A series of fixed-amount payments paid at regular intervals over the period of the annuity.
A yearly sum of money granted by one party to another in fee for life or years, charging the person of the grantor only.
In a less technical sense, however, when the money is chargeable on land and on the person, it is generally called an annuity.
An anuuity is different from a rent charge, with which it is frequently confounded, in this; a rent charge is a burden imposed upon and issuing out of lands, whereas an annuity is chargeable only upon the person of the grantee.
An annuity may be created by contract, or by will. To enforce the payment of an annuity, the common law gives a writ of annuity which may be brought by the grantee or his heirs, or their grantees, against the grantor and his heirs. The action of debt cannot be maintained at the common law for the arrears of an annuity devised to A, payable out of lands during the life of B, to whom the lands are devised for life, B paying the annuity out of it, so long as the freehold estates continues. It has been ruled also, that if an action of annuity be brought, and the annuity determines pending the suit, the writ faileth forever because no such action is maintainable for arrearages only, but for the annuity and the arrearages.
The first payment of an annuity is to be made at the time appointed in the instrument creating it. In cases where testator directs the annuity to be paid at the end of the first quarter, or other period before the expiration of the first year after his death, it is then due; but in fact it is not payable by the executor till the end of the year. When the time is not appointed, as frequently happens in will, the following distinction is presumed to exist. If the bequest be merely in the form of an annuity as a gift to a man of "an annuity of one hnndred dollars for life" the first payment will be due at the end of the year after the testator's death. But if the disposition be of a sum of money, and the interest to be given as an annuity to the same man for life, the first payment will not accrue before the expiration of the second year after ihe testator's death. This distinction, though stated from the bench, does not appear to have been sanctioned by express decision.