What is a beneficiary?

When hearing about wrongful death lawsuits, it is likely that you will hear the term “beneficiary” when referring to those individuals who deserve compensation due to their loss. According to the resource written by our lawyers, The Ohio Wrongful Death Book, a beneficiary is someone who is entitled to compensation should the wrongful death case be proven.

In Ohio, the beneficiaries are relatives of the decedent (the individual who lost their life), such as the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, and siblings. If a parent abandoned their child, they would not be considered a beneficiary if the child was to die.

The distribution among the potential beneficiaries is determined by the probate court judge. The distribution is based on the relationship that the beneficiary has to the decedent and the degree of loss to the beneficiary. For example, if the decedent was the breadwinner of the family, the surviving spouse and children would be given more compensation than the siblings of a decedent.

If all beneficiaries associated in a wrongful death case are at the same level of loss in the eyes of the law, they can decide themselves how to divide up the money and then ask the court for approval.

Those beneficiaries under the age of twenty-five can be treated differently in order to protect their rights. A trust can be created for the beneficiary and that money can be held until they turn 25-years-old. It can then be distributed according the terms of the trust.

There are various damages that a beneficiary can seek after the loss of a loved one. These include the following:

  • Loss of support – the loss of earning capacity of the decedent
  • Loss of services – beneficiaries are able to college compensation for services that the decedent provided
  • Loss of society – this includes the loss of companionship, care, assistance, protection, advice, guidance, and education that the decedent provided
  • Loss of prospective inheritance – compensation can be sought for the inheritance that the beneficiary may not receive now that the decedent will not live a normal lifespan
  • Mental anguish – compensation can be sought for the mental anguish that the beneficiary will experience due to the loss of the decedent

If you lost a loved one and are considered a beneficiary, you should contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers can be contacted at 800.637.8170. We give free case evaluations over the phone and help to guide individuals in the right direction. We will answer any questions that you may have regarding the accident or death of your loved one, and can begin the legal process on your behalf.

For more information regarding wrongful death cases and the legal aspects of the case, request a copy of The Ohio Wrongful Death Book when you are on the phone with our office, or order a copy directly from our website.