Content Menu
Death Benefits

Beneficiary Designations

You may designate one or more beneficiaries to receive your TSP account in the event of your death. A beneficiary can be any person, corporation, trust, or legal entity (including a foundation or charity), or your estate. You may choose one or more beneficiaries without regard to the standard order of precedence described below, and may designate one or more contingent beneficiaries in case the first beneficiary(ies) dies before you do. For those with both traditional and Roth balances, beneficiary designations apply to both.

A will, prenuptial agreement, separation agreement, property settlement agreement, or court order is not valid for the disposition of your TSP account. To name a beneficiary or beneficiaries for your account, submit Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary, to the TSP at the address or fax number on the form. A witness is necessary. To be valid, your form must be received by the TSP before your death, and within one year of your having signed it. (Note: That form, and others cited in this section, is available at www.tsp.gov/forms.)

If no valid designation of beneficiary form is on file with the TSP, the standard order of precedence described below will apply.

Distributions and Order of Precedence

If there is a court order against your account when you die, the court order must be resolved before any death benefit payments can be made to beneficiaries. If you had a TSP loan outstanding at the time of death, no payment will be made to any beneficiary until the taxable portion of the outstanding loan has been declared a taxable distribution and closed.

The standard order of precedence if you do not designate a beneficiary is: your widow or widower; if none, to your child or children equally, and descendants of deceased children by representation; if none, to your parents equally or the surviving parent; if none, to the appoint- ed executor or administrator of your estate; if none, to your next of kin who is entitled to your estate under the laws of the state in which you resided at the time of your death.

If there are any changes in your family status (marriage, divorce, birth, death, etc.), you may want to make changes in your beneficiary designation. To change or cancel a previous designation, submit a new Form TSP-3.

For your beneficiaries to receive your account, Form TSP-17, Information Relating to Deceased Participant, must be submitted to the TSP together with a certified copy of your death certificate.

The share of any designated beneficiary who dies before you die will be distributed proportionally among the surviving designated beneficiaries. Your Designation of Beneficiary form will be void if none of the designated beneficiaries is alive at the time of your death. In that case, the standard order of precedence will be followed.

Surviving spouse beneficiaries may keep TSP accounts open as “beneficiary participant accounts” rather than being compelled to take a distribution as with other beneficiaries. Spouse beneficiaries cannot add new money to the accounts or borrow against them. However, they have the same tax advantages and the same fund choice, interfund transfer, beneficiary designation, account transfer, rollover and withdrawal options as other account holders, while being subject to the same required minimum distributions.

A spouse beneficiary also may close an inherited TSP account rather than maintain it as a spouse beneficiary account. A taxable payment made directly to the spouse of a deceased participant is subject to 20 percent mandatory federal income tax withholding unless the beneficiary has the TSP transfer the account directly to an individual retirement account or to an eligible employer plan (see Transferring Your TSP Account in Section 4 of this chapter). A spouse beneficiary further can transfer the proceeds of a beneficiary account into an existing TSP account that is in his or her own name by completing Form TSP-99, Withdrawal Request for Separated and Beneficiary Participants, within certain restrictions as described on that form (a transfer in the other direction is not allowed). It is advisable to call the ThriftLine to speak with a representative for specific instructions on how to use that form for that purpose, and also to consult a tax expert about potential tax implications and other considerations.

Death benefit payments made from a beneficiary account must be paid directly to the surviving spouse’s own beneficiary or beneficiaries. These payments are subject to certain tax restrictions and cannot be transferred or rolled over into an IRA or eligible employer plan.

Non-spouse beneficiaries must take a distribution. A taxable payment is subject to 20 per-cent federal income tax withholding unless the beneficiary requests that the TSP transfer all or part of the payment directly to an “inherited” IRA established to accept such a transfer. Inherited IRAs may provide significant tax benefits because the required distributions from the IRA generally can be spread across the lifetime of the beneficiary. The rules are complicated, and there are restrictions. Check with your tax adviser and IRA provider.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.