What is Beneficial Owner?

Legal Definition
Beneficial owner is a legal term where specific property rights ("use and title") in equity belong to a person even though legal title of the property belongs to another person. Black's Law Dictionary (2nd Pocket ed. 2001 pg. 508). This often relates where the legal title owner has implied trustee duties to the beneficial owner.

Under United States copyright law, an author may transfer some rights to the copyright owner (often an employer) while retaining a future "reversionary interest," such as that of copyright renewal. For example, "[t]he legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright . . . to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it." 17 U.S.C. ยง 501(b)

A common example of a beneficial owner is the real owner of funds held by a nominee bank or for stocks held in the name of a brokerage firm.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
Someone recognized in equity as the owner of property even though legal title may belong to someone else. The use and enjoyment of the property belong to the beneficial owner. In securities law, the term refers to someone who is a shareholder even though a broker may hold legal title to the shares.

See Record owner.
Legal Definition
The actual owner of securities and the rightful recipient of the benefits accorded; the beneficial owner is often different from the title holder (generally a financial institution holding the securities on behalf of clients).