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Person or entity (e.g., a charity or estate) that receives a benefit from something (e.g., a trust, life-insurance policy, or contract). A primary beneficiary receives proceeds from a trust or insurance policy before any other. A contingent beneficiary receives proceeds upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as the death of the primary beneficiary. A direct beneficiary is a third party whom contracting individuals intend to benefit from a contract; an incidental beneficiary benefits without that being the contracting individuals' intention.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on beneficiary, visit Britannica.com.