Legal Question in Insurance Law in North Carolina

What does an "annuitant driven annuity" mean? Mother was the annuitant and she assigned ownership to daughter who was handling her finances. Mom died t leaving son named "Sole Beneficiary", but since ownership was transferred prior to Mom's death to daughter, she has filed a cross claim for the annuity funds. The insurance co.'s legal counsel for the annuity group has written me that being "annuitant driven" this annuity is due and payable to the sole beneficiary and not the owner -- as it the annuitant's death that results in payment to sole beneficiary and not the person who has recently transferred ownership to herself? I will have to represent myself pro se, so am looking for case examples to firm up my case. Any opinion, help or direction you could offer will be greatly appreciated..

Asked on 6/24/10, 12:11 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Please, don't represent yourself pro se. Here is an excerpt from a discussion that I found which explains the the difference between annuitant driven and owner driven annuities:

"Annuitant-driven annuities are those that contractually pay a death benefit when the annuitant dies. When the annuitant dies, the contract terminates and the death benefit, if any, is paid to the contract�s designated beneficiary. (It should be noted that these contracts also pay a benefit when the owner dies because federal law mandates that a complete distribution occur within 5 years of the death of any owner of an annuity contract. These are the so-called �death of the owner rules� contained within the Internal Revenue Code.) Owner-driven annuities, on the other hand, are those that pay a death benefit only when the owner of the contract dies. When the annuitant dies, the owner simply designates a new annuitant."

Obviously the best place to start is with the annuity agreement itself. If this is truly annuitant driven, then when the mother dies, the money goes to your mother's beneficiary. If it is owner driven, then it does not go to the beneficiary named by the annuitant but one named by the owner, which in this case would be the daughter.

It would be a mistake to represent yourself. You should seek counsel.

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Answered on 6/24/10, 3:34 pm

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