beneficiary

noun
ben·​e·​fi·​cia·​ry | \ ˌbe-nə-ˈfi-shē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce beneficiary (audio) , -e-rē, -ˈfi-sh(ə-)rē How to pronounce beneficiary (audio) \
plural beneficiaries

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 trust entry 1 sense 3a)
b : the person named (as in an insurance policy) to receive proceeds or benefits (see benefit entry 1 sense 2b) named her husband as the sole beneficiary of her life insurance policy

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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.

Examples of beneficiary in a Sentence

The college was a beneficiary of the private grant.
Recent Examples on the Web The eventual hope is Panola County will become part of a future focal landscape, and will be another beneficiary of the work TPWD, NWTF and landowners are doing to restore eastern turkeys in Texas. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, 29 Apr. 2021 He’s often been replaced defensively in late innings, though the primary beneficiary of that playing time, Ryan McKenna, was optioned after Monday’s win. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, 28 Apr. 2021 These vehicles provide income to a charity for the term of the trust, then the remainder goes to a noncharitable beneficiary, usually a family member. Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 Common mistakes also include wrong names listed as beneficiaries on IRAs and other retirement accounts, or in some cases, no beneficiary. Melissa Houston, Forbes, 18 May 2021 Cell biology had been a particularly prominent beneficiary of the doubling of the budget, and so was high among the victims of the sudden deceleration. Yuval Levin, National Review, 17 May 2021 The symphony’s new venue is the latest beneficiary of their magnanimity. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 May 2021 If the commission rules in favor of a consumer who used insurance, the refund goes to the beneficiary listed on the plan. Tiana Woodard, Dallas News, 7 May 2021 Third, America is a direct beneficiary of India's health and economic welfare. CNN, 4 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beneficiary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of beneficiary

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beneficiary

see benefice

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Learn More About beneficiary

Time Traveler for beneficiary

Time Traveler

The first known use of beneficiary was in 1662

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Statistics for beneficiary

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Beneficiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beneficiary. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for beneficiary

beneficiary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of beneficiary

: 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

noun
ben·​e·​fi·​cia·​ry | \ ˌbe-nə-ˈfi-shē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce beneficiary (audio) \
plural beneficiaries

Kids Definition of beneficiary

: a person who benefits or will benefit from something

beneficiary

noun
ben·​e·​fi·​cia·​ry | \ ˌbe-nə-ˈfi-shē-ˌer-ē, -ˈfi-shə-rē How to pronounce beneficiary (audio) \
plural beneficiaries

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

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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