What Does Sole Beneficiary Mean?

by Jim Thomas
    Wills often specify a spouse or child as the sole beneficiary.

    Wills often specify a spouse or child as the sole beneficiary.

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    The formal definition of a beneficiary for legal purposes, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is one for whom a trust is created. In everyday usage, a beneficiary is the designated recipient of benefits specified in a legal document, such as wills, trusts, pension plans and insurance policies. If you are named as the sole beneficiary, you are entitled to all of the benefits that pass to you in such documents.

    Scope of Beneficiaries

    Sole beneficiaries can be designated to receive money, land, personal property or even the proceeds from pension plans. Sole beneficiaries don't have to be individuals; religious, educational, charitable and other types of organizations can also be designated as sole beneficiaries.

    About the Author

    Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.

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