In trust law, a beneficiary is the person or persons who are entitled to the benefit of any trust arrangement. A beneficiary can be a natural or legal person or arrangement. All trusts (other than charitable or statutory permitted non-charitable trusts) are required to have ascertainable beneficiaries. While trusts must always have some ultimately ascertainable beneficiary, trusts may have no defined existing beneficiaries but only objects of a power until some person becomes entitled as beneficiary to income or capital on the expiry of a defined period, known as the accumulation period. This period is normally co-extensive with the trust perpetuity period which is usually referred to in the trust deed as the trust period.
In the context of life insurance or another investment linked insurance policy, a beneficiary is the natural or legal person, or a legal arrangement, or category of persons, who will be paid the policy proceeds when/if an insured event occurs, which is covered by the policy.