Who receives the benefits or money from a life insurance policy upon the death of the insured?

The beneficiary designated on the policy application is the recipient. Usually, a secondary ("contingent") beneficiary is also named in the event that the primary beneficiary dies before the insured.

The estate of the deceased can also be the beneficiary if it is named as such or if there are no named beneficiaries or if all of them die before the insured. In that event, the insurance proceeds become a part of the estate and are distributed according to the insured's Last Will and Testament. If the insured dies without a Will, the estate, including the insurance proceeds, pass according to state law according to the laws of intestate succession.