Contingent Beneficiary

Published: | Updated: January 26, 2017

Definition - What does Contingent Beneficiary mean?

A contingent beneficiary refers to the party who is entitled to receive the proceeds or benefits of a life insurance policy should the primary beneficiary die before the insured. To be legally entitled to these rights, the contingent beneficiary must be named by the insured in the insurance contract.

Insuranceopedia explains Contingent Beneficiary

Naming a contingent beneficiary is beneficial because according to the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act, when a policyholder and beneficiary who die within a short time period of each other, it will be presumed that the beneficiary died first. Therefore, unless a contingent beneficiary has been named in the policy, the death benefit would go to the policyholder's estate and be subject to the division of assets as laid out in their will and creditor claims.


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