A joint and survivor annuity is held by two or more individuals, usually by husband and wife, under an arrangement wherein annuity payments are made in full while both the contract holders are alive, and at a pre-specified percentage (50-100%) of the full amount after the death of one of the annuity holders. One of the annuity holders is the primary annuitant while others are joint annuitants. For the purposes of this discussion, we assume a joint and survivor annuity with 2 annuitants, one primary and the other joint.
Reducing on First or Either death
Annuity payments are made in full whilst both the annuitant and are alive. After the death of either of the annuitants, reduced payments ( 50 to 75% ) are made to the surviving annuitant.
Period Certain Provision
By setting a certain pre-specified period for full payments, the surviving annuitant receives full payments until the end of this period ( 5 to 25 years ), even if the other annuitant passes away before the end of this period.
Reduced Payments Upon Death of Primary Annuitant
Full payments are made as long as the primary annuitant is alive, even if the other annuitant ( in this case known as a contingent annuitant ) dies before the primary annuitant. If the primary annuitant dies first, annuity payments to the contingent annuitant are henceforth reduced as per the contract provisions.
Installment Refund Provision
Under this provision, the insurance company is obliged to pay at least an amount equal to the principal paid in by the annuitants. This applies even if both annuitants are deceased before the annuity payments already made exceed the annuity principal. In this case, annuity payments continue to go to either the estate or a named beneficiary until such time as the total annuity payments made equal the original principal paid in.
Cash Refund Provision
In this case, if both annuitants are deceased, the balance of the principal paid in by the annuitants is handed over to the estate or beneficiary as a single lump sum payment, instead of installments.
Joint and Survivor (100%)
Full payments are made until such time as either one of the annuitants is alive, irrespective of which annuitant passes away first.
Joint and Survivor (100%) with Certain Period
Full payments are made as long as either annuitant is alive. If both annuitants pass away before the end of a specified certain period, full payments will continue to the estate or named beneficiary until the end of the certain period.
Joint and Survivor (100%) with Installment Refund
Full payments are made as long as either annuitant is alive. If both annuitants pass away before the company has paid out an amount equal to or greater than principal, payments continue to the estate or named beneficiary until the total payments made equal the paid in principal.
Joint and Survivor (100%) with Cash Refund
Full payments are made as long as either annuitant is alive. If both annuitants pass away before the company has paid out an amount equal to or greater than principal, the balance is paid out as a one time lump sum cash payment to the estate or named beneficiary.