A Guide To Gifting Annuities

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

The Concept of Gifting An Annuity

Gifting an annuity can be a generous way to support someone financially, whether they’re a family member, friend, or even a charitable organization. Here are the general methods through which you can gift an annuity and the considerations involved:

How Can You Gift An Annuity

1. Purchasing an Annuity as a Gift

  • Direct Purchase: You can buy an annuity contract directly for someone else. This involves selecting the annuity type (e.g., immediate, deferred, fixed, variable) and making the initial investment in the name of the person or entity you’re gifting it to. The annuity payments will go directly to them according to the contract terms.

2. Transferring Ownership of an Existing Annuity

  • Change Ownership: If you own an annuity, you can transfer it to another person. This process requires contacting the insurer to complete the necessary paperwork. The new owner gains control over the annuity and its benefits.
  • Naming a New Annuitant: In some cases, you might also change the annuitant – the person whose life expectancy is used to determine payout amounts and durations. This can significantly impact the annuity’s operations, especially if the new annuitant is of a different age.

3. Naming a Beneficiary

  • Designating a Beneficiary: While not a direct gift of the annuity’s current benefits, naming someone a beneficiary ensures they inherit the annuity upon your death. This method is straightforward and commonly used in estate planning.

4. Gifting to a Charitable Organization

  • Charitable Gift Annuity: You can set up a charitable gift annuity by donating to a charitable organization. In return, you (or another designated individual) receive fixed, lifetime annuity payments. Upon the annuitant’s death, the remaining funds go to the charity.
Gifting Annuities

Annuity Transfer Rules

When it comes to annuity transfer rules, understanding the legal landscape is crucial. Here, we’ll dissect the governing regulations, clarifying how to navigate this potentially complex terrain.

Regulations Governing Annuity Transfers

In essence, annuity transfer rules dictate the conditions under which one can legally change the ownership of an annuity. These rules vary depending on the type of annuity, the issuing company’s policies, and the jurisdiction under which the annuity falls.

Gifting An Annuity

Considerations and Implications

  • Tax Implications: Gifting an annuity can have significant tax implications. For example, transferring ownership of an annuity may trigger gift taxes if the value exceeds the annual gift tax exclusion. Additionally, depending on the annuity type, the recipient may owe taxes on the annuity payments they receive.
  • Medicaid and Asset Transfer Rules: If you or the recipient might need to qualify for Medicaid in the near future, be aware that transferring assets can affect eligibility. Medicaid has a look-back period during which such transfers may penalize the applicant.
  • Eligibility and Consent: Some annuities may restrict ownership transfers or require consent from the annuity issuer. It’s important to check the specific terms of the annuity contract and with the issuing company.
Gifting Annuities To Family


In conclusion, donating an annuity, whether to family or charity, embodies a thoughtful approach to financial giving. It leverages the benefits of annuities to provide meaningful support to others while also addressing the donor’s financial planning objectives. With the right guidance and careful planning, gifting an annuity can be an effective way to make a lasting impact.

Gifting An Annuity To A Family Member

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between gifting an annuity and transferring it?

Gifting an annuity means transferring ownership rights of the income stream to a family member; in contrast, transferring implies assigning another person as the owner or beneficiary of the same annuity without changing ownership.

Can I gift an annuity that I don’t currently own?

No, you cannot gift an annuity you do not currently own. If the annuity belongs to someone else, you need their permission to transfer ownership.

Are there any other considerations before gifting an annuity?

It is important to consider any penalties and fees for transferring the annuity and any tax implications for both parties. It may also be useful to consult a financial advisor or lawyer before making this decision.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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