Primary Beneficiary

What is a 'Primary Beneficiary'

A primary beneficiary is a beneficiary in a will, trust or insurance policy that is first in line to receive named benefits. Primary beneficiaries are contrasted with contingent beneficiaries, who will only receive benefits if the primary beneficiary has died. There can be more than one primary beneficiary.

BREAKING DOWN 'Primary Beneficiary'

For example, an IRA can name a spouse as the primary beneficiary, while the same person's will may name the children as primary beneficiaries. The spouse will receive the proceeds of the IRA and the children will receive the assets for which they are named primary beneficiaries in the will. By definition, a sole beneficiary is a primary beneficiary.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. If both the primary and contingent beneficiaries are unavailable, what happens to ...

    Understand the difference between primary and contingent beneficiaries and what happens to assets when neither are present ... Read Answer >>
  2. What does U.S. law say about contingent beneficiaries?

    Learn about regulations the United States has on the naming of contingent beneficiaries, the types of contingencies that ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the pros/cons of naming a trust as the beneficiary of a retirement account?

    This has been the topic of an ongoing debate in the financial community between estate planning attorneys and financial advisors. ... Read Answer >>
  4. Under what circumstances will a contingent beneficiary receive an insurance payout?

    Learn the different types of contingent beneficiaries and what conditions must be met for these beneficiaries to receive ... Read Answer >>
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    It depends.Generally speaking, the designation of beneficiary form dictates who receives the assets from the individual retirement ... Read Answer >>
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    Learn how life insurance proceeds are generally not taxable to the beneficiary, but understand the unique situations in which ... Read Answer >>
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