The biggest appeal of dividend investing is arguably receiving steadily increasing payouts for holding your investments. Aside from the initial research and the occasional monitoring of your investments, dividend income and the raises that go along with picking great companies are entirely passive. The companies you hold stock in do all of the work, and you reap the rewards.

The best dividend stocks tend to boast immense competitive advantages and are the dominant players in their respective industries. They also still have plenty of room to keep growing. Here are three dividend stocks that meet these criteria and will likely be paying dividends several decades from now.

Steadily growing stacks of coins.

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1. McDonald's

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) iconic golden arches boast a nearly 90% global brand recognition rate. This unmatched brand recognition for its industry is what makes its 39,676 restaurants around the world a mainstay in the routines of customers. And with 93% of its restaurants being franchised, McDonald's priceless brand is what makes its low-risk business model of collecting rent and royalties based on a percent of franchisees' sales work.

It's also what allowed McDonald's to hand out a 7% dividend increase to shareholders in September. That dividend hike marked the 45th straight year the company served up a dividend increase to shareholders. Since McDonald's is an S&P 500 component that has raised its dividend at least 25 years in a row, the stock is a Dividend Aristocrat.

And with analysts expecting McDonald's to grow its earnings per share (EPS) at 11.9% annually over the next five years, the probability of McDonald's eventually joining the company of Dividend Kings in five years is high. McDonald's dividend payout ratio is set to be in the mid-50% range for this year, which should enable it to continue high-single-digit dividend increases in the years ahead.

Despite its post-earnings rally, investors can still lock-in McDonald's market-beating 2.2% yield at a reasonable price given its quality and growth prospects. At $255 a share, McDonald's trades at 25 times next year's average EPS estimate of $10.06. 

2. Visa

Visa (NYSE:V) is a leading payment processing company and earns most of its revenue from the volume and number of payment transactions made by consumers, governments, and businesses that it processes. 

Despite a challenging environment caused by COVID-19 still affecting consumer spending habits in its previous fiscal year, Visa's net revenue advanced 10% year over year to $24.11 billion and its non-GAAP EPS climbed 17% to $5.91. Visa's non-GAAP EPS growth tracked its 17% increase in processed transactions, which grew to an astonishing 164.7 billion last fiscal year. 

With COVID vaccination rates edging higher and Pfizer's game-changing oral COVID-19 pill results, Visa should see a quick return to its growth story in the years ahead. This should act as a buoy for Visa's payments volumes and transactions going forward. That's why analysts expect 19.3% growth in Visa's non-GAAP EPS for its new fiscal year and 16% annual earnings growth over the next five years. 

Visa's dividend yield is currently only 0.7%, but that is more a reflection of its accelerated stock price growth at the moment. Visa's low payout ratio and strong growth outlook should drive more dividend increases like its most recent 17% raise to keep pace with the stock price appreciation. 

3. Medtronic

Operating as the largest pure-play medical devices company in the world with a $166 billion market capitalization, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) has the size and scale to remain relevant in the decades to come.

Medtronic's Chairman and CEO Geoffrey Martha announced in his opening remarks during Medtronic's Q1 2022 earnings call that the company would be boosting its fiscal year 2022 research and development (R&D) spending 10% over the prior fiscal year when it spent $2.49 billion. This dedication to innovation is precisely what led Medtronic to launch more than 190 products throughout the world in the last year alone, according to Martha. 

Medtronic's onslaught of product launches fueled by a commitment to its R&D explains why analysts are projecting nearly 9% annual earnings growth from the stock over the next five years. 

With a payout ratio expected to be in the low to mid-40% range for this fiscal year and solid growth potential, Medtronic looks poised to extend its 44-year streak of increasing its dividend. 

And in spite of its superiority to the overall S&P 500 index, Medtronic trades at a forward P/E ratio of 21.2 -- below the S&P 500's forward P/E ratio of 21.3. This is what makes Medtronic and its 2% dividend yield a buy for dividend investors looking for a good chance of income that will last a lifetime. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.