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Annuity guaranteeing a given number of income payments whether or not the annuitant is alive to receive them. If the annuitant is living after the guaranteed number of payments have been made, the income continues for life. If the annuitant dies within the guarantee period, the balance is paid to a beneficiary. For example, under one common contract, a life annuity certain for 10 years, income payments are guaranteed for a minimum of 10 years. If the annuitant dies after receiving two years of payments, the beneficiary would receive the remaining eight years of income. An annuitant who lives out the 10 years would receive income payments for life, but there would be none available to a beneficiary.