Your settlement options will vary depending on the type of annuity and your relationship to the deceased. Please keep in mind that some of these options presented below may not be available for each beneficiary type.


In general, the following settlement options may be available to you:

  • A one-time lump sum cash settlement 
  • A Safe Access Account with convenient checking account access to the death benefit proceeds 
  • Spousal re-registration to assume ownership of the contract (spouses only) 
  • Non-spousal re-registration to assume ownership of the contract and begin life expectancy distributions
  • Continuation of the contract for a 5 year period
    (contract must be fully liquidated by the end of the 5 year period) 
  • Annuitize the contract to receive payments for life or a specified period of time

More details on these options, including features and tax implication, are outlined on pages 3 and 4 of the claim package. Please note that once a settlement option is elected, it is irrevocable and may not be changed.

The forms necessary to settle your claim are dependent upon the settlement option you elect. The required forms are outlined by settlement option in the bottom row of pages 3 and 4 of the claim package.

At a minimum we need to receive the following:

  • Death Certificate. A certified death certificate must be submitted. A copy is acceptable if the total death benefit for all annuity contracts owned by the deceased is less than $250,000. Otherwise, an original (not a copy) is required and must be submitted by mail. In addition, if the death certificate was issued outside of the U.S. or Canada, an original death certificate is required regardless of the death benefit amount. If the death occurred outside the U.S. or Canada, a “Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” document is required. This can be obtained by contacting the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Department of State.

  • Claim Forms. Completed claim forms must be received from each beneficiary. One set of claim forms is included with the claim package. If there are multiple beneficiaries listed on a variable annuity contract, John Hancock cannot settle the claim until every beneficiary has submitted his or her paperwork.

  • IRS Form W-9. This form should be completed by each beneficiary who is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien or other U.S. person. If a beneficiary is not a U.S. person, the version of IRS Form W-8 that applies to that beneficiary must be submitted. For individual beneficiaries, that will generally be IRS Form W-8BEN. An IRS Form W-9 is included in the
    claim package.

Additional Information

Additional documents may be required that are more specific to the state in which you reside and/or the annuity contract of the deceased. Please thoroughly review the Annuity Claim Form prior to submission to address these additional requirements.



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John Hancock Annuities are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Lansing, MI 48906, which is not licensed in New York. In New York, John Hancock Annuities are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY 10595. John Hancock Variable Annuities are distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, member FINRA.