Annuities are considered wonderful vehicles for savers, no more so than for married couples. The opportunity to obtain tax-deferred growth in a non-qualified deferred annuity is a key feature, particularly for individuals in high tax brackets who have already maxed out other available tax shelters. An added benefit is that non-qualified annuities aren’t even subject to RMD obligations during the lifetime of the annuity owner.

However, annuities present a significant complication. Upon the death of an annuity owner, the beneficiary must begin post-death Required Minimum Distributions . And notably, the post-death RMD obligation occurs at the death of the first owner in a jointly owned contract, meaning that a surviving joint owner might be forced to liquidate his/her own asset, thereby triggering a taxable event.

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