• TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary
Should you complete a Designation of Beneficiary Form?
If you want to leave your money according to the statutory order of precedence, there's no need to send the TSP Designation of Beneficiary form. Complete and send it only if you want to leave your account to other beneficiaries or to divide it in a manner that's different from the order of precedence.
Do You Have Traditional and Roth Money?
Your beneficiary designation applies to your entire account. If you have both traditional and Roth balances, you cannot make a separate beneficiary designation for each.

How The TSP Distributes Death Benefits

In the event of your death, the funds in your beneficiary participant account cannot remain in the TSP. Your account will have to be distributed to the beneficiary(ies) you indicate on Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary, or, if no form is on file with the TSP, according to the order of precedence described below:

  • To your spouse;
  • If none, to your child or children equally, and to descendants of deceased children by representation;
  • If none, to your parents equally or the surviving parent;
  • If none, to the appointed 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.

For this order of precedence, a child includes a natural child or an adopted child, but does not include a stepchild who has not been adopted. A parent does not include a stepparent, unless your stepparent has adopted you. "By representation" means that if your child predeceases you, his or her share will be divided equally among his or her children.

A will or any other document is not valid for the disposition of your beneficiary participant account. It is not a substitute for a Designation of Beneficiary form.

If you submit a withdrawal form requesting an annuity and you die before the annuity payments begin, the amount used to purchase the annuity will be returned to the TSP. The TSP will, if possible, distribute this money consistent with your annuity beneficiary designation.

Designating a Beneficiary

If you wish, you can designate a person or persons, your estate, a charitable organization, a trust, or another legal entity to receive your beneficiary participant account after your death. To designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries, you must use Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary. A copy of the form was included with your welcome letter. It is also on the TSP website under Forms & Publications.

Your completed form must be received by the TSP on or before the date of your death.

Reviewing Your Beneficiaries

By law, the TSP must pay your properly designated beneficiary under all circumstances. Therefore, if your life situation changes, you may want to file a new Designation of Beneficiary form that cancels or changes your current beneficiary designation.

When you make a beneficiary designation for your beneficiary participant account, you will receive a confirmation of your primary designation(s) in the mail. Alternatively, if your designation cannot be processed, you will be notified by the TSP.