Definition of beneficiary
1 : a person or thing that receives help or an advantage from something : one that benefits from something <the main beneficiaries of these economic reforms>
2a law : the person designated to receive the income of an estate that is subject to a trust (see 1trust 3a)b : the person named (as in an insurance policy) to receive proceeds or benefits (see 1benefit 3b) <named her husband as the sole beneficiary of her life insurance policy>
Examples of beneficiary in a sentence
The college was a beneficiary of the private grant.
Did You Know?
Beneficiary is often used in connection with life insurance, but it shows up in many other contexts as well. A college may be the beneficiary of a private donation. Your uncle's will may make a church his sole beneficiary, in which case all his money and property will go to it when he dies. A "third-party beneficiary" of a contract is a person (often a child) who the people signing the contract (which is usually an insurance policy or an employee-benefit plan) want to benefit from it. In a more general way, a small business may be a beneficiary of changes to the tax code, or a restaurant may be the beneficiary when the one across the street closes down and its whole lunch crowd starts coming in.
Origin and Etymology of beneficiary
First Known Use: 1662
BENEFICIARY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of beneficiary for English Language Learners
: a person, organization, etc., that is helped by something : someone or something that benefits from something
: a person, organization, etc., that receives money or property when someone dies
BENEFICIARY Defined for Kids
Definition of beneficiary for Students
: a person who benefits or will benefit from something
Legal Definition of beneficiary
: a person or entity (as a charity or estate) that receives a benefit from something (as a will or other instrument or legal agreement): as a : the person or entity named or otherwise entitled to receive the principal or income or both from a trust — compare settlor, trustee contingent beneficiary : a beneficiary that may receive proceeds from a trust depending on the occurrence of a specified event (as the death of another beneficiary) income beneficiary : a beneficiary that according to the provisions of a trust is to receive income but not the principal of the trust Editor's note: A trust may provide for income to be paid to someone (as a spouse) for his or her lifetime and then for payment of the principal to another person. A trustee is sometimes allowed to distribute some of the principal of the trust to an income beneficiary when necessary for the support of the beneficiary if support of the beneficiary was the purpose of the trust. b : the person or entity named by the insured of a life insurance policy to receive the proceeds upon the insured's death contingent beneficiary : a beneficiary named to receive the insurance proceeds if the primary beneficiary has died —called also secondary beneficiary primary beneficiary \ˈprī-ˌmer-ē-, -mə-rē-\ : a beneficiary named to receive the insurance proceeds before any other secondary beneficiary \ˈsek-ən-ˌder-ē-\ : contingent beneficiary in this entry c : a person or entity entitled under a letter of credit to demand payment from the issuer of the letter d : a person or entity that benefits from a promise, agreement, or contract; especially : third-party beneficiary in this entry <the contractual beneficiaries…are mortgagees and investors — Key Pac. Mortg. Inc. v. Industrial Indem. Co., 845 P.2d 1087 (1993)> creditor beneficiary : a direct beneficiary whom the party paying for the other party's performance intends to benefit as payment for a debt or obligation — compare donee beneficiary in this entry direct beneficiary : a third-party beneficiary to a contract whom the parties to the contract intended to benefit — compare incidental beneficiary in this entry donee beneficiary : a direct beneficiary whom the party paying for the other party's performance intends to benefit as a gift or donation incidental beneficiary : a third-party beneficiary to a contract whom the parties to the contract did not intend to benefit — compare direct beneficiary in this entry third–party beneficiary : a person or entity that is not a party to but has rights under a contract made by two other parties
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