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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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 Financial priorities change, so make sure the beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts and insurance policies still match your wishes. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner, The Enquirer, 12 Oct. 2021 Bregman was a rookie in 2017 and a beneficiary of the scheme. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 11 Oct. 2021 Aetna, for instance, slashed its maximum out-of-pocket limits -- the most a beneficiary is required to spend on medical care -- with one plan dropping from $7,550 to $5,900. oregonlive, 10 Oct. 2021 Trusts allow one person, a grantor, to transfer assets to a trustee who then manages and directs them for a third beneficiary. Haleluya Hadero, ajc, 9 Oct. 2021 Now, the payment to the Trust for the premiums, if the amount is below $15,000 per beneficiary per year, is not a taxable gift. Matthew Erskine, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 Some are still advocating for a worldwide beneficiary registry of shell companies, which would reveal the true owners. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, 4 Oct. 2021 Money from a sender’s bank would go straight to the beneficiary’s bank within 120 seconds. Alexander Onukwue, Quartz, 30 Sep. 2021 Among the beneficiary agencies assisting in Afghan relief efforts is World Central Kitchen. New York Times, 30 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for beneficiary

Time Traveler

The first known use of beneficiary was in 1662

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Dictionary Entries Near beneficiary

beneficials

beneficiary

beneficiation

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Beneficiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beneficiary. Accessed 17 Oct. 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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