On July 13, 2011, the U.S. Treasury announced that they will no longer sell paper–based savings bonds after 2011—starting in 2012, U.S. savings bonds will only be sold digitally. Existing paper savings bonds can still be redeemed at financial institutions. But, for new savings bond purchases, it means that, starting in 2012, you must have access to the Internet to open a TreasuryDirect account and to buy/sell U.S. savings bonds.
According to the press release, the Treasury has been selling U.S. savings bonds electroncially since 2002, but according to a USA Today article, only 11% of U.S. savings bond sales in the past year have been electronic puchases.
For personal representatives (executors), trustees, guardians, and conservators, this is another reminder of the need to look beyond the paper records of a deceased or incapacitated person. The press release mentions that the move to using digital U.S. savings bonds is an advantage because “Investors will no longer have to worry about misplacing, losing or storing paper savings bonds.” But, how will the investor’s fiduciaries and family members know that the investor owned any digital U.S. savings bonds? This is another reminder of the need to keep track of yet another important online account and password so that fiduciaries and family members can find and access the person’s valuable or significant property.