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A beneficiary is a person who benefits from something else, meaning that there are people who may attempt to become beneficiaries as a way to take advantage of others. In this article, we’ll define the term “beneficiary” and explains how it relates to nursing home abuse. 

Key Takeaways

  • A beneficiary is a person who profits or gains from something
  • The term “beneficiary” is often used to refer to the person who received distributions from a will, trust, or life insurance policy
  • There are two types of beneficiaries: primary and contingent
  • Charities and organizations can be named as beneficiaries - not only people
  • One type of financial nursing home abuse involves a person deceiving or manipulating their way into being named a beneficiary of a nursing home patient’s will or trust

What Is a Beneficiary?

Generally speaking, a beneficiary is any person who profits or gains an advantage from something. This term is often used to refer to a person who receives distributions from a life insurance policy, a trust, or a will.

In an estate plan, beneficiaries are named in several places, including:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Social Security disability
  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Retirement plans like a 401(k), 403(b), IRA or similar plans
  • Life insurance policies

Types of Beneficiaries

There are two types of beneficiaries named in an estate plan:

  • Primary beneficiary - This is the party that is named as the first one to receive benefits from an asset
  • Contingent beneficiary - Also called a secondary beneficiary, this is the second in line to receive benefits if the primary beneficiary is deceased 

Who Can Be a Beneficiary? 

While it is common for people to name their children, spouse, and other family members as their beneficiaries, it is in no way required to do so. In fact, your beneficiary doesn’t even have to be a person, as it is possible to name a charity or an organization as a beneficiary. 

Beneficiaries and Nursing Home Abuse

While most people may think of physical or emotional abuse when they think of nursing home abuse, another type that can go overlooked and unnoticed is financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when a person improperly or illegally uses another's funds, assets, or property. As they are in a vulnerable position, nursing home patients are uniquely at risk of financial abuse. 

Financial abuse can be committed by nearly anybody who is in contact with a nursing home resident, but is most commonly perpetrated by people close to them such as caregivers, family members, colleagues, affiliates, or close friends.

Financial abuse can come in many different forms, including a person deceiving or manipulating their way into becoming a beneficiary of a nursing home patient’s estate. This allows the perpetrator to unjustly receive benefits that the victim may not have otherwise chosen to give them.

As a loved one of a nursing home patient, it is wise to be aware of the possibility for this type of financial abuse. If you believe that a person is trying to or has acted in such a way as to financially abuse you or a loved one, it is highly recommended to speak to an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse cases who will be able to help you take the proper legal action.

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