There is the primary beneficiary and the secondary beneficiary.
The primary beneficiary is the person or persons who will receive the money from the life insurance policy when the insured person dies.
If the primary beneficiary is not alive when the insured person dies, the secondary beneficiary receives the death benefit from the life insurance policy.
The secondary beneficiary acts as a back-up plan in case the primary beneficiary is no longer living when the insured passes away.
Here's how you can learn more about choosing the beneficiary of a life insurance policy and how it works.