A straight annuity is a contract by an insurance company to make variable payments at monthly or yearly intervals. A life or straight life annuity is payable to an annuitant only during the annuitant's lifetime and ceases upon his or her death. The size of the periodic payment is usually fixed based upon actuarial charts that project the expected life span of a person based upon age and physical condition. This type of annuity often contains provisions that promise payment to be made to a secondary beneficiary, named by the annuitant to receive benefits in case of the annuitant's death, or to the annuitant's heirs for a period of time even if the annuitant has died before the expiration of the designated period. A deferred annuity is one in which payments start at a stipulated future date only if the annuitant is alive at that time. Payment of the Income Tax due on the income generated is delayed until payments start. A deferred annuity is used primarily by a person who does not want to receive payments until he or she is in a lower tax bracket, such as upon retirement.