Surviving spouse beneficiaries may keep TSP accounts open as “beneficiary participant accounts.” Spouse beneficiaries cannot add new money to the accounts or borrow against them. However, they have the same tax treatment and the same investment, interfund transfer, beneficiary designation, account transfer, rollover and withdrawal options as other account holders, while being subject to the same required minimum distributions. Spouse beneficiaries also may take distributions.
All other beneficiaries must take a distribution.
Distributions generally can be transferred into an individual retirement account to preserve the tax-favored status. The tax rules in this area are complex.