In Canada, Variable Annuities are issued by insurance companies and are also known as segregated funds (seg funds) or Guaranteed Investment Funds (GIFs).
Since they are a life insurance product if there is a named beneficiary the proceeds will bypass the estate and avoid probate. If the estate is named as beneficiary the proceeds will pass through and be subject to probate (if applicable).
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. More information available at http://www.protectandgrow.ca
You are encouraged to consult with your professional advisers for advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.