Difference Between Beneficiary and Trustee

By: | Updated: Oct-14, 2022
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Beneficiary and trustee are two terms that are often used interchangeably. This is not a good practice because the two words have different meanings and each of them has a role to play in a trust. Let us look at their similarities and differences.

Summary Table

Beneficiary Trustee
A person who gets the benefit of a trust, will, or donation. A person who controls and manages assets for a third-party.
Receives advantages in the form of assets, property, or money. Doesn’t receive the advantage, but has power until they no longer can fill the role.

Difference Between Beneficiary and Trustee


The beneficiary is the person who gets the benefits of the trust. The trustee is the person appointed by the settlor to act as the custodian of the trust.

Both these words have a legal meaning and are used to refer to someone or something that receives something from another person or thing. Both these words have legal definitions and do not have any meaning other than their legal definitions.

Difference Between Beneficiary and Trustee

A beneficiary is a person who receives the trust property from the trustee, while a trustee is a person who manages the trust property. A beneficiary gets the trust property, while a trustee administers the trust. The trust beneficiary and the trust beneficiary’s property are different things.

Trustee and beneficiary are also used in different contexts. A trustee can also be referred to as a manager of the trust property or as a manager of some of its assets.

A business owner can be either an employee or an independent contractor. As an employee, you are entitled to receive certain benefits such as medical insurance and life insurance under your employment contract.

You are entitled to receive income from your employer as salary for your work and also to participate in a profit-sharing plan, bonus plan, etc. You can use your name for such benefits that you have received from your employer as a “beneficiary”.

However, you will not be able to use your name when you have received other benefits from the business owner because these benefits have been received from the “trustee”.

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