If you or someone you care about is among the more than 43 million Americans over the age of 65, you may have access to a source of income you never knew existed—your life insurance policy.

(NAPSI)—If you or someone you care about is among the more than 43 million Americans over the age of 65, you may have access to a source of income you never knew existed—your life insurance policy.

How To Access Its Value

The way to realize its value is through a process called a “life settlement”; that is, you may be able to sell a life insurance policy you no longer need or can afford before it lapses or is surrendered to the insurance company. You immediately receive a cash payment for the sale of your policy.

How Much Can You Receive?

Policy owners realize an average of seven times the amount of the policy’s cash surrender value, based on an analysis of a 2010 survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Candidates for life settlements are typically aged 70 or older, with a life insurance policy that has a “face value” of more than $100,000.

Why To Sell

Reasons to sell can include changes in life circumstances, such as the death of a spouse, divorce, selling a business or simply to have more cash in your hands. Research indicates there are roughly 710,000 policies that are lapsed or surrendered each year—with a combined face value of more than $57 billion—by American seniors over the age of 70.

Who Can Help

While 90 percent of seniors who have lapsed a policy would have considered selling it if they had known a life settlement was an option, according to a survey prepared for the Insurance Studies Institute, most just don’t know about it.

That’s why the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA), a non-profit organization that is the nation’s largest association representing participants in the life settlement industry, is committed to making sure that older Americans have all the information they need to make an informed decision about what to do with a life insurance policy they no longer need or can afford. To explore whether a life settlement is a good option for you, you or your financial advisor can contact a licensed life settlement professional who is a member of the association and is subject to a rigorous vetting process.

Where To Learn More

LISA has just launched a new website, www.lisa.org, which provides an introduction to life settlements, delivers detailed content to financial advisors regarding how life settlement transactions work, and offers a wide range of information resources for anyone interested in learning more about the life settlement option.

For more information and to find a LISA member, go to www.lisa.org or call (800) 664-9024.

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