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If you purchase I-Bonds with your child registered as a co-owner (yourself being the other co-owner), using the child's soc. sec. number, have you now just made a "gift", where the amount exceeding $10,000 would count against your lifetime estate exclusion?

I'll defer to the more legally astute if they disagree with me, but I'm pretty sure that this would not be a gift unless the child exercises his/her ability to cash in the bond and take the proceeds as their own. If they cash it, the gifting process is completed (i.e. the money has become theirs) and gift tax issues arise. Until then, it is your money simply held in a type of co-ownership for convenience.

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