Secondary Beneficiary Law and Legal Definition

A secondary beneficiary is a person or entity who inherits assets under a will, trust, or insurance policy if the primary beneficiary dies before the grantor. S/he is the testator’s second choice to receive a bequest. A secondary beneficiary is also a person's second choice of who should receive the proceeds from a life insurance policy.

A secondary beneficiary is also termed "contingent beneficiary".

The following is an example of a state statute (Nebraska) defining the term:

According to R.R.S. Neb. § 79-978, ‘Secondary beneficiary’ means the person or persons entitled to receive or receiving a benefit by reason of the death of all primary beneficiaries prior to the death of the member. If no primary beneficiary survives the member, secondary beneficiaries shall be treated in the same manner as primary beneficiaries.