Aug. 25, 2012 10:53 p.m. ET
Q: I own some Series EE savings bonds. How do I cash them in? They're all in paper form.
A: "The best approach" is to get in touch with a financial institution where you have an account that has been open for at least six months, says a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt.
Ask if the institution redeems U.S. savings bonds. Also, state whether you are the owner or co-owner of the bonds, and ask about any identification and other documents that might be required, she says.
"If you're not named on the bonds as owner or co-owner, let the institution know about the basis for your eligibility or entitlement to redeem the bonds," the spokeswoman adds. "Generally, you'll find that it is helpful if you contact the institution before you go there."
Whether or not you're thinking about cashing in any of your savings bonds, take a moment to see if they're still
earning interest. The Treasury says billions of dollars of savings bonds held by investors have "matured" and have stopped earning any interest.
"If so, it's time to cash them in, or reinvest them, and have your money start working for you again," a Treasury website says. Many people could use that money to pay down expensive credit-card debt.
To find out the status of your bonds, go to the Treasury website (treasurydirect.gov ) and look under "Individuals." Click on "Find out whether your Treasury securities are still earning interest."
That will take you to a page showing which bonds no longer earn interest. Among them: Series EE bonds issued from January 1980 through August 1982.
The site also has a savings-bond calculator to tell you how much your bonds are worth.
For general information, you also can call 800-553-2663.
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Category: Personal Finance