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An organization or a person for whom a trust is created and who thereby receives the benefits of the trust. One who inherits under a will. A person entitled to a beneficial interest or a right to profits, benefit, or advantage from a contract.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. a broad definition for any person or entity (like a charity) who is to receive assets or profits from an estate, a trust, an insurance policy or any instrument in which there is distribution. There is also an "incidental beneficiary" or a "third party beneficiary" who gets a benefit although not specifically named, such as someone who will make a profit if a piece of property is distributed to another. (See: incidental beneficiary)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


a person who has or is entitled to a beneficial interest in property. The term is most frequently encountered in relation to gifts by will or entitlements under a trust. In English law, a beneficiary is sometimes called a cestui que trust. Beneficial interest is a right of enjoyment of property, as opposed to merely nominal ownership. For example, if property is held in trust, the trustees have the nominal ownership (or legal interest) in the trust property that they hold for the benefit of others. The entitlement of those others is called the beneficial (or equitable) interest.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BENEFICIARY. This term is frequently used as synonymous with the technical phrase cestui que trust. (q. v.)

HEIR, BENEFICIARY. A term used in the civil law. Beneficiary heirs are those who have accepted the succession under the benefit of an inventory regularly made. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 879. If the heir apprehend that the succession will be burdened with debts beyond its value, he accepts with benefit of inventory, and in that case he is responsible only for the value of the succession. See inventory, benefit of.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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