A beneficiary is a person who receives money or other benefits from a benefactor. In relation to deceased estates it is a person who has an interest in your Will.
A properly made and executed will creates a Trust at the time of the Will makers’ death. If you have properly made and executed a Will the assets in your estate go to your executor who holds the assets on trust for your beneficiaries.
The ‘Primary Beneficiary’ of each trust is the individual for whom the particular trust is created. Normally a Will is created leaving a spouse as the primary beneficiary. If the spouse has predeceased the will maker the estate will flow to the contingent beneficiaries who are usually children (or grandchildren) of the Will maker.
If all of the named beneficiaries pre decease the Will maker the estate usually passes according to legislation in each State or Territory. Therefore it is important that you clearly state in your Will your intentions in the event that the stated beneficiaries die before you.