Carter, who kicked 19 points including a sublime drop-goal in the 34-17 victory over Australia at Twickenham, has been recognised with the game's most prestigious individual award for a third time, a mark also held by All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
The 33-year-old beat New Zealand team-mate Julian Savea, Australia flanker Michael Hooper and number eight David Pocock, Wales second-row Alun Wyn Jones and Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw to the accolade.
New Zealand were inevitably named team of the year after becoming the first nation to defend the Webb Ellis Cup on Saturday, triumphing for an unprecedented third time.
Michael Cheika was recognised as coach of the year after inheriting an Australia squad that was beset by disciplinary problems 12 months ago before turning them into World Cup runners-up.
New Zealand's Dan Carter has been recognised with the game's most prestigious individual award for a third time
Image credit: PA Sport
New Zealand wing Nehe Milner-Skudder was named breakthrough player of the year.
The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, chaired by 1999 World Cup-winning captain John Eales and made up of former internationals, media and the current tournament's participating teams.
Daniel Carter isn't the sort of person who will thank you for an individual award. For him, it has always been all about the team, and the pride in performance he has produced over the past 12 years as the greatest fly-half in the history of the sport. Carter's excellence was summed up by his contribution to New Zealand's win over Australia in Saturday's World Cup final with four penalties and the key drop goal that turned the match in New Zealand's favour after the Wallabies had briefly threatened an unlikely recovery.
For the victor, the spoils. Cometh the hour, cometh the Dan. His record 12-year personal haul Carter of 1,598 points in 112 appearances is unlikely to be beaten. Carter deserves all the personal accolades going because he is one of the greatest contributors to team sport in the world.