On 4 September 2003, the Kestenbaum study confirmed his age of 114 years, 222 days, and the Gerontology Research Group later validated his age.
After being posthumously validated decades after his death, Beard became the first person known to have reached the age of 114. He held the title of the oldest person ever for about two years, and the title of the oldest man ever until his age was surpassed by Christian Mortensen in March 1997.
As of February 2023, he was still considered as the fourth-oldest verified man ever, the oldest verified man from the continental USA (Emiliano Mercado del Toro born in the United States overseas territory of Puerto Rico was older), the oldest American-born man ever, and the oldest African-American man ever.
In February 2023, LongeviQuest received Beard’s documentation, located by an independent researcher, Jimmy Lindberg. Upon careful review, the Global Validation Commission unanimously concluded that the validation was inaccurate and that it is more likely Beard was 98 at the time of death in February 1985.