Features of a single-life annuity include monthly payments that end when a sole annuitant dies, and higher monthly payments to a sole annuitant than joint-and-survivor annuity beneficiaries receive, according to CNN. A single-life annuity pays one person, while a joint-and-survivor annuity continues to pay the surviving spouse.
A single-life annuity does not protect the surviving spouse, notes CNN. Before selecting a single-life annuity, the annuitant should ask the pension plan administrator to generate a report showing the exact monthly payouts under both single-life and joint-and-survivor benefit plans. Usually, once the annuitant selects a payment arrangement, it is permanent. In selecting the type of annuity payment, a beneficiary makes a significant financial decision, states BankRate.com.