When it comes to death benefits for federal benefit programs, many people fill out the forms and then don’t think too much about it after that. Financial retirement experts recommend that those that will be retiring soon should make it a priority to go over the beneficiary forms to ensure that everything is set up the way they want it.
People must be aware and keep in mind that estate documents or wills normally do not take precedence over these beneficiary forms. There are situations where the government pays it the benefits to the beneficiary listed on the forms instead of the person that the benefit holder had to wish it would go to. There have been many cases that prove this to be true.
So be sure to review and update the beneficiary section when necessary after life events such as marriage, divorce, a child, or death, etc.
You might need to submit a new designation to replace a prior one. The forms are:
TSP 3 – Designation of Beneficiary – TSP
SF 1152 – Designation of Beneficiary – Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Civilian Employee
SF 2808 – Designation of Beneficiary – CSRS
SF 2823 – Designation of Beneficiary – FEGLI
SF 3102 – Designation of Beneficiary – FERS
You can find these forms online from the Office of Personnel Management webpage and the Thrift Savings Plan webpage. You should also be able to grab these forms from HR.
If there is no beneficiary listed, the beneficiaries will go to your spouse. Your child or children equally, then your parents equally or the full amount if there is only one parent, then the executor of your estate, and after that, under the laws of the state you live in, you next of kin.
If there is a deceased child, their child or children would receive the benefits.
You don’t have to put in a designation form of that order that works for you. However, it is always in your best interest to ensure that your benefits would go for the people you want them to go to.