on the TreasuryDirect page about ordering forms for savings bonds.

You can get a quick read on the value of the bonds by using the Web page on calculating the value of your paper savings bond(s), also on the TreasuryDirect site. I guesstimated the value of these 28-year-old Series EE savings bonds at $205 to $260 for every $100 in face value. The interest earnings are subject to tax at redemption or maturity.

If the savings bonds were issued 28 years ago, they only have two more years before they mature and stop earning interest. That's a good reason for your daughters to get going and get these bonds reissued.

Finally, and also from the section on replacing or reissuing EE or I bonds on the TreasuryDirect site, there is this warning:

"Once you receive replacement bonds or payment for lost bonds, the original bonds belong to the U.S. government. If you find bonds after receiving replacements or payment for them, please return them to us! Replacement bonds will show the original issue date."

So, if the original bonds ever do show up, they don't have any cash value.