DEFINITION of 'Discretionary Beneficiary'
Discretionary beneficiaries are those named in a trust or similar document to whom distributions may be made. While discretionary beneficiaries may apply for distributions, it is up to the trustees to determine whether the payment will be made. In the United States, a discretionary beneficiary has no legal proprietary interest in the trust.
BREAKING DOWN 'Discretionary Beneficiary'
There is usually a reason for a person to be named a discretionary beneficiary. For example, they may be young or have bad financial habits, or they have many unpaid creditors. While the trustees still have fiduciary responsibilities to a discretionary beneficiary, it is difficult to enforce this responsibility unless there is a specific letter of intent by the grantor of the trust.